Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Chicken Nuggets (3 ways)

When I saw the chicken nuggets recipe from Home Cooking In Montana blog, I couldn't wait to make a few for Brek. At that time, Camden was still allergic to dairy, chicken eggs, and corn, and he was still breastfeeding. So I was still on his strict allergy free diet. I also didn't eat out at all because there just wasn't anything that was corn free. I really missed eating chicken nuggets for lunch.

I tested the chicken nuggets recipe using quail eggs with all of the dairy and corn free ingredients. The chicken nuggets were easy to make and were very tasty, reminding me of the restaurant version. I tweaked the original recipe a bit by adding the ground black pepper and paprika but omit the ground celery seeds. But the nuggets were missing the crunch on the outer layers. I tried to make them with my homemade breadcrumbs, but the nuggets turned out soggy.

While searching for the new corn free products, I came  across Edward and Son's website. The allergy information on their site pointed out that the extra crispy Japanese-style crumbs was corn free. I wasn't sure if that statement was true because one of the ingredients was "yeast", a red flag for corn. I heard a lot about panko breadcrumbs on cooking shows, especially how crunchy they were when using them to deep-fried something savory. I bought a box anyway to test for its taste, texture, and Camden's corn tolerant to it.

I loved it. The crunch was exactly what I was trying to achieve. And Camden had no corn reaction to it. Keep in mind that Camden only had corn intolerant so please research this product before using. I started to subscribe Edward and Son's extra crispy Japanese-style crumbs from Amazon because buying more is a whole lot cheaper than buying one container at the Whole Foods.

Since I started the corn free diet, I stopped buying a package of ground meat. I was afraid of contamination. I make my own ground chicken like the way my mom used to make it when I was young. It's a work out but at least the ground chicken is clean and no funny business in it. All I do is slice the chicken breast into cubes. Then with a big knife (clever would work well), I run it back and forth on the meat. Basically, just keep going until the chicken is well minced. Ground chicken can also be made, using the food processor, but remember to not turn the chicken into paste. If that happens, no worries because now you have the main ingredient for the chicken lunch meat recipe.

I've made these chicken nuggets many times, and the original recipe makes about 30 nuggets. That's a lot of nuggets!!! Since I cooked the nuggets using panko breadcrumbs, they taste better after they are cooked. My recipe make just enough for my kids, and some days I even have leftover nuggets for the next day brunch. Feel free to double or triple my recipe.

Chicken Nuggets
adapted from Home Cooking in Montana's homemade chicken nuggets
serves 2, makes about 8-10 nuggets

Ground Chickens
8-10 oz ground chicken breasts (from 1-2 breasts)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg (or 5 quail eggs)

1/2 cup panko breadcrumb
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1 large egg (or 5 quail eggs)
oil for pan frying
  1. After the ground chicken is ready on the cutting board, sprinkle it with the salt, onion powder, ground black pepper, and paprika.
  2. Fold the chicken over the spices and run a knife back and forth a few times until the spices are mixed in.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg.
  4. Using your clean hand, mix the ground chicken meat into the egg.
  5. Divide the ground chicken into 8 to 10 equal size meatballs by using a small scooper. Set aside.
  6. On a plate, mix together the breadcrumbs, salt, and onion powder. Set aside.
  7. Whisk the egg in a bowl until it is homogenized (no stringy egg visible).
  8. Heat the frying pan at medium-low heat.
  9. Add the oil, just enough to coat the whole pan. 
  10. Dip each ground chicken meatball into the egg mixture, allowing excess egg mixture to drip back into the bowl.
  11. Roll them in the breadcrumb mixture.
  12. When the oil is heated, place the uncooked nuggets on the pan then quickly flatten it with a fork. NOTE: When cooking the nuggets, try to get them into the pan at the same time.
  13. Cook the nuggets for 3 minutes.
  14. Flip it over and cook for another 3 minutes.
  15. Enjoy them warm with the honey mustard sauce. Any leftover nuggets can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Warm them up in the oven or microwave.
TIPS: When I am pressed for time (or just plain lazy to make ground chicken), I would make chicken strips instead. Just slice the chicken breasts into strips. I only need bread crumb mixture and a large egg. The cooking method is the same as making the nuggets, but the chicken strips cook about 1-2 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of each strip.

Another cooking method is flatten the whole chicken breast so that it has the same thickness. Use the same cooking method as the chicken strips. However, the chicken breast can be a bit thick, so I usually cook it about 4-5 minutes per side. See, one recipe and three ways to make delish chicken.

Allergy Info: These chicken nuggets are free from or can be made without dairy, corn, legumes (soy), nuts, and fish. I've made these nuggets without the eggs by coating the ground chicken right into the breadcrumb mixture, and they came out as delicious and crunchy. If eggs aren't used, then these nuggets are also egg free. For gluten free, use gluten free breadcrumbs.

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