Citrus Chicken Royale

While Mary Schaefer was working as a pastry chef at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu, this Citrus Chicken Royale was the most popular dish at the Surf Room. Allergic Living thought it would be a great idea to get the Chef Schaefers to reinvent this flavorful dish – so you can make it at home.

The Citrus Chicken Royale is free of the Top 9 allergens and gluten-free (the latter includes Chef Joel’s GF Breading Mix). Note that you will want to marinate the chicken for at least 8 hours for best results for this dish.

Also, Joel and Mary Schaefer now have a wonderful cookbook available, with many more great allergy-friendly, gluten-free recipes, several of them plant-based. It’s called At Home with Your Allergy Chefs. Find it here.
Photo: Andrew Grinton

Serves: 4
Free of: gluten and all top allergens

Ingredients for Citrus Chicken

Chicken Marinade

  • 1 1/2 lbs skinless and boneless chicken breasts or thigh meat
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Chef Joel’s Breading Mix

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour

Breading Procedure

  • 1-2 cups hemp milk, plain
  • Salt and pepper

Citrus Sauce

  • 1 tbsp grape seed oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 tsp serrano pepper, seeds removed and minced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup allergy-friendly chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp cold water


Recipe Tips

Chicken can also be deep-fried, which would skip the baking in Step 9.

If gluten is not an issue, the chef's Bread Mix can be made with wheat flour: Whisk together 2 1/2 cups cornmeal, 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup of amaranth flour. The cooking time for chicken strips is shorter: 1 minute per side.

Instructions for Citrus Chicken

  1. For Marinade: Trim chicken to remove fat and cover pieces in plastic wrap or place in 1-gallon Ziploc plastic bag.
  2. Using a meat tenderizer or bottom of a small saute pan, pound the chicken until pieces are 1/4-inch thick. If using breast meat, cut pieces into 2-inch thick strips. If using thigh meat, cut them in half.
  3. Combine chicken, lemon juice, ginger, salt and white pepper in a stainless steel bowl (or reuse 1-gallon plastic bag). Cover and refrigerate overnight or 8 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  5. For Chef Joel’s Breading Mix: Combine cornmeal, tapioca flour, potato starch, amaranth flour, and sorghum flour in a mixing bowl and whisk together. (Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months. Not living gluten-free? See the wheat flour version of the mix in the Recipe Tips.)
  6. Breading Procedure: Drain any liquid from chicken. Arrange 3 shallow pans or bowls on the counter. Place half of breading mix in first pan and season mixture with salt and pepper. Place 2 cup of hemp milk in second pan and other half of breading mix in third pan. (Do not add salt in third pan as it breaks down frying oil.)
  7. Dip chicken in first pan to coat evenly. Shake off excess breading, then dip in hemp milk pan and coat completely. Shake off excess liquid. Dip in third pan, pressing gently to ensure chicken is coated completely. Gently shake off excess breading, and place on a pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat with rest of chicken, straining hemp milk and using a fork to break up breading lumps as necessary.
  8. Warm a sauté pan, coated with 1/4 to 1/2 inch canola or grape seed oil, over medium heat. To test oil’s temperature, sprinkle a little gluten-free flour. If flour sizzles and doesn’t turn brown, it’s ready. If it turns brown, remove pan and allow oil to cool a few minutes. Gently lay each chicken piece into hot oil, which should only come half way up the sides of the chicken. Cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Set chicken pieces on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  9. When all chicken is cooked, place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 10 minutes.
  10. For Citrus Sauce: Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat oil over medium-low heat.
  11. Saute the garlic, ginger, and serrano pepper for 30 seconds, being careful not to burn garlic. Add lime juice, lemon juice, stock and sugar. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 2 minutes.
  12. Dissolve cornstarch in water, and then whisk mixture into the sauce. Simmer 2 minutes to thicken sauce, strain and keep warm.
  13. Serve baked chicken over steamed white or brown rice. Ladle citrus sauce over top.

are the husband-and-wife culinary team behind Chef Joel is the former Special Dietary Manager at Walt Disney World who developed the food allergy program used across the Disney properties and cruise line.