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* * UPDATED on 26 Oct 2022 * *
This gluten-free crumbed chicken dish has many layers of flavours from the Cajun seasoning to the crushed tortilla chips that act as a tasty and clever coating for the tender chicken fillets. I was tempted to call this a “Cajun-Mexican Schnitzel” as the basic breading preparation is quite similar and even looks like a schnitzel, but the flavours are more exciting with the Cajun seasoning and smoky corn tortillas added in.
The Cajun Crumbed Chicken recipe has been adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks Simply Healthy by the late Australian heart surgeon, Dr Victor Chang who came up with some very innovative recipes for its time back in the 80s.
Despite gluten-free awareness being less known back then, many of his recipes pass as gluten-free.
You can find a few samples of his recipes online at https://www.victorchang.edu.au/recipes plus more information about this Australian national hero and his amazing cardiac work.
I have adapted the recipe slightly by using store-bought gluten-free tortilla chips instead of fresh corn tortillas, but if you are up for a bit of extra cooking, then head to my recipe for homemade gluten-free corn tortillas where I explain how to make them from scratch. An additional step is frying the corn tortillas in oil to get that crunchy and fried texture. Allow to cool before crushing them.
- If you prefer to oven bake the chicken, spray or brush the baking tray with some olive oil. Cook the chicken in a 180°C/350°F oven for 15-20 minutes, turning over halfway through.
- Swap the chicken for pork or veal fillets
- Use fresh herbs in the Cajun seasoning rather than dry. However, use this batch straight away for the recipe rather than as a stored jar as fresh herbs will spoil at room temperature over time.
- Can’t find store-bought corn tortilla chips that are gluten-free? As mentioned earlier, you could always make them homemade by following my recipe for the gluten-free corn tortillas where I explain how to make them from scratch.
- Want to leave out the corn tortilla chips altogether? For alternative crumbing options, head to my blog with plenty of gluten-free crumbing ideas.
What to serve with Cajun Crusted Chicken?
- Roasted Pumpkin Wedges (see recipe card below)
- Avocado Salsa (see recipe card below)
- Fresh garden salad
- Mashed potatoes
- Potato salad
- White or brown steamed rice
- As a sandwich use either gluten-free Kaiser rolls or baguette
Make ahead & Storage:
- The Cajun-crusted chicken fillets can be crumbed and chilled one day before frying or oven-baking.
- They also freeze well crumbed and uncooked. Allow to defrost thoroughly in the refrigerator before cooking.
- Any leftover cooked chicken fillets can be reheated over the next two days by either reheating in an air fryer or oven. Cover the chicken with foil if using the oven method.
HOMEMADE CAJUN SEASONING
Making this Louisiana-originated seasoning is doable using spices and herbs readily available in most kitchens, mainly smoked paprika, cayenne and garlic powder. Used extensively in Cajun cookery, this smoky & spicy blend adds a lift and a slight kick to many dishes from grilled meats to pan-fried fish, prawns or vegetables. It’s a great stand-by seasoning to have handy for those last-minute meals or even to spice up eggs at breakfast, salad dressings, dips, rice dishes and soups.
Cajun Crumbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa
Either serve the Cajun Crumbed Chicken whole with the avocado salsa on top or sliced attractively.
Roasted Pumpkin Wedges
This is an incredibly easy vegetable side dish to make, plus eating the skin is not only delicious but super good for you. In fact, it is the most nutritious part of the pumpkin! Overall, pumpkin is full of fibre, beta-carotene, Vitamins A & C and low in calories.
If you have made my Roasted Pumpkin Soup, you’ll know what a game-changer it is to roast the pumpkin first. In my opinion, the flavours improve tenfold when your roast pumpkin.
- The pumpkin wedges are ready to remove from the oven when the skin is nicely roasted and caramelised with gooey & tender pumpkin flesh attached. Try not to over-cook the pumpkin or the flesh will not be intact and may fall off the skin. It’s still edible but just doesn’t look pretty.
- Toasting the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan should take no longer than 5 minutes. Make sure to stir often over medium heat and take the pan off the heat when you hear them crackling and their roasting aroma is released. Allow to cool the seeds on a separate plate as soon as they are taken off the heat.
Cajun Crumbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa & Roasted Pumpkin Wedges
CAJUN CRUMBED CHICKEN
- 200 g store-bought gluten-free corn tortilla chips or homemade corn tortillas
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 2 tbsp cornflour Known as cornflour in the UK and corn or maize starch in the USA
- 3 tbsp store-bought or homemade Cajun seasoning
- 3 egg whites, beaten
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsp runny honey
- 4 skinless chicken breast fillets
- 50-100 g butter (allow for more if you are using a large pan)
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lime, quartered, for serving
- Optional hot pepper sauce, as a condiment (Tabasco, Texas-Pete or my homemade hot sauce (Texas-Pete style)
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 avocado, in small chunks
- ½ lime - juice only
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander, finely shredded
- Salt & pepper, to taste
ROASTED PUMPKIN WEDGES
- ½ butternut pumpkin, cut into wedges, seeds removed
- olive oil, to drizzle
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, pumpkin seed oil or walnut oil, to dress just before serving
HOMEMADE CAJUN SEASONING for this recipe
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried mustard
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp white pepper
- ½ tbsp onion powder
CAJUN CRUMBED CHICKEN with AVOCADO SALSA
- Crush the tortilla chips together with the sweet paprika in a food processor using the pulse button to make a coarse crumb. Alternatively, crush them in a plastic bag using a rolling pin. Set aside in a wide container/bowl for crumbing later.
- Mix the cornflour and Cajun seasoning together in another wide container/bowl. Set aside.
- In the third and last wide container/bowl, whisk the egg whites lightly and mix in the lime juice and honey. Set aside.
- Now that you have three “crumbing” containers ready, prepare the chicken breast by pounding them down until 1 cm thick using a meat mallet or rolling pin.
- Start crumbing the chicken by placing each fillet one by one in the cornflour mixture, shaking off any excess.
- Next, dip the fillet into the egg mixture, allowing any excess to drip off.
- Lay the chicken flat on the tortilla crumb and press down firmly, flipping over to do the same on the other side. Sprinkle the crumb around the edges or on any bald spots. Remove and set aside on a dinner plate while continuing with the remaining fillets.
- Cover and chill for 20 mins. This will help firm up the crust and keep it on the chicken during cooking.
- Use this time to make the avocado salsa by mixing all the salsa ingredients together and setting it aside at room temperature while frying the chicken.
- Heat a heavy-bottom pan to medium and gently melt the butter. Add the olive oil. This prevents the butter from burning should the pan become too hot.
- Add the chicken. Cook each side for 5-6 minutes.
- Allow to cool down for 5 minutes before slicing the fillet in 1 cm thick slivers.
ROASTED PUMPKIN WEDGES
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
- Wash the pumpkin shell well before cutting half the pumpkin into 1.5 cm thick wedges. Remove any seeds if present.
- Dry the pumpkin wedges with some kitchen paper towels and place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle the pumpkin with some olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides.
- Roast the pumpkin for 30 minutes, turning it over halfway through.
- When ready to serve, arrange the roasted pumpkin wedges on a serving plate and drizzle them with either olive, pumpkin or walnut oil and sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds on top.
HOMEMADE CAJUN SEASONING
- Measure all the herb and spice ingredients.
- Using a whisk, mix all the seasonings together until thoroughly combined.
- Use the cajun seasoning for the Cajun Crumbed Chicken recipe or store in a sealed glass jar for further use.
- Keeps for 2 days chilled
- Both the chicken & pumpkin can be reheated in the oven
- Both the chicken & pumpkin are suitable to freeze uncooked
- Homemade Cajun seasoning keeps for 6 months stored in a sealed glass jar