I only make fried chicken twice a year. Once after Pascha and once after Christmas, so it is a treat for everyone. You see, there are no chicken nuggets in our house, not even the gluten free varieties from the store. At the very least they all have some pepper in them, so Buster would be left out if I bought them. Since he struggles with feeling left out of “special” things in general because of his allergies, I don’t like to do it inside the house unless it is unavoidable.
I originally planned to prepare this meal during the Christmas celebrations, but a rescheduled church party pushed it to Tuesday instead. In lieu of this meal the children helped make sugar plums as our festive contribution. Buster pitted dates; Snuggle Bunny measured the fruit; Little Man added the nuts; and I added the spices. I substituted allspice for the cinnamon. Then I only had ground fennel, so I didn’t bother with the toasting step. Everyone helped roll the sugar plums in coconut, then we were off to the party before I thought to take a picture. They were so good that there were no leftovers after the party; Little Man may have single handedly finished off a third of the batch himself, as I remember him having one in each hand most of the time. The party was lovely, but as always we left right when the guitars came out with a sobbing two year old–the sign of having too much fun.
Fast forward a few days and I finally made the fried chicken. While the oil was hot, I also whipped up a pepper free batch of Sev with the sev maker I received for Christmas. It took less than ten minutes and was very tasty. Much was eaten for snacks, but we did manage to get one breakfast of Poha out of this batch.
Moreover, I have a hard time throwing away good food. So every time I make fried chicken, I make frybread out of the leftover flour and almond milk from chicken coating. I have no actual recipe. Each time I add about a half teaspoon of baking powder, mix the wet ingredients into the dry, and whisk together until smooth. The batter should be a little bit thicker than pancake batter. Sometimes I have to adjust by adding a little water or additional flour depending on the given consistency. Then I fry the mixture about a tablespoon at a time in the oil after the chicken is cooked. I think this may be as close to Navajo Frybread as my family will ever be able to get.
Oh, those little potato looking things to the side are really taro root. I got both taro and malanga when I was shopping for the pasteles. I wasn’t sure which one was the correct choice, so I bought both determined to find a way to use the incorrect one. I roasted them according to this recipe. I left out the peppers and used the optional curry leaves, since I had some on hand. They were very good and the children would have eaten twice as many.
I served honey mustard for dipping. It’s nothing fancy–just half Dijon and half honey whisked together.
1lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into nugget sized pieces
oil for frying
Dry Ingredients (more in similar proportions if necessary)
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup water or nondairy milk of choice (I use almond milk)
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer powder
Whisk dry and wet ingredients into separate bowls.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a pot or skillet (this cast iron is my favorite). You will know when it is hot enough because a drop or two of water sizzles gently in the pot; if the water causes the oil to spatter violently, decrease temperature.
Dip the nuggets into the flour and the milk and then the flour again until evenly coated. When you have 8-10 nuggets ready, you may start the first round frying assuming that the oil is hot enough. Cook for 5-8 minutes turning regularly. You will know that the chicken is done when it is golden brown and cooked throughout if you cut through the middle of a nugget. It’s always the chef’s prerogative to sample the first nugget for quality assurance.
Continue until all the chicken is cooked.
Make frybread if desired.
Serve with your favorite sides.