Gluten free chinese food, part I

The food: homemade gluten-free shrimp and lobster sauce

The story:

It’s difficult to find decent gluten-free food in restaurants for my son Michael, who has celiac disease, and it’s more difficult still when we’re away from home, in a strange city. So I was delighted to take him recently to a Florida branch of P.F. Chang’s, where a full page of the menu lists gluten-free selections, even if it is a chain and the food is Americanized Chinese.

Michael quite enjoyed the chicken in lettuce wraps appetizer, as well as the lemon chicken and shrimp with lobster sauce – so much so that when we returned to Canada (where P.F. Chang’s has not yet expanded – get on that, will you, P.F. Chang’s owners?) I pledged to try to recreate some of the dishes for him at home.

First up was shrimp with lobster sauce, a dish I associate with my childhood AKA my Cantonese chow mein eating days. Here’s the recipe I used, adapted from one I found on About.com, by Rhonda Parkinson. It was a little fiddly to make re: the number of steps required and the number of small bowls of ingredients that had to be assembled, but it turned out well, as can be seen in the photo above, and it tasted good to Michael and me both.

Gluten-Free Shrimp with Lobster Sauce

For sauce:
1/8 – 1/4 lb. ground pork
2 t. wheat-free soy sauce or tamari
1 t. cornstarch
3 T. canned black beans, drained (save the rest for another use)
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 T. wheat-free soy sauce or tamari
1 T. sherry or Madeira
1 t. sugar
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 T. cornstarch
2 T. water
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 t. salt
2 T. oil for stir-frying

The shrimp:

1 lb. frozen large shrimp, thawed and shelled
1 T. sherry, rice wine or Madeira
1/4 t. salt
1 t. cornstarch
3 T. oil for stir-frying
2 t. minced ginger
1 green onion, chopped
1 c. frozen peas or steamed broccoli florets

Preparation:

1. In a bowl, marinate the shrimp in the sherry, salt and cornstarch for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make sauce: mix ground pork in bowl with 2 t. tamari, pepper and cornstarch.
3. Mash black beans with fork (or in mini-food processor type chopper). Mix with minced garlic. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, mix 1 T. tamari, 1 T. sherry, sugar, and chicken broth. Set aside. In a separate small bowl, stir 1 T. cornstarch into 2 T. cold water. Set aside.
4. In yet another small bowl, lightly beat eggs with salt.
5. Heat wok or large skillet over medium-high to high heat, add 2 T. oil, when hot, stir-fry bean-garlic mixture until aromatic. Add ground pork, stir-fry until it changes colour. Remove to another bowl and clean out the wok.
6. Add sauce to pan, bring to a boil, give cornstarch mixture a stir and add it to sauce. Stir quickly to thicken sauce, add pork mixture back into pan and combine all. Set aside but keep warm. Clean out pan.
7. Heat the pan over medium-high to high heat. Add the 3 T. oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger and green onion. Stir-fry until aromatic (about 30 seconds). Add the shrimp and stir-fry until they turn pink.
8. Stir in frozen peas or steamed broccoli, push the shrimp up to the sides of the pan and add the sauce in the middle. Bring to a boil and then mix in with the shrimp. Serve hot over steamed white or brown rice.

Makes 3-4 servings.

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