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Gluten Free UnChicken Nuggets

Posted May 28 2009 12:23am

These are gluten free, vegan 'un-chicken' nuggets made out of tofu, chickpea flour, and spices that I created for my son's lunch box.

Now that my son is in full day Kindergarten, I really struggle with packing his lunchbox. He sees what the other kids are eating and he wants what they have too. I have a problem with this, and it doesn't have a thing to do with gluten, or any other allergen. Flourescent green or pink yogurt with sprinkles, sugar and high fructose corn syrup laden drinks, heavily processed deli meats and nuggets, trans fat saturated chips, not to mention bread, pretzels, crackers and cookies made from refined flour and sugar. It's amazing to me that it is considered acceptable to feed our children such nutritionally inadequate junk.

At the same time, although my son eats healthy, nutritionally dense foods at home, he also wants to show his friends that he has fun foods in his lunch box too. I understand this. If I pack 'healthy' lunches and snacks, they comes back uneaten. If I pack nuggets with ketchup and a few carrots, the lunch box comes back clean.

Here is the recipe:

2 teaspoons grated garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce
2 teaspoons mirin
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 14 ounce package firm tofu
1/2 cup chickpea flour
rice bran or canola oil

The secret to this recipe is to boil the tofu. So don't skip this step ! This is what gives the tofu it's 'nugget-like' texture. Add the tofu to boiling water, and simmer for approximately 5 minutes. Remove the tofu and let it cool down, then squeeze out as much water as possible using a clean towel.

Crumble the cooled, squeezed tofu into a bowl, together with the garlic, ginger, tumeric, black pepper, soy sauce, mirin and sesame oil. If you like, add other seasonings such as cayenne pepper, cumin or chopped spring onion at this time. Using a fork, or your hands, really mash the ingredients together. Once the tofu mixture is relatively smooth with no big lumps, add in the chickpea flour and mix well. This should create a thick paste-like batter that you can shape easily with your hands. If it is not thick enough, add more chickpea flour.

Shape the batter into a nugget shape, and fry in rice bran or canola oil until well browned. Drain on paper towels. Serve with ketchup or, for adults, with a squeeze of lemon.

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