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Sweet and Sour Chicken Trial: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free

September 7, 2012

During Joseph’s naps, I like to write stories. The novel I’m currently writing involves a young man sailing along the coast of a fantasy nation heavily influenced by chinese culture. There are no allergies in this story, but the protagonist is heavily fixated on food (to the point of ignoring pretty girls nearby). This has left me craving chinese food, so I picked out a sweet and sour recipe from Taste of Home to make this week.

The Changes

This recipe is already Joseph-safe (hooray for him being able to eat gluten-free soy sauce!). Instead of pork, I decided to use chicken, and I substituted carrots for the pepper, since that would be better liked by my family.

chicken, canola oil, ketchup, dark corn syrup, vinegar, garlic powder, soy sauce, pineapple, cornstarch, carrots

The Method

Mix cornstarch and water in a small cup and set aside. Brown chicken in oil in a large skillet (or wok if you have one). Add pineapple and juice, corn syrup, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, and garlic powder.

Bring to a boil and simmer for ten minutes, adding the carrots in the last couple minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir until combined. Bring to a boil again and cook for two more minutes, or until thickened. Serve over rice.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Adapted from Taste of Home

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free


  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 3/4 pound chicken breasts, cubed (I used two medium breasts)
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 can (8 ounces) pineapple tidbits (I used a portion of a 20 ounce can, which came to 1/3 cup of juice, with enough pineapple added to bring it to 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons gluten-free soy-sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 carrots, sliced

In a small cup, mix together cornstarch and water. In a large skillet, brown chicken in the oil. Add pineapple and its juice, corn syrup, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add carrots, and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir the cornstarch and water and add to the sauce. Bring the sauce back to a boil, and cook and stir for 2 minutes, or until thickened. Serve with rice.

Makes 2-3 servings

What I Thought

This tasted nice, although I felt like I was cheating by using ketchup and corn syrup. I would have preferred something more authentic. My daughter refused to touch any rice that had been “contaminated” by the sauce. Joseph quite enjoyed the chicken. The carrots and pineapple, however, remained on his plate. (He’s starting the toddler picky phase). My husband, unfortunately, was sick, and opted to have soup instead.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. colleenmoore0301 permalink
    September 7, 2012 5:36 am

    Sounds yummy! I LOVE Chinese food! My son is more sensitive to soy and garlic than gluten and dairy, but I’ve just learned about coconut aminos to be used in place if soy sauce, so I think I’ll give that a try. Any thoughts on what I can use for flavor since garlic and pepper are not options for us? Thanks so much for posting! 🙂

    • September 7, 2012 9:43 am

      I’ve also used fish sauce as a substitute for soy before my son grew out of that sensitivity. Gives a decent flavor, though the color will be more amber than dark.

      Hmm, as for other spices, perhaps ginger? Sesame oil can also pack a kick. You’d definitely have to taste as you go. Good luck!

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