Sunday, September 15, 2013

Chicken Lunch Meat

The hardest part of being on a food allergy diet was finding allergy free prepackaged food. I mean, seriously, must I make everything from scratch all the time? The answer is YES. Finding one product without corn is like finding a needle in a haystack. Literally.

I had the hardest time finding corn free lunch meat. Once I found lunchmeat with questionable ingredient: lactic acid (non dairy). I thought it was corn free. After calling a company and spoke to the customer service staff, the non dairy lactic acid actually came from corn.

During my free time, you will find me scanning a cookbook after a cookbook. My house is full of cookbooks. I've bought them at Half Price Books. I've borrowed them from the library. It was my luck when I scanned through Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nguyen. In this cookbook, there was a recipe called multi purpose meat paste. I remember the precooked pork rolls that are sold in Asian markets, but those pork rolls have MSG and other ingredients that I cannot pronounced. After reading the ingredients listed for this recipe and instruction on how to make it, I was pretty sure this recipe was for the pork roll.

So one weekend, I braved myself and made the rolls, using chicken meat. I was dumbfounded at how easy it was to make the chicken rolls. Plus, it was a perfect substitute for lunch meat too. My mom even told me that she amazed with the familiar taste of the chicken rolls. Remember, it is always made with cleaned ingredients that I can pronounce. Another product that I successfully made from scratch. Take that one off to-make list. I haven't tried this recipe with pork, beef, or fish. I'm pretty sure it can be done. One day I'll give other meat a try with this recipe. I've made this chicken lunch meat with just chicken breasts many times. Still taste great and perfect as an on-the-go lunch meat.

Chicken Lunch Meat
adapted from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nguyen
makes 4 rolls

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons tapioca starch
1 Tablespoon sugar
5 Tablespoons fish sauce
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  1. Cut the chicken meat into chucks.
  2. In a large bowl (with a cover), combine the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Add the chickens and coat well.
  4. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to marinade for 8 hours or overnight.
  5. Using a food processor, grind the chicken meat into paste.
  6. Divide the chicken paste into four equal parts.
  7. For each roll, place the chicken paste on to the banana leaf and form it into a big log. Note: Banana leaf is sold at Asian market in a freezer section. Thaw before use but keep them frozen. If banana leaf is unavailable, place the meat paste right on to the foil and roll into log as directed.
  8. Roll the banana leaf over the chicken paste and shape into a fat log.
  9. Place the banana leaf over the foil and roll it tightly. NOTE: At this point, the chicken paste rolls can be kept in the freezer for up to a year.
  10. To cook it, bring the water in a 4-quart pot to a boil.
  11. Add the chicken paste roll (still wrapped in foil) into the water. It should float in the boiling water.
  12. Cook it for 30 minutes, turning once. NOTE: Sometimes the roll is stubborn and won't flip over. Use the tongs to keep it in placed. The roll will plum up when cook. Don't poke a hole or anything like that. It won't burst. Promise. The roll shrinks after it cools down.
  13. Once cooked, remove the roll and place it on a plate. Let cool.
  14. Unwrap the foil and the banana leaf.
  15. Slice the chicken lunch meat thinly. Enjoy them with bread, noodle soup, or just eat them as snack. Keep the cooked chicken lunch meat in a container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Allergy Info: My chicken sandwich lunch meat is free from or can be made without dairy, eggs, corn, legumes (soy), nuts, and wheat.

UPDATE: For those of you have corn sensitivity, I want to let you know that some or maybe all banana leaves maybe dusted with corn starch. I recently bought another brand. After washing the banana leaves and separating them before I refreeze them again, I noticed white paste when I was setting them out to dry. I wasn't 100% sure if the white paste was corn starch and never called the company to confirm. But my instinct told me that it had to be something starch. With that said, you can still make the chicken lunch meat. Just use double foil when rolling up the chicken paste. The lunch meat won't have the aroma from the banana leaf but at least you will be able to eat them without getting corn allergic reaction.

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