Keto Cook Off - My husband's entry - Tempura General Tso Chicken over Shirataki Lo Mein
So, needless to say - we haven't really splurged on "real" Chinese food in a long time. I think I've had "real" Chinese food possibly 4 times in the past 2 years. And man... do I miss that traditional crunch exterior to sweet and sour chicken. Sure, breading chicken in crushed pork rinds is awesome - but it is not the same as the batter used in Chinese food.
Last night we were on a quest. A quest to make a batter that would satisfy even the most picky of Chinese food eaters. And, we found it. The tempura recipe is not our own, though we adapted it for our use. My PCOS Kitchen created a Keto Tempura using Whey Isolate Protein powder... which, ironically... I had on hand. Because I'm a hoarder and I apparently hoard protein powders in my house of every brand and variety. The original Tempura Recipe can be located here, and I will repost below: https://www.mypcoskitchen.com/keto-tempura/
My PCOS Kitchen Tempura Batter recipe as follows:
6 tbsp whey protein isolate (I use the ISOPure brand)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp grated chicken broth cube (I found this to be very over powdering - so my recommendation is 1/4 tsp)
2 tbsp sparkling water (literally only had lemon lime on hand - and it did not negatively affect the taste)
General Tso Suace recipe:
2 Tbspn reduced sugar ketchup
1/4 cup Rice vinegar
1/4 cup swerve or other sugar substitute
1/2 Tbspn minced garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 Tbspn coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
Optional: 1 Tbspn sweet chili sauce. This WILL up the carbs, and does have sugar - so those that are following strict keto - I would not recommend adding this.
Lo Mein sauce recipe:
1/4 cup chicken stock (I highly recommend using home made stock, it has a much richer flavor - though any boxed chicken stock will be fine)
1 Tbspn reduced sugar ketchup
1 Tbspn Worcestershire sauce
2-3 Tbspn swerve (to your desired sweetness)
2 Tbspn coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
1 Tbspn sesame oil
1/4 tsp Xantham gum
Other ingredients required:
2 large chicken breasts - chopped into cubes
2 Packages of Shirataki Smart Noodles (this is the brand we used - we like this much more than Miracle noodles)
1/2 head of broccoli chopped - florets only. If you don't have fresh - frozen works just as well.
1/4 cup of chopped onion and pepper mix (frozen is fine)
1/2 cup shredded cabbage mix - I used the coleslaw mix in the bag
Optional: 10-12 chopped up cooked shrimp for the Lo Mein
Take all the ingredients for the tempura and put into a bowl - beat the living hell out of it with a whisk until no more clumps. It's going to double in volume. That's the magic of the sparkling water hitting the baking soda. Dunk all your chicken pieces into the batter. Deep fry in coconut oil on a medium heat until cooked through. We were having some trouble getting the temperature right, so we took the larger pieces that didn't cook through completely, and finished them off in the air fryer. I think our inconsistency in the chicken bite pieces is what caused our issue. Set chicken on a paper towel to cool.
In a small sauce pan - put all the ingredients for the General Tso sauce. Bring to a boil and whisk while it is boiling - allow to reduce. Once it's thickened up some - turn off the heat. When you are ready to plate you can either toss the chicken in the sauce or you can just spoon some over your chicken. I do not like my chicken to swim in sauce - so I just drizzled about 2 Tbspn of the sauce over my chicken.
Prepare the sauce for the Lo Mein in a measuring cup. In a wok or frying pan - saute all the veggies. Once the veggies are starting to soften, add your two packages of Smart Shirataki noodles that have been drained and pat dry with paper towel before putting in the pan. Mix the veggies into the noodles. Add your Lo Mein sauce - and allow to boil with the noodles and veggies to thicken. Add your chopped cooked optional shrimp at the end.
Take 1/4 of the noodles & veggies and put on center of a plate. Top with 1/4 of the tempura chicken. Drizzle with General Tso sauce. Garnish with additional uncooked purple cabbage for color.
Voila! Chinese food! I know it sounds like a lot of ingredients / steps - but it came together super fast. With two of us prepping and getting all the sauces and batter ready - this dish start to finish took about 30 minutes. This also makes 4-5 very large servings. In fact, I couldn't even finish mine - there was just so much.
One thing we are very fortunate to have near us is both a store called Aldi's which is a chain discount grocery. But we also have a discount grocery here in Pennsylvania called P&R that has a few locations through out the state. We are able to find most of these ingredients in these two stores. The Whey Isolate I buy on Amazon. Xantham Gum you can find at pretty much any chain grocery I've been to.
So, there you have it. Chinese food ala low carb.
SIDE NOTE: You do not have to use a tempura batter to make the chicken. Not everyone just has Whey Isolate in their pantry - and we recognize that. You most certainly can bread your chicken in a pork rind crust, and pan fry - and this will be just as delicious. All the flavor will still be there - just a different texture!