At the Gluten-Free and Allergen-Free Expo in Dallas last month, I had the privilege of meeting Laura B. Russell, author of The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen. While I’m no stranger to making some Asian dishes gluten-free, (wheat-free tamari is a staple at our house, as are other gluten-free Asian pantry items, like fish sauce, coconut milk, curry pastes, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds – the list goes on.) there are gaps in my knowledge. For instance, I’ve never made dumplings or fried egg rolls, and I’m limited on my knowledge of Korean and Japanese cuisine. I tend to stick to South Asian curries and an occasional stir-fry. Well, friends, I’m here to tell you, not anymore. I’m branching out. After seeing recipes for gluten-free dumplings, bibimbap, and crispy spring rolls, I’m strongly considering making an Asian treat as often as possible. Laura definitely delivers, bringing foods back to my plate that I’d long since written off as one of those items I “used to eat”.
Have you ever done that? You’re sitting around chatting with a group of people, and the subject of food comes up. Someone mentions a restaurant or a food item that contains gluten. This restaurant has the best fried chicken, or OMG, homemade lasagna is the best are examples of such talks. And while you might not truly pine for the aforementioned fried chicken or lasagna, you join in the conversation, remembering that you “used to eat” it too, and you agree – it was good. I find myself in these conversations a lot – and find that I “used to eat” a lot of stuff, both good and bad. While 99% of the time, I’m much, much happier eating in a way that jives with my body (and over time, my body is thanking me for this – I’m feeling healthier every day), but there is that other 1%. That moment when the pining actually hits, and I truly miss one of those items I “used to eat”.
Laura helps fill that little void with her book. If you’ve ever missed your Chinese take-out, or long for crispy spring rolls, then pine no more, and grab yourself a copy of The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen. The pictures alone will make you drool, but don’t stop there. Make something. You certainly won’t be sorry.
After bookmarking half the book when trying to decide what to make, I opted for quick-and-easy. I made Laura’s Kung Pao Chicken, substituting arrowroot starch for the cornstarch. It didn’t disappoint – it was full of flavor, but not so spicy that it wouldn’t be kid-friendly. (You can certainly add more red pepper flakes if you need additional heat.) This Kung Pao Chicken delivers that delicious, Chinese take-out fix you need, without all the MSG and gluten, and it can be prepared in about the same amount of time it would take for the Chinese food delivery guy to arrive at your door.
Just because Ten Speed Press and Laura B. Russell are so awesome, they’ve graciously offered to provide a copy of The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen as a giveaway for one of you. You could be cooking your very own Asian favorites in just a few weeks! Here are all the details on how to enter to win:
1. Leave a comment telling me what Asian food favorite you’d love to see made gluten-free.
2. Subscribe to Tasty Eats At Home and leave me a comment telling me you did so.
3. Visit Laura B. Russell’s website and subscribe, and leave me a comment telling me you did so.
4. “Like” Tasty Eats At Home on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so.
5. “Like” Notes from a Gluten-Free Kitchen on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so.
Best of luck to you! This giveaway closes on Friday, November 11, 2011. I will randomly draw one lucky name on Saturday, November 12.
Kung Pao Chicken, Reprinted with permission from The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen: Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More. Copyright © 2011 by Laura B. Russell. Published by Celestial Arts, an imprint of Ten Speed Press and the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA. Photo Credit: Leo Gong.
11/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari , divided
1 tablespoon sake or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
21/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
21/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
8 cloves garlic, minced
6 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts or cashews
Steamed rice, for serving (optional)
In a medium bowl, stir together the chicken, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, the sake, salt, and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.
In a small bowl, stir together the warm water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the rice vinegar, sesame oil, and the remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce.
In a large frying pan or a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned but not all the way cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining chicken and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the cornstarch to the chicken. Toss to combine. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, green onions, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken back to the pan and stir to coat. Stir in the soy sauce mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sauce coats the chicken and everything is heated through, about 2 minutes longer. Stir in the peanuts; serve hot with steamed rice.