Crispy Pineapple Chicken

by Jenn on October 8, 2012

in Dairy Free,Gluten Free,Meats

Pineapple Chicken

Our family is no stranger to food restrictions.  My husband’s father has several food allergies, so does his sister, his cousins have food allergies, and members of my family have food restrictions as well, even though they aren’t allergy derived.  We have family members who can’t eat sugar, some who can’t eat dairy, can’t have tomatoes, can’t eat gluten, can’t eat garlic, the list goes on.  When we all get together it is going to be one well organized Thanksgiving to keep everything straight and safe for everyone to fit their various food restrictions, and I have no doubt that it will all taste awesome.

Though now it seems I can add myself into the mix as well.  You see, I’ve gotten rather used to the idea of giving up dairy these past couple months.  It turns out baby girl is not a happy camper when I eat dairy, so since the beginning of the Summer I’ve said goodbye to cheese, butter, cream, milk, and yogurt.  It’s funny, Ryan and I always used to say to each other, “At least it’s just gluten and not dairy, that would be impossible!” And now here I am, dairy free – and you know what? It’s actually not been that huge of a deal. I find it almost a bit sad how little I have missed dairy actually – I mean after all I do live in the land of yogurt, croissants au beurre, double crème, fondue, and raclette. But I’ve surprisingly been anything but nostalgic and sentimental for giving up of my favorite food groups.

Maybe it’s because our family already has experience dealing with one food issue and we are accustomed to handling various dietary restrictions that adding in another doesn’t add that much extra stress – we already cook most everything from scratch and hardly ever eat out (thanks to the expensive prices here in Switzerland and a young baby, eating out is a very very rare event). We full well know that the simpler “free of” meals are often the most satisfying and easiest to make on a regular basis, so I haven’t really looked into using dairy substitutes yet. I’m just eating naturally dairy free dishes (though I may have to use some rice milk and break down and make pancakes sometime :) !).  Or maybe it’s that I know that this is surely a temporary thing (either until she outgrows it or me) and I can draw strength in knowing how resolved Ryan is about his avoidance of gluten, which is a lifetime commitment for him. Or maybe it’s not a big deal for me because I know it’s for baby girl, and I want to do everything I can to make her happy.  Whatever the reason, I’ve mainly viewed it as just an extra challenge on dinner, and as motivation to look for new things to make.

I’ve always said that eating naturally GF is the easiest way to go, and so I’ve mainly taken the same approach to me being dairy free.  Options may be a little more limited right now with needing to be cognizant of two food restrictions now during our dinner planning, but the key is to just view it as an opportunity to be a bit creative.  We’ve always looked to what we can eat rather than dwelling on what we can’t.

And then we found this recipe – the only thing needed to make it gluten free was using a GF soy sauce, and it was naturally dairy free.  Score! Chicken fried and glazed in a sweet and sour fruity sauce served over rice, I don’t think we have gotten tired of it yet and I’ve been making this around 2-3 times per month.  Since the first time I’ve made it I’ve added in a few more veggies, but that’s about it.  We still both love it.  In fact, I think I’ll make it again tomorrow :)

Pineapple Chicken


Crispy Pineapple Chicken

Adapted from Epicurious
Prep Time: 15 min to cut and dredge the chicken, 5-10 min to prep veggies and pineapple
Total Time: 1 hr


For the Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 4 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 cup pineapple juice
  • 4 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
  • 4 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp. GF soy sauce or GF tamari

For the Chicken:

  • 1 kg (2 lb) chicken breast or tenderloins, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 red chillies (adjust depending on the heat you like), chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 sweet red bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 pineapple, chopped
  • 1 scallion, sliced


  1. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water, and then add the rest of the sauce ingredients together into a small bowl, stirring to blend them.
  2. Coat each piece of chicken thoroughly in cornstarch.  In a large (I use a 13″) skillet, add enough oil to have about 1/4″ in the skillet, and heat the oil on medium high heat.  When hot enough to fry (I usually test it with a wooden spoon – if bubbles form around the spoon, it’s good to go), add in the chicken and fry a few minutes on each side until cooked through.  You likely will have to do this in batches (you don’t want to crowd the chicken when frying them), adding more oil to the pan as needed.  When chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the pan and set it on a plate lined with some paper towels to help soak up any excess oil.
  3. Once all the chicken are cooked, empty out the remaining oil and wash the skillet before returning it back to the stove again on medium high heat.  Add 2 tbsp. oil to the skillet, and add in the chillies, garlic and onion and sauté until soft.  Then pour in the sauce, and let come to a boil until the sauce is thick and becomes translucent.
  4. Then add in the bell peppers and pineapple and let cook, for a minute or so, tossing in the sauce as you do so, just enough really to heat the peppers and pineapple.  Remove from heat, and add in the chicken, mixing to get the sauce coating everything well.  Garnish with scallions, serve on top of rice if desired, and enjoy!


Also linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday


Simone October 8, 2012 at 11:54 pm

No diary… I know it would be different if it actually was the case but I would seriously miss it! But as you say it’s probably only temporary and I can understand it would be different too if it affects your child. And hey this dish looks absolutely awesome so what’s not to love right?

Jenn October 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Thanks Simone! Yep, as long as I can keep cooking tasty food, I really don’t mind :)

Susan M. October 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm

I am certainly no expert but I think I remember reading that goat’s milk is easy on babies digestion and that many Asians (who are almost all lactose intolerant) have been able to drink goat’s milk. Ask your baby doc, might me an alternative someday.

Hat’s off to you!!

Jenn October 9, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Thanks I will def. look into it!

Stacy October 9, 2012 at 5:46 pm

My sister-in-law has a dairy allergy, so I started trying to blog more recipes that she could eat. We found ourselves eating so much less dairy and (like you said) not missing it that much, to our surprise. Granted, yogurt was a major food group my first trimester of pregnancy, but I’m happy to be eating vegetables again and look forward to vegetarian-ifying this recipe soon!

Kammie @ Sensual Appeal October 9, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Wow beautiful photography!

I saw this post on Slightly Indulgent. I shared an apple protein donuts recipe, I’d love for you to check out as well :)

Jenn October 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Thanks so much!!

Ariane October 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Mmm… This is very similar to my MIL’s recipe (the only difference is she marinates the chicken in soy sauce, ginger, and garlic) and much easier to get than the begging I had to do :-) I’m glad you are handling the dairy restriction! I know it can be difficult in the states since a lot of the processed foods have hidden dairy, but since you guys eat “food” anyway, that shouldn’t be as difficult. I’ve been chafing with my cruciferous (sp?) vegetable restriction and really, really, really miss kale, broccoli, and cabbage. Now where did I put my grocery list, need to add pineapple…

Jenn October 9, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Thanks Ariane! Oh I can imagine giving up all those greens is difficult…

Ariane October 9, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Every 2-3 weeks, I try some, and every 2-3 weeks I deal with a fussy baby for a day or so. Like you with the dairy, the cost-benefit is just not there!

Jenn October 9, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Oh I totally understand….

Denise @ TLT October 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm

No real restrictions here, but I can see how difficult those would be (especially because you have to work with them 24h a day). I love how you create the most amazing, gorgeous dishes (even with those restrictions), I love it when people use things like this in such an inventive and creative way!

Jenn October 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm

hOh thank you so much!!

InTolerantChef October 11, 2012 at 9:52 am

Over here we can get lactose free milk and yoghurt, that might be something to look into? I still have problems if I eat too much of even the lactose free stuff though, so naturally dairy free is the best to go :)
Delicious sounding recipe, and fresh pineapples are just in season so I must give it go.

Jenn October 11, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Thanks so much! Hope you enjoy it :)

Katie Painter October 11, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Hi Jen, I just found your lovely blog! It’s beautiful and offers soooo many options! My husband also just decided to do a gluten-free trial to see if it helps with some digestive issues. So, I’m doing some meal planning, thanks for pointing us in the right direction!

Any suggestions for grab-and-go breakfasts? Lunch and dinner are pretty easy, but we tend to eat more breads and cereals at breakfast time, and I might not have time for gluten-free baking EVERY day…

Jenn October 11, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Oh thank you so much!

Our standard (well before I went dairy free) for breakfast is plain yogurt topped with honey, fruit, nuts and seeds. Sometimes I’d make a big batch of GF granola and we’d use that too. Now that I’m dairy free, my husband hasn’t changed his breakfast habits but I’ll quickly cook up a couple eggs and eat some fruit. If we know we’re going to be stuck somewhere we grab a few larabars to take with us…

Ariane October 12, 2012 at 12:20 am

You could also try oatmeal which can be made ahead of time and packaged for quick microwaving (Bob’s Red Mill has a GF one) which is one of my standard breakfasts. Add dried fruit, honey/sugar, and maybe some cinnamon if you like. I also keep hard boiled eggs on hand for snacking, though I have a weakness for putting Ranch dressing on them… Hope that gives you ideas too :-)

Katie Painter October 12, 2012 at 12:15 am

That’s a pretty good plan….he leaves the house at like 6 so there has to be literally NO prep time or he won’t eat breakfast at all.

BTW, I had a baby recently too, who luckily doesn’t seem to have any digestive issues, but we heard that sometimes yogurt can be ok for babies who are sensitive to other dairy, since it’s cultured. Heard goat’s milk (or goat yogurt) is great too. We had a niece with similar issues. Good luck with the little one!

Kitchen Butterfly October 12, 2012 at 5:38 pm

I love the colours and the flavours, especially as a serious pineapple lover. And I love the courage with which you’re managing the change in your diet!

Jenn October 16, 2012 at 12:04 am

Thank you!

Eftychia October 14, 2012 at 11:14 am

This is delicious! Simply delicious!

Jenn October 16, 2012 at 12:04 am

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!!

Kelsey October 19, 2012 at 9:11 pm

This sounds really delicious. I love the bright colors and anything pineapple immediately takes me back to our Hawaiian honeymoon.

Jenn October 21, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Thanks so much Kelsey!

Nichole April 16, 2013 at 3:44 am

That looks amazing!

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