Ah the glorious flavour profile that is hoisin-sauce.  Affectionately known as Chinese BBQ sauce, it has components of sweet, salty, and savoury all in one!  When you add a little rice vinegar, you get the perfect addition of acid to the mix!  Its a staple in my pantry – perfect for a quick and easy dinner, whether I use it for marinading chicken or tofu, or brush it on flank-steak for a hassle-free weeknight dinner.

Sadly, hoisin sauce has one failing — it got wheat starch (and therefore gluten) in it 🙁   So what's a gal to do!  I've cobbled together this substitute out of staples I usually have on hand in my pantry.  Your pantry staples might look a little different, BUT if you crave the flavours of hoisin, it might be worth adding tamarind paste and miso to your pantry items for an easy to rustle-up dinner.  (Miso also makes a really easy soup option, works well brushed on fish, and tamarind is a great addition to curries)

Gluten-free "hoisin" chicken

(Janice Mansfield, 2011)

First prepare some tamarind paste – take a small block of tamarind, cover with boiling water to soften, strain out the pods and seeds. What you are left with with be a soft paste.. Extras will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks

This is an easy preparation — I mix everything in the baking dish it will be cooked in (because I hate washing more dishes than I have to!), BUT if you like a more refined looking sauce, you can mix in the food processor and pour over the chicken.  This sauce is also versatile enough to brush on fish, or to use as a marinade for pressed tofu 

Makes enough for 2-3 lbs bone-in chicken pieces, in a 9×13 pan.

  • 3T white or red miso (note: yellow miso contains barley)

  • 3T tamarind paste

  • 3-4 T gluten-free soy sauce (I use wheat-free tamari, or Bragg's)

  • 1 tsp pomegranate molasses

  • 3T honey (up to 4T depending on taste)

  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger

  • 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)

– For added flavour and a more refined sauce, you can thin with 1/4 cup sake (pick a Junmai, rather than Ginjo for best results).

– if you like your sauce tart, you can also add juice of 1 lime.

Mix all ingredients together in a baking dish, place the chicken legs in the dish, coating with the sauce. Let stand at least 60 minutes, or cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover the baking dish with foil, bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15-20 minutes. For crispy skin, broil for 3-4 minutes at the end.

Gluten-free biscuits
Vanilla-Coconut Ice Cream
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Janice Mansfield is a personal chef who specializes in creating customized catering and baking for people with food sensitivities. A recipe developer and baker by day, by night, she enjoys delving into the history of classic cocktails and created a line of cocktail bitters for no other reason than she wanted chocolate bitters in her Manhattans! In her spare time, she documents the antics and unbearable cuteness her two Shiba Inus over at Life in the Shiba Shack.

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