Gluten-free Cooking

Gluten is a protein found in many grains that can cause allergies in some people. Among the grains that contain gluten are wheat, barley, oats and rye.

These grains are known to affect people with digestive problems, such as children with autism and people with Celiac Disease. Eating gluten leads to high levels of protein by-products called gluteomorphines which may affect behaviour and cause weakness, bone pain, chronic diarrhea, abdominal bloating, and progressive weight loss.

Removing gluten from the diet reduces gluteomorphines and helps improve general health conditions as well as behaviour in autistic children. The problem is that many commercially prepared foods contain varying amounts of gluten, whether in the sauces, meat products, canned food, condiments or flavourings.

If your doctor has recommended a gluten-free diet, the best way to do it to rely on home-cooked foods so that you are in control of what you eat.

“Many people feel challenged when they hear they need to cook gluten-free,” says Cheah Hooi Bee, a chef at at19culinary studio. “But it really isn’t as hard as it sounds. All it takes is a little replacement here and there. In Asia, we have many rice and root based products which can be used to replace wheat flour, which makes it easier.”

Her advice is to use alternatives like beans, lentils, meats, seafood, vegetables, tubers, nuts, seeds and fruits. The trick is to try out simple recipes, replacing wheat components with vegetables or other ingredients.

The real challenge is in baking, because gluten is what gives bread the nice, fluffy taste we all love. Fortunately, there are now gluten-free bread/ pasta flours on sale which are available at specialty stores or via the internet.

CHEF HOOI BEE’S GLUTEN-FREE RECIPES

Golden wedges with fruity sauce

Sweet potato- cut into chips       1 medium

Chicken powder                               1 tsp

McCormick Black Pepper              ½ tsp

McCormick Garlic Powder            dash

Sesame seeds- toasted                 3 tbsp

Cornflour                                             2 tbsp

Oil for frying

Sauce:

Tomato puree                                   ½ can

Tinned pineapple- pureed           ½ can

Pineapple syrup                                               50 ml

Chicken powder                               ½ tsp

Instructions

1)      Microwave or boil the sweet potato chips until about half-cooked. Drain and dry.

2)      Season the chips with chicken powder and pepper.

3)      Heat the oil in a wok or deep pan. Lightly dust the chips with cornflour and then put to fry once oil is hot. Adjust the heat.

4)      When chips turn golden brown, remove and drain. Roll or toss in the sesame seeds.

5)      For the sauce, combine the pureed tomato, pineapple syrup and tomato puree in a pot. Bring to a gentle boil and season with ½ tsp of chicken powder.

Chicken rounds

Minced chicken                                                300 gms

Onion-diced                                       1

Carrot-diced                                       ½

Spinach                                                                100 gms

Soy sauce                                            1 tbsp

McCormick black pepper              ½ tsp

McCormick Garlic Powder            dash

Egg                                                         1

Cornflour                                             1 tbsp

Instructions:

1)      Boil the onion, spinach and carrot until soft. Mash and add to the minced chicken.

2)      Add in soy sauce, pepper, cornflour and egg. Mix well until combined.

3)      Using a wet hand, shape the mixture into patties about 4 cm in diameter and about 1 cm thick.

4)      Heat up 3 tbsp of oil in a large pan or skillet and pan fry the patties over a medium heat. When patties are browned, remove and drain the excess oil.

Rolls on The Go

Eggs                                                                       2-3

Baked beans- pureed                                    1 small tin

Chicken ham                                                      3 pcs

Spinach- blanched                                           100 gms

Cucumber strips                                               4

McCormick Black Pepper                              dash

McCormick Italian seasoning                       dash

McCormick Garlic Powder                            dash

Salt                                                                         ½ tsp

Butter                                                                   2 tbsp

Oil                                                                           2 tbsp

Instructions:

1)      Beat eggs with some salt and pepper.

2)      Heat 1 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp of butter in a frying pan. Pour in the egg mixture to make a thin omelette.

3)      When it is set, flip to cook the other side. Remove when done.

4)      In a pan, heat up 1 tbsp of butter or oil. Gently cook the bean puree. Season if necessary. Mash and leave to cool before using.

5)      On the omelette, spread the bean puree thinly. Then place the ham in the middle. Lay 1-2 spinach leaves and 2 strips of cucumber on top.

6)      Fold in sides and roll up.

Tangy Baked Apples

Apples                                                                  2 or 3

Raisins/sultanas                                                                1 tbsp

Crystallised winter melon strips- diced   2-3 pieces

McCormick Cinnamon powder                   ¼ tsp

Orange marmalade                                         1 tbsp

Cornflour                                                             ½ tsp

Water                                                                   1 tsp

Foil                                                                         2 pieces

Instructions:

1)      Cut off a small section of the apple top to make a lid. Set aside. Carefully core the apples so there’s a hole in the middle.

2)      Combine the rest of the ingredients and stuff into apple. Close with the lid.

3)      Wrap the apples in the foil and place on a baking dish with a bit of water underneath.

4)      Bake in a 200°C oven for 20 minutes. Cool and serve.

at19culinary Studio is a cooking school established by two good friends, Hellen and Angelin, who are passionate about cooking and want to share the joy of cooking with others. Check out their healthy cooking classes at www.at19culinary.com!

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