Taking a favorite dish and tweaking it for my family's dietary needs.
The original of this dish comes from the Bonefish Grill restaurant chain. The copycat recipe I've worked with for some years now is ridiculously easy to prepare and slap-yo-mama good. But it's pretty high in carbs between the Sweet Chili Sauce in the dressing and the cornstarch coating on the shrimp (about 43 g carb v. 9g in my recipe, per calculations from SparkRecipes.com). So I'm setting out to make it much more diabetic-friendly and making a variation to serve those who have food sensitivities to shrimp.
As much as I care about my family and want to cook as healthfully as possible for them, I must confess that what really kicked me into gear about revamping this recipe was how hard it is to find the blasted Sweet Chili Sauce. I really didn't want to have to make a special trip to an international grocery store 15 miles away for this one ingredient. Boy was I glad to find out that you can make it at home, and moreover that you can make it sugar-free. Thank you interwebs and shesimmers.com (original recipe)!
I didn't search exhaustively for almond flour to use as a low-carb cornstarch substitute, but I know it's out there. I used whole raw almonds ground finely in the food processor. The result was a more textural crunch-coat on the shrimp and chicken than what you'll get if you use a superfine starch like cornstarch or commercially milled almond flour. It was still good, but be aware of the difference in the final dish.
Lastly, the best way to avoid cross-contamination for folks with food sensitivities is to not prepare the problem food in the first place. BUT since shrimp was on our menu, I did all the chicken-handling before even touching the shrimp (well, actually my husband did all the protein-wrangling this time). So the chicken got cut, dredged and fried before doing the same with the shrimp. They were plated on separate serving platters and handled with separate cooking and serving utensils.
Sorry the "final plate" picture is of leftovers, but you're lucky there's a picture at all since what you see is all that was left!
Low-carb Bang Bang Shrimp 'n' Chicken
Makes 8 servings
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breast or chicken tenders, cut into 1" cubes
2 lbs. shrimp, peeled
1 1/2 cups almond flour (or 1/2 lb. raw almonds, ground finely in a food processor)
3/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce (low-carb recipe follows)
3/4 cup mayo
3/4 cup sour cream
a few dashes of hot sauce (or more to taste)
Oil for frying
Toss chicken and shrimp with almond flour. Heat oil to 375F. Shake excess flour from meat. Fry 3 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through for shrimp, or 5 minutes for chicken. Fry in batches as necessary.
Mix chili sauce, mayo, sour cream and hot sauce together. Toss fried shrimp and chicken with the sauce (or pass the sauce on the side).
Homemade Low-Sugar Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
Makes 1 cup
2-3 red serrano chiles, seeded and stemmed
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup splenda
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water
Chop garlic and peppers in a food processor until finely minced. Add remaining ingredients except cornstarch-water mixture and process a minute more. Transfer to a small saucepan.
Cook 3-5 minutes over medium heat, then stir in cornstarch slurry. Simmer 1-2 minutes longer. Allow mixture to cool, then transfer to a container to store in the fridge.