This post about gluten-free teriyaki chicken with pineapple contains affiliate links.
One thing I want to get better at as a home cook is making my own Chinese food at home. While there are great places that accommodate those of us on a gluten-free diet, the truth is many of these Chinese restaurants use unhealthy ingredients (MSG and loads of unhealthy oils and sugar) and there’s always a HUGE risk of cross contamination, too.
There are a few Chinese restaurants that I do frequent – like PF Chang’s and local place in Greenwood Village, Colorado called Shanghai Kitchen (they are really good about GF).
However, I struggle in mom and pop Chinese restaurants quite a bit. There is often a language barrier, which makes me even more nervous when trying to eat out safely, and you have to insist that they change gloves, oil in the pan, etc. And never, and I mean never, touch anything deep fried in a Chinese restaurant. It’s totally unsafe for gluten-free diners!
That said, despite all these dangers, I think we can all agree that Chinese food is SO DARN GOOD. Seriously, I crave it constantly.
So in my kitchen, I’ve been working on perfecting some of my favorite Chinese dishes. There is one dish I remember loving (in my pre-celiac days) with chicken, pineapple and red peppers. I attempted to recreate it and am happy to report, it worked! I might even venture to say this is better than the restaurant version of this same dish!
Chinese restaurants seem to always have their chicken taste so darn juicy (even if it’s only stir-fried and not deep fried). I think I know why.
One of the tricks to making chicken stay juicy and tender is to coat it with cornstarch. Cornstarch offers a protective barrier around the chicken, allowing the chicken to cook inside without getting overcooked or too tough to eat. The cornstarch gets crispy in the oil, but the chicken inside cooks evenly and slowly.
Also, I know when chicken is wet and touches hot oil, the outside cooks too fast and you end up with rubbery chicken. The cornstarch, in a sense, protects the chicken from the high heat that would render it rubbery, allowing you to cook an even and juicy piece of chicken.
You can load this stir-fry with even more goodies if you like – make it as healthy as you want! Consider adding celery, eggplant and mushrooms. Yummy!
I, however, like the simplicity of the three core ingredients: Chicken, pineapple and red peppers. I think the flavors go together well and look beautiful too.
I highly recommend serving this delicious stir fry over sticky rice. Don’t you feel like Chinese restaurants just know how to make rice taste so good, too?
Well guess what, my sticky rice is the bomb too!
I always use long grain jasmine rice (I like this brand), I follow the measuring instructions on the package, and then I add a decent drizzle of avocado oil and large pinch of Kosher salt to the mixture before hitting the cook button on my rice cooker. My rice comes out sticky and yummy every time.
There is nothing that I don’t love about this recipe. It’s officially been added to our family’s dinner rotation.
Teriyaki Chicken with Pineapple Stir Fry Recipe
- 1/4 cup gluten-free tamari
- 1/4 cup water
- 6 Tbsp. honey
- 2 Tbsp. pineapple juice reserved from canned pineapple
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger (or 1 teaspoon fresh ginger)
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp. cold water
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil (more if needed)
- 1-2 lbs. organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts (diced into 1" pieces)
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch (or arrowroot or tapioca starch*)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 red bell pepper - diced into 1" chunks
- 15 ounces diced pineapple - drained (minus 2 tablespoons reserved for the sauce) 1 can
- Chopped scallions (topping)
- Sesame seeds (topping)
In a small bowl, mix tamari, 1/4 cup water, honey, pineapple juice, vinegar and ginger together. Set aside.
In a small, separate bowl, mix cornstarch and 1 Tbsp. cold water. Set aside.
Add two tablespoons cornstarch, a dash of salt and pepper, and cubed chicken to a large zip top bag. Combine and set aside.
Heat saucepan with oil over high heat. Once pan is hot add chicken mixture. Stir fry on medium high heat until chicken begins to brown on all sides. Mix often, for about 5-6 minutes.
Add diced red peppers and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add pineapple chunks to mixture and cook for about 1 more minute. At this time, the chicken should be cooked through. If not, stir fry the mixture a little longer.
Next, add the sauce to the chicken mixture. Allow mixture to boil and then lower heat to medium to allow sauce to thicken.
Once sauce is heated through and thickened (after about 1-2 minutes), serve over sticky rice and top with chopped scallions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
This recipe is inspired by a recipe I found on Pinterest created by Flavor of the Moments. I’ve made a few changes and of course made this 100% gluten free. (PS: Come find Good For You Gluten Free on Pinterest please!)