Extra Crunchy Gluten Free Chicken Strips

>> Wednesday, August 12, 2009

One thing I miss about being able to eat wheat is the blessed, heavenly crunch of deep fried whatever. I am not super picky when it comes to fried things. Onion rings, fries, calamari, mozzarella, Oreos, Snickers bars, you name it, batter it and fry it and I will eat it (except chicken fried steak: NASTY!!!!)

Though my scale hasn't bemoaned the absence of these delicacies, my tastebuds surely have and thus I decided it was high time I bought a deep fryer. I found the perfect one: sleek, compact and it actually fits easily on my countertop! So what if it can only fit two chicken tenders or about five french fries at a time? Fried chicken doesn't have to be hot to be good! I fired this baby up for the first time to make a batch of crunchy chicken tenders. Now, when I say crunchy I mean you can barely hear your own thoughts when you eat these bad boys. In other words, they were perfect.

*I served the strips with my Blue Cheese Bacon Coleslaw and Parmesan Garlic Dipping Sauce. The Sauce recipe is in this post, the slaw will be my next one.

- 14 boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders (I bought them pre-cut and trimmed but you can also just cut up chicken breasts)

(Mix dry ingredients then divide in half and reserve half for batter)
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 cups buttermilk

- 1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour)
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- reserved seasoning mix
- 1 can club soda

- 6 cups gluten free Rice Chex cereal

Mix dry ingredients for the marinade then divide into two parts.

Put half in a large plastic ziplock bag and save the other half. Pour the buttermilk into the bag and seal it mix the powder and buttermilk well by shaking and squeezing the bag. Put the chicken tender strips in the bag and refrigerate overnight or for at least five hours.

To prepare the coating, place the Chex into another zip bag and squeeze out most of the air then seal the bag. Roll over the bag with a rolling pin to crush the Chex. You want it really crushed. Trust that even crushed into a semi-fine powder, this will make a nice crunchy coating. Once it's crushed up, pour it into a shallow pan (something with sides) for dredging.

To prepare the batter, pour the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, sugar and the rest of your seasoning mix into another shallow pan and mix with a fork until combined. Pour the club soda into the mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. You may not want to use the whole can of club soda. Start with half a can and add until your batter is your preferred consistency. I used a whole can but I wish I had used less and made a thicker batter.

Line a pan or baking dish with plastic wrap to put your breaded tenders in. One at a time, take the tenders from the bag with the marinade and dredge them first in the batter mixture then coat them evenly with crushed Chex. Place each coated tender in the dish. Once the dish is full, add another layer of plastic wrap then put another layer of tenders on top then cover that layer with plastic wrap and so on until all the tenders are coated with batter and the coating and all are securely covered with plastic wrap. Put the dish of tenders in the refrigerator for at least one hour before frying.

To fry: I used peanut oil and followed the instructions on my deep fryer. If you don't have a deep fryer, fill a large, deep pot or skillet with enough peanut oil so that the tenders will be able to float if you place two or three in the pot at a time. Heat the oil to 375-400 degrees F (make sure you use a thermometer.) When the oil comes up to temperature, drop in a couple of tenders. Let cook for about 6-8 minutes. Check your first tender for doneness then figure out how long your tenders will need to cook based on that. Fry the tenders two at a time and place them on a cooling rack to cool. Serve with a dipping sauce like my garlic parmesan mayo!

Garlic Parmesan Dipping Sauce
- 1/2 cup Mayo
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 1/3 cup Parmesan grated on the smallest hole on a box grater (the one that basically makes a powder)
- 2 small sprigs of fresh thyme (discard the stems and chop the leaves)

Mix together, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and serve!


Kahuna October 2, 2009 at 8:03:00 AM PDT  

What kind of deep fryer do you have? Do you like it?

Callie Anne October 2, 2009 at 8:08:00 AM PDT  

I use a Cuisinart CDF-100. It's super compact and uses 1.5 L of oil. I've been very happy with it, it gets hot and re-heats quickly and it doesn't take up much space in my tiny kitchen. Being Gluten-Free, it's a great item to have since fried foods in restaurants are pretty risky. Hope this helps!

Kathy June 21, 2010 at 2:20:00 AM PDT  

I need to get one of those new deep
fryers. Extra crispy was always
my favorite too. Your recipe
looks great, thanks for sharing!

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