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Cooking with Coconut Flour | Achieving Health

Cooking with Coconut Flour

Are you looking for a great-tasting gluten-free flour that’s high in protein, high in fiber and low in carbs? Try coconut flour.

Hypoallergenic coconut flour has a pleasant flavor that’s slightly nutty and mildly sweet without a strong “coconut” taste. Cup for cup, it provides more protein than wheat flour and ten times more fiber, most of it the healthy soluble type. It has fewer net (absorbable) carbohydrates than any other flour. Plus, it contains lauric acid, a fatty acid found in mother’s milk that possesses antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial properties.

Here’s what you should know about this flour’s baking properties: Its extraordinary high fiber content means that it absorbs considerably more liquid than other flours. Therefore, the more coconut flour you use in a recipe, the more liquid and eggs (for leavening and binding) you’ll need. While there are no exact formulas for substituting with coconut flour, these suggestions can serve as general guidelines.

•Use coconut flour to replace from 10 to 30 percent of the other flour (or flour blend) in recipes for muffins, loaf breads, dinner rolls, cookies, cakes, bars, and quick breads.

•For each portion of coconut flour used, add an equal amount of additional liquid in the form of water, coffee, milk, dairy-free milk or coconut milk. You can also try replacing a granulated sweetener (white or brown sugar) in the recipe with a liquid sweetener (honey, agave nectar or maple syrup). For example, I often replace 1 cup sugar with ¾ cup honey. I count this as part of the additional liquid needed when using coconut flour.

•In meatloaf and meatballs, replace crackers or breadcrumbs with half as much coconut flour. Then add an equal amount of water, milk, or dairy-free milk as coconut flour.
•If adding coconut flour to a conventional recipe, you may need to double the number of eggs to give the baked goods loft. If you’re using egg replacer, add twice the amount you would normally use in a recipe.

As you begin working with coconut flour and modifying your favorite recipes, make a note of what you add, subtract or change so that you know how to improve on results or repeat your success the next time around. Expect to do a bit of experimenting. In some cases, you may need to make a recipe a few times to achieve the desired results—but getting the boost in nutrients and fiber is worth it.

We’ve done the work for you in these recipes. They’re deliciously recreated with no gluten, dairy or sugar. They can be made egg free, too, with tasty results.

Coconut Chicken Tenders

SERVES 6

Most recipes for pan-fried or oven-fried chicken call for dipping chicken pieces in beaten egg and then in flour before frying. In this egg-free rendition, coconut flour and cornstarch batter stand in for the eggs and flaked coconut stands in for the flour.
Serve these crusty tenders with a green salad and pan-fried plantains, baked or roasted sweet potatoes, a creamy vegetable soup, or a fresh fruit salad.

1¼–1½ pounds chicken tenders, about 1-inch thick
1½ cups shredded, unsweetened, flaked coconut
⅓ cup sifted coconut flour ⅓ cup cornstarch
1 ½ teasoons salt
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme or dried, rubbed sage or poultry seasoning, crumbled
1 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons cool water
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened lite coconut milk
6 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil, ghee, palm shortening or olive oil or a combination of two of these.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange chicken pieces on a plate.
2. Spread coconut in a pie plate or cake pan and set aside.
3. Measure flour and cornstarch by spooning it into a measuring cup and leveling the top with a knife. Place flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, thyme or sage, and garlic powder in a bowl and whisk to combine. Mix in water and coconut milk with a fork to make a smooth pancake-like batter.
4. One at a time, dip each chicken tender in the batter and arrange on a tray. Use all the batter.
5. One at a time, turn chicken tenders in coconut to coat, pressing coconut on with your fingers. Place pieces on a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.
6. Heat 2 tablespoons fat or oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. When hot add ¨÷ of the chicken. Do not crowd the pan. Cook until lightly golden on each side, about 1 to 2 minutes maximum, and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Remove dark bits of browned batter from the pan before adding another 2 tablespoons oil. When hot, add and cook ½ of the remaining chicken. Repeat with remaining chicken and fat or oil. (Don’t let the pan get too hot. The chicken should turn golden on both sides, not black.)
7. Transfer the tray of lightly cooked chicken to preheated oven and bake about 10 to 15 minutes, until chicken is the same color inside and out and registers an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
8. Serve warm. Cover and refrigerate leftovers and use within 3 days. Reheat briefly in a toaster oven at 300 degrees.

Each serving contains 360 calories, 26g total fat, 22g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 54mg cholesterol, 651mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 23g protein.


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