My brother and his new family (new baby) came up to visit me this past week stayed with me for an extended period of time. Unfortunately my new nephew suffers from some pretty severe eczema so both Brother and Sister-in-law spend a great deal of time trying to figure out WHAT causes it and different ways to treat the condition. It brought back so many sharp and difficult memories of my time breastfeeding Son, navigating all the different food allergies and trying to decipher what was making him have such horrible skin.
Sister-in-law has given up many of the same foods I was forced to give up while breastfeeding, and also eats very similarly to Son. I wanted to cook for her foods that wouldn't affect her son and at the same time make it delicious and appetizing. I remembered all too well the amount of sacrifice and determination it took to give up all the foods that were potentially affecting Son's skin. At one point, I had given up dairy, soy, nuts, eggs, sesame, shellfish, fish, corn and wheat, and was basically surviving on fruits, vegetables and proteins. It really wasn't much fun to be around me because I was so hungry for other things (cheese mostly) but I also had some strange grit that was determined to live with the situation until I weaned Son. I was grouchy and craving the forbidden. I know what it is to walk in my Sister-in-law's shoes, to feel frustrated when the diet isn't working, to watch another flare-up hit, and to wait anxiously, eagerly, feverishly for improvement, any improvement, no matter how small.
I decided to cook a very allergy friendly dinner, motivated by the memory of my own deprivation 3 years ago. That thought alone, remembering how things were so hard to eat really lit a fire under me and I got cranking on a new chicken wings recipe. I wanted it to be crispy, flavorful, but at the same time, soy, egg, dairy, corn, wheat free - which was going to be an interesting challenge. Turns out all of those restrictions pushed my cooking into a new and really delicious direction - the wings were a hit! I even did them side by side against flour coated wings, and hands down, people preferred the light airy crispiness of the sweet rice flour, and even loved the special texture that comes from cooking with mochiko.
These are not any harder than a wheat based fried chicken recipe but are equally as good. I'd even encourage people to try making them even if they don't have allergies, because it really is just that tasty!
Allergy-Friendly Asian Fried Chicken Wings
Serves 8 to 10
6-7 lbs wings, separated into drummettes and wings (tips reserved for use another time)
2 cups coconut milk
½ cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped ginger
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 tablespoons sambal oelek (fresh ground chili pepper - available at your local Asian market)
6 tablespoons fish sauce (if you cannot do fish sauce, use 3 tablespoons of sake, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of salt as a substitute)
3 cups mochiko (sweet rice flour)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon salt
Vegetable oil for frying (I like safflower oil)
lime wedges for serving
In a large bowl mix together coconut milk, cilantro, ginger, garlic, sambal, and fish sauce. Once combined, add chicken wing pieces. Stir to submerge coat chicken well in marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
In a heavy pot or deep fryer, heat oil and bring to 325 degrees.
While the oil is heating, in a large bowl, whisk together mochiko, garlic powder, ginger powder and salt. Remove wing from marinade and toss in rice flour until fully coated. (A light even coating is what you are going for). Set aside on rack and repeat with remaining wings. Once the oil has reached 325 degrees, add enough wings so that you have room to stir them if necessary. Fry for about 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
Serve hot with lime wedges.
Breastfeeding women, first dibs!
not a great price, but so you can see what it is
My choice brand of fish sauce
My choice for Sambal Oelek (available much more cheaply at your local Chinese supermarket)