Gluten-free cooking is a personal challenge of mine. My mother-in-law follows a gluten free (GF) diet for health reasons, and I enjoy making yummy dishes that don’t make her feel like she is missing out on the ‘good’ stuff like pastry and sourdough bread.
Asian dishes are a good place to start, as they are (mostly) naturally GF, however, I know many people on a GF diet eat lots of rice in place of pasta, so I decided to go down the noodle route for this dish.
These parcels are kind of a more substantial san choy bau or, to liken them to a completely different cuisine – a type of asian burrito – with noodles instead of rice, and lettuce instead of a tortilla, and saucy chicken instead of beef. Um, OK, they’re not really like a burrito at all!
But you DO fill the lettuce leaves with noodles and chicken thigh chunks simmered in ruby red grapefruit juice, ginger and kaffir lime, then roll it up and dig in. Yum!
They make an excellent gluten free starter for a dinner party – just make sure you are comfortable enough with the guests to tell them to use their hands (and see juice dribbling down their chin). That fork in the photo above is just for show. Don’t bother trying to use cutlery, it will ruin the experience.
This also makes a great family dinner if you double the recipe and put everything in the centre of the table so that they can all help themselves. I think the saying goes…Families that eat together, stay together. Or something like that.
Do you have a family member with a special diet? Is it a joy or a pain to cook for them?
Ruby red chicken noodle parcels
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 500g chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 2cm piece root ginger, grated
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 125ml (1/2 cup) chicken stock
- 375ml (1 1/2 cups) Ocean Spray Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
- 2 tablespoons Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce
- 1 tablespoon tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
- 1/2 lemon, zested
- 2 kaffir lime leaves, very finely sliced
- salt and ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon cornflour
- 125g dried rice vermicelli
- 4 little gem, baby cos or red oak lettuce leaves
1. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-based, deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and brown really well on all sides for 10 minutes. You want the outside nicely caramelised.
2. Add the ginger and garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the stock, juice, cranberry sauce, soy sauce, lemon zest and half the sliced kaffir lime leaves. Stir and scrape any chicken bits stuck to the bottom of the pan and bring to the boil. Season with salt and white pepper.
3. Boil rapidly for 15 minutes, uncovered, until the sauce is reduced by half. Put the cornflour into a small cup, add 2 tablespoons of the sauce and stir immediately to avoid any lumps. When smooth, pour into the pan and stir for 5 minutes to thicken the sauce. Take off the heat, but cover and keep warm.
4. Place the rice vermicelli into a large heat-proof bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover (from the kettle is fine). Leave to stand for 10 minutes until softened then drain thoroughly.
5. To serve, arrange lettuce leaves on serving plates and top with a little rice pile of rice noodles. Finish with some chicken mixture and garnish with the remaining kaffir lime leaf slices. It’s easiest to eat if you pick up the lettuce leaf like a taco and enjoy.
Fig & Cherry was commissioned by Ocean Spray Australia and Undertow Media to develop this sponsored recipe using their products for a new e-book that is soon to be released.
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