10 November 2008

Gluten Free Tips (3): Coatings for Frying *UPDATED 10 November 2008*

Okay, I've decided to rewrite the intro. Original text is below if anyone cares. I've tried all of these flour mixes on chicken, with the results listed below. I've now tried sorghum flour on fish, and it works beautifully, possibly even better than it works on chicken. I still do not use batters* of any kind, nor do I dip the meat in anything before coating it (though I do generally salt it first).

First, two disclaimers. (1) The only thing I ever bread to cook is chicken, but as of 22.March, I can say that sorghum flour also works well on fish. That's it. I figure that the flours I suggest will work similarly on other meats, but I can't be certain of that. (2) I do not make any fancy batters. The chicken is slightly damp, just enough for the flours to stick, but that's all. If you're into using eggs and milk and crackers, my experience won't be much use.

Below the fold is a list of the types of flours I've tried as coatings with my results. It will probably be expanded at some point(s) if I try other variations.

corn meal: Gives a very good coating. It's just a bit crumbly, but if you're careful this isn't a problem. Also works well mixed with sorghum flour.

corn starch: I never had much luck with it. Bette Hagman recommends putting some in a ziplock bag, putting the meat in, and shaking it to coat, but the coating winds up far thinner than I like.

potato starch mixed with corn meal: Similar to tapioca starch mixed with corn meal, but the potato starch doesn't bubble up as much. Haven't tried potato starch on its own yet. I have two problems with this mix: (1) It's very crumbly and doesn't stay on the chicken very well; (2) It absorbs massive quantities of oil. Tasted okay, but it's not one I really recommend.

potato starch mixed with corn meal and sorghum flour: Basically I took what was left from the above experiment and added an equal volume of sorghum flour. It worked much MUCH better than just the potato starch and corn meal. The potato starch adds a bit of thickening that just corn meal and sorghum flour lack. Still, I prefer corn meal and/or sorghum flour without the potato starch.

rice flour: I've never had much luck here. It sort of works, but it just tends to fall right off. I suspect that if you did make a batter of it, it might work better.

sorghum flour: Gives a nice, thin golden coating that stays on quite well. For a bit more thickness, I often mix it with corn meal.

tapioca flour: Wow. This stuff bubbled and thickened up as if I had made a batter. It wound up extremely thick and rather hard. It actually reminded me of the coating Wrangler used on one of their fish baskets. If you're into really thick coatings, then this is a simple way to get them, but I'd suggest using a pan big enough to leave space around each piece you fry; they tend to cook together. I tried mixing tapioca flour with corn meal and got a less volatile result, but I still prefer corn meal + sorghum flour.

*UPDATE: For those interested in a thicker coating that does use eggs to help it stick, try this recipe. Thanks to Aunt Bee for providing the link!

GF Tips Index


Aunt Bee said...

I have experimented with freshly ground almonds with sorghum or millet. It has a nice flavor, but it mostly gets black before the meat is cooked. Not sure if it can be salvaged as an ingredient. I really like using ground almonds in doughs though.

Qalmlea said...

Yeah, ground nuts of any sort add both moisture and protein, not to mention flavor. I haven't tried frying with them, though...