Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Indochinese Chilli Chicken with Cauliflower Fried Rice

I LOVE Indian food.  Luckily for me, my mom's apartment is just blocks from Singh's Cafe, which has a fabulous lunch buffet every day of the week.  I go more than anyone should go anywhere, but I just love it so much.  One of the best parts of going to lunch buffet is that there is no waiting: you show up, you sit down (or not), and you go get your food!  I also love it because you can try some of everything.

One of my favorite dishes at Singh's is called chilli chicken.  It's lightly battered pieces of chicken, fried and then tossed with onions and peppers in a delicious sweet and spicy sauce.  It's addictive.  Since I've been doing my whole30, I haven't wanted to eat it because I'm pretty sure the chicken is breaded with flour and that the sauce has sugar in it.

Finally, I just couldn't take it anymore!  I had to have some chilli chicken.  I made a paleo version, and if I do say so myself, it's REALLY good!  I think I like it just as much as Singh's, or perhaps better, because my chicken is even more lightly breaded and tastes so good on top of cauliflower rice.

This dish takes a bit of prep work, but it is fun and delicious.  To save some time, you could fry chicken in two skillets at once (WHY didn't I think of that until just now?).  Since chilli chicken is an Indochinese dish, it has some ingredients that may be hard to find, and some that are not typical of Indian food.  I buy my coconut aminos at Whole Foods, but you can buy the same brand from Amazon.  I found sambal oelek, tapioca starch, red chillies, and unseasoned rice vinegar at the Vietnamese store in my neighborhood, but those things should be available at any Asian or large grocery store.

Ingredients (serves four):

Chilli chicken (adapted from Cooking and Me):

2 teaspoons coconut aminos
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek (red chili paste)
Pinch of salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons almond flour
1 teaspoon tapioca starch/tapioca flour

1 and 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup coconut oil for frying, plus extra
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 long red chillies, trimmed, deseeded if desired, and roughly chopped

2 teaspoons coconut aminos
1 teaspoon sambal oelek
1 tablespoon all-fruit jam (I used peach)
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste

To make the marinade, mix together all the ingredients and toss with the chicken to coat.  Refrigerate while you make the cauliflower rice.

When you are ready to cook the chicken, heat about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of coconut oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat.  You should have oil coating the whole skillet to a depth of 1/8 to 1/4 inch.  When the oil is hot, add as many chicken pieces as fit in a single layer.  After about two minutes, turn them over and fry for about two more minutes on the other side, or until cooked through.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.  Continue frying chicken in batches until all of it is cooked, adding more oil as necessary.

Remove the oil from the skillet and wipe it out.  Heat the tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat.  Fry the chillies and garlic until fragrant, then add the onions and cook until somewhat softened, 3-5 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

Add the sauce and fried chicken pieces to the skillet.  Stir to coat the chicken with the sauce, and continue to saute for about five more minutes until the chicken is heated through.  Serve hot on top of cauliflower fried rice.

Cauliflower fried rice (adapted from Nom Nom Paleo):

1 head cauliflower, stem and thick stalks removed, broken into large florets
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
2 scallions, sliced, plus more for garnish
2 teaspoons coconut aminos
Salt to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it's in rice-sized pieces.  Depending on your food processor, you may need to do this in two batches.

Heat one tablespoon coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and the white part of the scallions and cook until fragrant.  Add the cauliflower and salt to taste, and saute for a couple of minutes.  Stir in the coconut aminos and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 5-8 more minutes.  Add the green parts of the scallions and stir.

Push the cauliflower mixture to the edges of the pan, leaving a space in the middle.  Add the remaining coconut oil and then the eggs.  Let the eggs set for a few minutes, then toss to combine them with the cauliflower rice.  When the egg is cooked, your rice is done.  Cover to keep warm until the chicken is ready.  Serve with the chicken on top and a sprinkling of scallions, if desired.

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  1. This looks really good. I'm going to try it. I'm so impressed with this blog. How do you find time for a day job?

    1. Thank you! I hope you like it! Right now I am just taking a few classes to get ready to start grad school next month, so I won't be able to post quite as often once school starts.


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