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Who ever said chicken has to be boring?  With so many ways to prepare it and how it shows up in just about every kind of ethnic cooking…what’s not to love?  This is a gluten-free (GF) recipe and it’s super quick, easy and full of really great flavors.  And it has a nice ‘after burn’ with the spices which I love.  You can taste and adjust the spiciness up or down to your taste.  I eat GF occasionally and mostly by choice, not by necessity…a few in my family are gluten intolerant and I’m experimenting with different recipes to cook for them and to also learn how to adjust non-GF recipes to accommodate. So for any of you skeptics out there…try this recipe!  You won’t even know it’s GF.

Best advice for a GF lifestyle:  cook from scratch…that way you’ll know exactly what’s going into your food!  This recommendation is from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Kelli and Peter Bronski.

And this recipe is for General Chang’s Chicken, a hybrid of Chang’s spicy chicken and General Tso’s chicken.  Chang’s spicy chicken is a popular GF dish at P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, which is a version of General Tso’s chicken, combining sweet and a fair amount of heat in a heavily Americanized version of Hunan-style Chinese cuisine that grew out of NYC in the 1970s.

Serves 4

  • Olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • Cornstarch
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 C orange juice
  • 3/4 C cranberry juice
  • 1/4 C rice vinegar
  • 3 T tamari wheat-free soy sauce
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 2 T ground fresh chili paste
  • 1/4 C water
  • Chopped scallions for garnish

Heat 4-5 T of olive oil in a skillet or wok.  Meanwhile, dredge the cubed chicken breasts fully in the cornstarch.  Add the chicken to the oil and cook, turning, until cooked through, lightly browned and crispy on all sides.  Transfer to a bowl lined with paper towels.

Add the garlic to the remaining olive oil in the skillet (add a little more olive oil if needed) and cook until fragrant.  Add the orange juice, cranberry juice, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and chili paste and stir to mix well.  Mix 2 tsp of cornstarch with the 1/4 C water and stir into the sauce.  Bring to a boil.

Return the chicken to the skillet and cook until the sauce thickens and the chicken is heated through.  Garnish with chopped scallions and serve.  Serve over rice.

Fivenineteen notes: As with other recipes calling for minced garlic, I used minced garlic from a jar.  1/2 tsp is about 1 clove of garlic equivalent, and it’s a huge timesaver.  Take the extra time to really shake off the cornstarch after dredging the chicken in it by using a colander before transferring it to the hot skillet.  I admittedly was hungry and in a hurry making this dish and I carelessly transferred the chicken cubes coated with cornstarch into the skillet with tongs, a little too thickly coated.  I used a green curry chili paste from a jar and it turned out great; I’m excited to try this same recipe with a red curry chili paste as well.

Buon appetito!

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