I grew up in a little town in Alaska that had very few shopping options. My friends got their clothes mostly from the JcPenney mail order catalog, but my mother liked to shop. So once or twice a year we’d make the 3 hour trek (each way) to the big city, and enjoy a shopping trip. When it was just she and I, we always went out to lunch, and I always got to choose where.
Now before I reveal the ever- exciting information of exactly which restaurant I chose (first clue: It wasn’t McDonalds), it’s important that you understand just how small the town was from which I sprouted.
There were no fast food restaurants. The only pizza restaurant was owned by a fiery, chain smoking, Greek immigrant, who must have gotten on the wrong boat and somehow landed in the barren tundra by some cruel twist of fate (he made the most of it by making the worlds best pizza). The only “ethnic cuisine” that existed in my small town was a yearly potlatch hosted by the Kenaitze Indian tribe. If you haven’t already tried it, let me be the first to tell you that Muktuk, aka whale blubber, isn’t sold at Costco for a reason.
So far you can cross fast food, pizza, and Eskimo fare off your list of guesses. Instead of those delightful options, I chose a little hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurant. Walking through the Kimono type fabric panels that hung from the ceiling, we would seemingly emerge into another land half a world away, as if we’d just closed our eyes and clicked our ruby red slippers three times.
Another language, different instruments with which to eat, music that sounded like a cat was being strangled (I’m totally joking, but, seriously it did kind of sound like that to a little Cheechako girls ears). I tried my hand at the chopsticks while savoring every bite of succulent chicken smothered in a dark syrupy sauce. Yep, you guessed it, it was Teriyaki Chicken. There’s a joint on every corner in the town I live in now, but back then, it was seriously special!
That little taste of Asian cuisine led me to some of my favorite foods today. I had no idea the wonderful flavors that Thailand, Korea, India, Vietnamese, Japanese and China had to offer.
Once I figured out gluten, grains, and dairy were causing me major health issues, I turned to Asian food for inspiration, as they typically are naturally gluten and dairy free (with the exception of wheat in some sauces). The problem was that I couldn’t often go out to a restaurant to enjoy these foods as they either were using a sauce that contained gluten, the oil being used was hydrogenated, genetically modified (soy, corn, vegetable, canola, cottonseed), and often tainted with gluten containing foods, or, I just didn’t want to eat CAFO meat.
When I tried to recreate some of my favorites at home, many of the pre-made sauces called for had gluten or high fructose corn syrup. Not knowing the cuisine, it wasn’t easy to find a substitute, so I was often left feeling like something was missing.
Thus I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to open up Russ Crandall’s gorgeous cookbook Paleo Takeout Restaurant Favorites Without The Junk. Filled with so many of my favorites from around the world, I think I bookmarked at least half of the recipes in the book. Then my dairy free, Indian food loving daughter got a hold of the book. I kid you not, she has asked me every.single.night. when I am going to make her Chicken Tikka Masala.
Whether you love Gyro’s, Pizza, Spring Rolls, Pho, Ramen, Tempura, Chicken Parmesan, or Sweet and Sour Chicken, you are going to find recipes from around the world, that you can ACTUALLY EAT, taste amazing, and that makes you feel good!
Want all 200 Paleo Takeout recipes? Click here to peruse the book
5 from 1 reviews
Sweet and Sour Chicken from Paleo Takeout
The slightly tangy, silky sauce envelops the perfectly crisp fried chicken to re-build this Chinese-American classic.
1 cup Chicken Broth
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp tamari
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp white pepper
2 tbsp expeller-pressed coconut oil
¼ cup tapioca or arrowroot starch
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp white pepper
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tbsp arrowroot starch
1 tbsp cold water
½ tsp sesame seeds, to garnish
2 green onions, sliced, to garnish
In a saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, then reduce the heat to low to gently simmer as you prepare the rest of the meal; stir occasionally.
Preheat your oven to 250°F.
In a wok or skillet, warm the coconut oil over medium heat.
Combine the tapioca starch, salt, and pepper, then toss the chicken pieces with the starch mixture.
With your fingers, dip a starchy chicken piece in the beaten eggs, shake off the excess egg, and then add to the oil.
Repeat until you have filled your skillet, being careful not to overcrowd the chicken pieces.
Fry the chicken until cooked through, flipping every 2 minutes, about 6 to 8 minutes per batch.
As you finish each batch, place the cooked pieces on a plate lined with paper towels; put them in the oven to stay warm.
You should be able to cook the chicken pieces in 3 or 4 batches, depending on the size of your skillet.
Once the chicken is cooked through, finish the sauce. Taste the sauce and add more salt or pepper if needed. If the sauce is too dark and strong tasting, add a little chicken broth to thin it out. At this point, the sauce should be about as thick as tomato soup and should have a sharp but not overwhelming flavor.
In a small bowl, stir together the arrowroot starch and cold water to create a slurry.
Raise the sauce temperature to medium; once bubbling, add half of the slurry and stir until thickened, adding more slurry if needed.
Remove from the heat.
Toss the chicken pieces with the sauce, then garnish with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve over Basic Steamed Rice (you'll find this recipe on page 286 of Paleo Takeout) or Cauliflower Rice (you'll find this recipe on page 288 of Paleo Takeout).
* Consider adding chunks of onion, bell pepper, or even pineapple to enhance the flavor of this dish. These ingredients should be added with the starch slurry in step 4. * This dish is equally delicious made with sliced pork loin or shrimp.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, you’ll want to get your hands on the entire Paleo Takeout: Restaurant Favorites Without the Junk cookbook. Featuring more than 200 recipes expertly culled from around the world, these recipes won’t leave you slaving in the kitchen all day. Russ promises “fridge to face” in under an hour.
Oh yeah, and I’m not sure why, but Russ didn’t include a recipe for Muktuk in his book. He must have skipped Alaska when he was creating this cookbook. Cuz’ Russ, whale blubber is totally Paleo ya know!!! 😉