Spicy Orange Drums of Heaven (Gluten-Free Option*)


For years, I have remembered the chicken wings I had as a child at the Kon Tiki Ports restaurant in Chicago. I searched all over the internet for a recipe that looked and sounded right, but each one had so many ingredients, and it didn’t seem like all of those flavors put together would add up to the taste of the tiny drumsticks I remembered (and I’ve remembered them since I was three.) I had all but given up when I finally came across a typewritten copy of a menu from the Kon Tiki. For me, suddenly the expression, “pay dirt,” made sense, not that I will ever get rich from chicken wings.


What amazed me was the simplicity of the recipe. Of course, my challenge was to make it healthier. I used a gluten-free baking mix and almond milk to make the batter, and sauteed the wings in a blend of coconut and sesame oil. The original recipe stated that the wings were coated in sweet and sour sauce. I searched every brand and found they all had gnarly stuff inside, so I figured I could make my own. That’s when I bumped into a jar of Kroger Private Selection Spicy Orange Simmer Sauce. Now it is rare that I opt to use anything from a jar, but when I read the ingredients, I was impressed. Made with sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup and tamari instead of regular soy sauce, I decided to try it. The only thing truly scary on the label was the amount of sodium, but most Asian sauces have a high sodium count.

The best thing about these wings besides how easy they are to prepare is that you don’t have to smother them in sauce. Brush on a little, or flat them in a bowl until covered like buffalo wings. It’s up to you. For a dryer glaze wings, you can place them under the broiler for a few minutes after coating them with sauce, but they are crispy right out of the skillet.  If you prefer, you could even skip the orange sauce and simply dip them in soy sauce before each bite.

Everyone was so impressed with these at dinnertime that I know I’ll be making them again soon. They’d definitely make a great addition to a Super Bowl party table.




(Makes about 15 small wings)

1 package party wings (smaller than regular wings)

2 eggs

1/2 cup almond/coconut milk

1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Mix

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 cup coconut oil

2 tbsp. sesame oil

sesame seeds (to sprinkle over wings – to taste)

green onions, sliced thin (for garnish – to taste)

1/2 cup Kroger Private Selection Spicy Orange Simmer Sauce



1. In a wide bowl, mix the beaten eggs, almond/coconut milk and gluten-free baking mix until smooth. This will make a batter that is thinner than pancake batter.

2. Place a large skillet on the stove over medium heat. Melt the coconut oil and add the sesame oil. Stir together and watch to make sure the oil does not over heat.

3. Dip the wings into the batter until thoroughly covered and then place them in the skillet. Do not crowd the skillet.

4. Let the wings brown on one side (3-4 minutes) and then turn over. Sprinkle ginger and garlic over each wing.

5. When both sides are golden brown, remove from the skillet and drain on paper towel.

6. After all wings have been sauteed, place the spicy orange sauce in a wide bowl. Dip the wings in the sauce until covered and then place on the serving plate. If you prefer less sauce, brush the sauce over the wings with a pastry brush.

7. Sprinkle sesame seeds and green onion slices over the wings. Serve while hot.


*Note: While the wings themselves are gluten-free, the Kroger sauce has no gluten in the ingredients but may be processed on equipment that also handles gluten. The vinegar in the sauce may also contain gluten. If you  cannot tolerate gluten, please make sure that you use a gluten-free sauce to coat the wings.

Here is a recipe for creating your own gluten free spicy orange sauce:


1 cup water

juice and zest of 2 oranges

2 tbsp tamari gluten-free soy sauce

2 tbsp. tomato paste

1 tbsp freshly grated ginger

2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

1 tsp hot red pepper flakes

1 tbsp gluten-free rice vinegar

1/4 sweet onion, diced

1/4 red bell pepper, diced

2 tsp sesame oil

1/2 cup high quality honey or 1 cone piloncillo melted in 1/2 cup water

2 tsp GMO-free corn starch


1. In a sauce pan, slowly simmer all ingredients over medium low heat until it begins to bubble. Turn the flame to low and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Dissolve the corn starch in a small amount of water. Pour the dissolved corn starch into the simmering sauce and whisk or stir quickly to combine. Let the sauce simmer for a minute or two more to thicken.

3. Remove the sauce pan from the heat source and let sit for 5 minutes.


**Note: For people with type 2 diabetes, you may want to quickly brown the battered wings in the coconut/sesame oil mixture and then bake in the oven until done (20 minutes or so at 350°) in order to reduce the absorption of fat, since the chicken skin contains fat as well. Also, using piloncillo offers a less processed sweetener that does have some nutritional value and is used in Ayurvedic medicine because of its healing properties. You can reduce the amount used in your sauce by using less than a whole cone. Do not increase the amount of gluten-free flour in the recipe even if the batter seems thin. Adding more flour means adding more processed carbohydrates. As always, when eating for diabetes or other medical conditions, please follow the recommendations of your medical professional or registered nutritionist.


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