If you’ve done Slimming World before then you are probably no stranger to Diet Cola Chicken. But for a gestational diabetes diet, it can be quite a high carb meal, so it needs a bit of tweaking.
If you’ve not tried Diet Cola Chicken before, you may feel it’s a bit of an odd thing to try. The sound of cola on the chicken isn’t exactly appealing but with a blend of other ingredients the cola caramelises slightly and turns into a sweet sticky Chinese barbeque-type sauce which is delicious.
Cola-wise, don’t feel that you have to purchase branded cola. Any diet or zero colas is fine, including stores own-brand versions. You can also switch up this recipe by using other flavoured diet or zero fizzy drinks, just be mindful of the carb content as some diet and zero drinks still contain carbs (orange-flavoured ones, in particular, seem to contain more carbs than colas). If you were thinking of trying to use an orange-based drink to make more of a sweet and sour recipe, check out my amazing Sweet and Sour recipe instead!
Feel free to switch the chicken for protein of your choice in this recipe. Turkey, pork, tofu and Quorn all work very well in this recipe.
To make this dish more suitable for the GD diet which helps to maintain lower and more stabilised blood glucose levels, as opposed to a low-fat diet, I have added natural fats by cooking in groundnut oil, adding sesame seed oil, sesame seeds and peanuts. The seeds and peanuts also help alongside the chicken to provide a much higher-protein meal.
Be careful to choose a starchy carb that you tolerate well, such as 3 heaped tbsp of basmati, brown or wild rice (egg fried rice works well with this dish), a small jacket or sweet baked potato, 3 egg-sized new potatoes, 3 heaped tbsp of noodles. Or you can opt for a much lower carb version by using cauliflower rice, courgetti, or butternut squash noodles.
The recipe itself is my personal version of Diet Cola Chicken that my family enjoys and it may be slightly lower carb than other versions you may have tried in the past. Give it a go and let me know what you think of my version in the comments below and/or by tagging me on Instagram @Gestational_Diabetes_UK #JosGDRecipes
Diet Cola Chicken
- 4 large chicken breasts diced
- 1 tbsp groundnut oil (or olive oil)
- ½ tsp Chinese 5 spice
- 2 cm fresh ginger grated
- 3 whole cloves of garlic crushed
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 1 whole red pepper chopped
- 1 whole green pepper chopped
- 1 whole yellow pepper chopped
- 100 grams baby corn halved lengthways
- 100 grams mangetout
- 6 whole spring onions sliced
- 100 grams peanuts
- 1 whole red chilli (optional) sliced
- 1 tsp sesame seed oil
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
For the sauce
- 200 ml hot chicken stock (made with 1 gel chicken stock pot & boiling water)
- 330 ml diet cola (stores own brand or branded diet or zero cola)
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
- 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
- ¼ tsp white pepper (optional)
- Prepare the vegetables. Deseed and chop the peppers into bitesize pieces. Slice the onion, red chilli and spring onions. Peel and crush the cloves of garlic, peel and grate the ginger and set aside individually (do not mix them together as they need to be cooked at different times)
- Make the chicken stock in a jug, pour in the cola, add the tomato purée, soy sauces, Worcester sauce, vinegar and stir well and set aside
- Add the groundnut oil to a pan on medium heat
- Add the chicken to the pan, allowing it to cook on one side, then flip. Sprinkle over the Chinese 5 Spice and continue to cook on medium heat until the chicken starts to brown
- Add the grated ginger to the pan with chicken to cook for a minute, then add the crushed garlic. Stir the chicken through the pan with the garlic, ginger and Chinese 5 spice until it is fragrant, then pour in the cola mixture and stir
- Turn up the heat to bring the liquid to a boil, add the onions and dried mixed herbs and stir
- Continue to heat on high, uncovered for a few minutes until the onions start to soften, then add the baby corn and peppers. Cover and simmer on high heat for 5-8 minutes, until the corn and peppers start to soften slightly
- Remove the lid, add the spring onions, peanuts, mangetout and red chilli (if using) and continue to simmer on high until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste using the white pepper (and salt if needed)
- Once the sauce has thickened to your liking (there should be some sauce the consistency of thick gravy) and the vegetables are cooked (they should be al dente), drizzle in the sesame seed oil for added flavourNOTE: if you are worried the sauce is not thickening, increase the heat so that it is on a high simmer, almost boiling and then it will reduce and thicken – you have to be patient with it, but it will happen! If you feel you have reduced the sauce too much and it has thickened to the point of almost disappearing, add some boiling water and stir until you create a sauce again
- Garnish with some sesame seeds, slices of spring onion and red chilli