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People frequently email me to ask about saving on gluten-free products. While it’s true that many coupons are for items that contain gluten, you can still save money while eating gluten free. The best ways to save are to shop sales, buy what is in season, and learn to make homemade versions of often overpriced gluten-free products.
In our house, my husband is gluten free. I rarely make him a separate meal, which means we often all eat gluten free. One thing my whole family loves is fried chicken, so I set out on a mission to figure out how to fry food without gluten. Don’t worry, we don’t often eat fried food, but it is nice for an occasional treat.
So if you or somebody in your family is on a gluten-free diet, you might be glad to hear that you can make a delicious batter for frying foods without using flour. This isn’t just one of those gluten-free substitutions that tries to mimic its gluten-containing counterpart: it’s a batter that is better than most flour-based recipes. So you should try this recipe even if you don’t have any particular reason to avoid gluten.
If you limit your family’s gluten consumption or avoid it altogether, then you are probably familiar with cornstarch. Because cornstarch is made of corn, it does not contain wheat, making it an integral part of gluten-free flours. This recipe uses cornstarch in place of flour so that when it fries, the batter forms in a very thin layer around the food, giving it an awesome texture. It’s very easy to use and easy to remember.
3 parts by volume cornstarch
4 parts by volume egg whites
water as needed to thin out the batter
salt, pepper, spices, herbs
1) If you are using any of the optional ingredients, mix them with the cornstarch in a bowl until thoroughly combined. If you plan to serve your food with a salty sauce like soy sauce or hot sauce, or if your food is already salty as would be the case with brined or marinated meat, then it might be wise to leave salt out of the batter. Otherwise, you should add a pinch.
2) Using a separate bowl and a whisk (or a stand mixer), whisk the egg whites until they are light in color and form soft peaks.
3) Once the egg whites are sufficiently beaten, slowly sprinkle the dry ingredients into the egg whites while beating slowly until incorporated. The batter should be thick enough to coat food but thin enough so that the excess runs off the food easily. Add small amounts of water as needed if needed.
1) Heat oil in a frying pan/skillet (cast iron is the best for frying) or a deep fryer (if you happen to be Emeril Lagasse)
2) Using tongs, dip food into the batter and shake well over the batter bowl to remove excess batter from food.
3) Cook until done. I’ve made chicken, squash, and thinly sliced sweet potatoes like this.
One of my favorite things to fry is brined chicken breast cut into strips. In the chicken pictured, I added a teaspoon of chili powder for flavor. It was crispy and delicious, and it just happened to be gluten-free! You can use the batter on whatever produce is in season or meat is on sale.
See more ideas for frugal living.