Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Gluten-free Chicano Cooks Fried Rice

The Gluten-free Chicano Cooks…
Gluten-Free Fried Rice With Chicken And Firm Tofu.
Michael Sedano

Cooking is like riding a bicyle, don’t fall off. Just get out in the kitchen and rattle those pots and pans. That’s el Gluten-free Chicano’s Method: just get into that kitchen and imagine what you want to eat and make that. It’s a perfect Method for the Antojado Cook who prefers Ad Hoc menus to “if it’s Friday it’s fish.”

After making a dish a few times, cooking’s like playing piano; it’s all in your fingers and the instrument. You don’t need to see the music, the recipe’s in your hands. 

For gente coming to cooking as more than survival, el Gluten-free Chicano offers a consejo: Cook what you order. Learn as you eat. Identify tastes and ask the order-taker when you’re stumped. Read recipes and cookbooks, get comfy with cooking-talk. 

Measure inexactly. Some of this, a little of that--learn what “a handful” means—those are in fact real measures in ancient, mostly unwritten, abuela avoirdupois systems and cocinas. I still hear Uncle Pete cooking down a piña for ice cream sauce. The fruit is right when the juice reaches the thickness of baby’s spit, he told me, pouring a viscous stream back into the boiling pot. Ya mero.


In his life roaming the halls of the world of work, the Gluten-free Chicano managed people who learned mistakes happen, so it goes. You’re not incompetent, you just need to assess yourself, have a plan, get stronger.

Competence grows from a next-time perspective. Like a writer reading her stuff aloud. Serve the dish and answer three questions with observable facts. 1: what did I like about the food? 2: What will I be sure to do again, or more of, next time? 3: What’s one element I’ll do differently, less or not, next time? That’s your menu plan for next time the dish comes up on your antoja roulette.

Every time you rattle those pots, make it the best you've done.


The Gluten-free Chicano is gluten-free for the reason of Celiac disease.  La enfermedad celíaca is as unkind a cut as ever struck a person who enjoys Asian food made with soy sauce.

Soy sauce, brewed with wheat, makes celiacs sick, so people like me avoid Chinese, Pinoy, Japanese, Korean, Thai food in restaurants. Few, if any, use Tamari in place of the intensely flavored soy sauce. 

Tamari is a soy sauce made without using wheat to kick-off fermentation. Flavors aren’t as intense as good brands like Kikko-Man, but only non-wheat Tamari is edible to el Gluten-free Chicano and other celiacs. Cooking Asian-inspired food at home makes good sense.

Dining Report, Lessons Learned.
1) I planned a dry rice, individual grains, a good balance of textures. That happened and I am satisfied to meet a standard.
2) I made just enough for the two of us and Barbara finished her entire serving. Not overwhelming her ever again. I don’t want leftovers unless I plan for leftovers, like rice, that’s the ongoing plan.
3) I’m going to get fresh ginger. I used plain wrap Tamari and will switch to San-J brand. I’ll take more detailed fotos, set up the remote and wash hands as needed to touch the equipment.

The following preparation worked quite effectively for numerous reasons, principally it is really good. Next time, my plan includes the three answers above. Making gluten-free fried rice is as easy is 1,2,3,4,5,6: Fry tofu. Fry rice. Add vegetables. Add meat. Add tofu. Eat.

50g. carbohydrates. link to carb counter.
Rice ½ cup left-over = 25g
Chicken meat = 0
Onion = 2g
Carrot = 1g
Tofu = 4g (cup)
Garlic = 1g
Bell pepper = 2g (1/2 a globe)
Tamari = 1g (tbs)
Pineapple juice = 8g (2 oz)
Sesame oil = 0
Celery = 2g (1/2 cup)

Tofu manufacturing has begun to package up two chubs in a shrink-wrapped tub. Each half is just right for two diners. I buy extra firm for frying and soup.

Drain the tofu well. Work on a cloth kitchen towel.
Slice the rectangle into four or five lengths.
Dry both sides on the towel.
Cube the slices. 
Dry each side on the towel. 
Prepare a slick frying surface with non-stick coating. 
Add ¼” of vegetable or peanut oil. Make it smoking hot.
Slide the tofu into the hot oil. Keep flame high and cook five minutes a side--turn the chunks when the surface has browned lightly.

Make chicken broth. Reserve the chicken. This meal used a drumstick and thigh.

Cut and tear the flesh off the chicken leg. 
Chop lightly.
Use a deep bowl or zip bag to mix or whip together this marinade:
Slice three rounds off an onion and chop. 2 garlic cloves, chopped. 4 or 5 slivers of bell pepper. A few shakes of powdered turmeric, ginger, paprika. 5 drops sesame oil. Big splashes (1TBS) tamari, pineapple juice, water. 
Marinate the chicken meat for at least an hour. Refrigerate, even for half an hour.

Use only yesterday’s rice that is dried and individual grained. ½ cup. The more rice you add, the larger a frying surface you need to keep the grains separate. Start with a big pan.

In hot vegetable oil medium flame:
  • Wilt some chopped onion and garlic.
  • Stir in the rice. Let it pop a little; some grains get toasty tan.
  • Add 1 sliced fresh carrot, 1 stalk celery, cubed bell pepper. Move these ingredients around in the pan over medium flame for a minute or until the carrots aren’t rock hard.
  • Add the chicken meat and marinade. If you made a cup of marinade, drain the meat before adding to the rice. Add a TBS of the marinade. You don’t want wet fried rice.
  • Raise the heat, stir, cook for a minute or until the liquid surrounding the rice and meat starts bubbling. It reduces to a carmelized tamari-flavored sauce.
  • Add the browned Tofu.
  • Stir around to mix fully the ingredients and get the tofu warm.
  • Serve.

Reading Your Stuff Aloud in Plague-time. New Anthology When the Virus Came Calling: COVID-19 Strikes America.

Last week, La Bloga-Tuesday featured a video reading of my personal essay, one of 120 contributions Thelma T. Reyna curated, from 44 contributors, for Golden Foothills Press, in the just-published When the Virus Came Calling: COVID-19 Strikes America (link).

My reading is my way to encourage readers to get the book, have it on hand when Zoom readings come available. It's a wondrous collection, a joy to be included among the authors.

La Bloga will have an interview with Thelma Reyna in an upcoming column.

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