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Allergy friendly spiced chicken

Written By Reena on 4 May 2012 | 05:00

For the last year I have been suffering with various health issues and, ironically for a food blogger, I have now been diagnosed with fairly wide-ranging food allergies.  Without turning this into a pity party (although there have been tears along the way) it turns out that I may be allergic to a total of 27 items including garlic, wheat, corn and sugar.   What’s particularly frustrating is that I am actually allergic to one of the components used in testing allergies and so the results aren't at all conclusive – I may, in fact, not be allergic to many of the foods that have been flagged by the tests.   The result of all of this is that I have to cut these items out of my diet and in a month or so I can start reintroducing them one at a time to see if they bring on any symptoms.  In this way I should be able to isolate the main culprits and then work out a plan going forward.

On the positive side my health is significantly better as a result of my new diet (hurray!).   The downside is that I miss being able to eat freely and I am now persona non grata where dinner invitations are concerned (although last weekend some friends managed to navigate the minefield and produced a wonderful meal for me).    Giving up sugar has been particularly problematic as I’m addicted to the stuff – a by-product of growing up in a sweet shop and obtaining all nutrition until the age of ten from chocolate mice and Wham bars!   Avoiding garlic is also tricky as it turns up in pretty much everything (including almost all of my recipes).

And so, in solidarity with those of you with allergy issues and to keep myself well-fed, I intend to start posting recipes that fit in with my new diet but don't compromise on taste.  This is the first of these recipes and I hope you enjoy it.   Steve (previously supportive husband who has drawn the line at following my new diet) declared it delicious as he wolfed it down in a tasty-looking wheat roll and dipped it into my favourite garlic sauce.  Humpf!

List of potential allergens
wheat oats sugar yeast
garlic peanut hazelnut brazil nut
almond coconut sesame seeds orange
apple banana peach kiwi
mango pineapple parsley broccoli
brussel sprouts cabbage pea haricot beans
corn buckwheat celery

Serves 2
Preparation: 20 minutes plus minimum of 2 hours marinading time
Cooking time: 10 minutes

  • 1 star anise
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 2 cloves
  • 3cm long cinnamon stick
  • 0.5 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 100 millilitres yogurt
  • 2 skinless chicken breast fillets
  1. Heat a completely clean and dry pan for several minutes until it is so hot that a drop of water evaporates immediately. 
  2. Now add the the star anise and toss until it starts releasing its aroma.  Be careful not to dry roast it for too long as it will burn.
  3. Remove the star anise from the heat and crush finely using a pestle and mortar.
  4. Repeat steps 1 - 3 with the dried red chilli, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick and cumin seeds.
  5. Put the freshly ground star anise, dried red chilli, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick and cumin seeds into a bowl along with the salt and yoghurt.  Stir well.
  6. Wash the chicken breasts and cut into one inch pieces. Add the chicken to the yogurt mixture and ensure each piece of chicken is thoroughly coated with the mixture.
  7. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and put in the fridge to marinade for at least two hours.
  8. When you are ready to cook the chicken put the pieces on a baking tray and grill on a medium-high heat for approximately 7 minutes or until cooked.  Turn the chicken regularly and try not to overcook it as with care it will be tender and moist. 
  9. Serve immediately with salad and rice.

About Reena


  1. That's a girl to bravely face this new challenge head on! This chicken sounds wonderful for everyone who enjoys food with FLAVOR! Looking forward to your new and creative concoctions. Take care Reena!

  2. Oh no! Have a pity party - feel free - if I couldn't eat garlic anymore...aww, I feel for you!

  3. Poor you, I hope it turns out that you aren't allergic to all of those things! Your chicken does sound delicious!

  4. Hi Robin, Dreamalittle and Jayne. Thank you all for the supportive messages - much appreciated. Reena

  5. Welcome in the world of food intolerances/allergies! Known stuff in our family! We have gluten intolerance, my body cannot stand pork meat and one of us has diabetes 1 (sugar intake must be severely limited). We know from experience how difficult it is to find allergen friendly recipes but online you get a ton of resources (although not all ae good/reliable). So much better than a few years ago. If you like, I can give you a list of some allergy friendly websites. Good luck!

  6. Hi Anonymous. Thank you for the warm welcome! Yes a list of allergy friendly websites would be much appreciated. All the best. Reena

  7. Hi, Reena! The most common allergens (and the most difficult to substitute) are wheat (gluten), corn, yeast and sugar. And nuts! I have no expertise at all over nut allergies, used a lot for people with gluten and sugar (carbs) intolerances, so I cannot help you with it.But as you said it's unlikely you are allergic to all those things, so the list will definitely be shorter. Have a look at: the spunky coconut, healthful pursuit, elana's pantry, green kitchen stories, oh she glows, the balanced platter. They do not have recipes free from all the things you mentioned, but I suggest you have a look at the comments, because there are usually a lot of questions from people allergic to one ingredients in the recipe and the authors offer substitutions tips. You can have also a look at websites about paleo diet, which does not contain a lot of foods from your list. All the best!

  8. Thanks Anonymous - that's all really useful. If only I knew who you are...!!! Thanks again. Reena

  9. its sound great like your this chicken recipes...