Gluten free? Try rice flour
FLOUR is much more than just flour, or so participants in a recent workshop learned. I joined 15 others in the class, at the Panasonic show room near Pearl Condo, to find out more about the creation of rice-flour snacks and delicacies.
Dream Project and Tsukuno Bakery had come together to offer the September 6 event, led by experienced chef Satoshi Hagita from Japan.
“I’m very happy to be able to hold this class in Myanmar,” he said. “Our Asian countries mainly produce rice, and import wheat from abroad. But using flour made from rice not only promotes food self-sufficiency, it’s also good for your health.”
Though the calorie counts for rice and wheat flour are not very different, the rice-based version is richer in amino acids than wheat. And because it contains less gluten, rice flour is easier to digest, he said – especially for those with gluten allergies.
“Wheat is rich in gluten, which is a problem for people who cannot tolerate it. Rice flour is an excellent substitute for people who can’t digest wheat flour,” he said.
The high sugar levels in gluten have also been associated with obesity and heart disease, as well as indigestion.
Satoshi said that nearly all foods that are made with wheat flour can be made just as well with rice flour. Foodstuffs made with lone tee rice even contain vitamin B1, a health benefit.
Many products labelled “gluten-free” are made with rice flour, though rice does in fact contains a little gluten.
Using rice flour that the Japanese call komeko, the class made a variety of dishes, including cakes, and tempura using just a frying pan. The thin coating of flour around the seafood or vegetables soaks up the oil in the pan. We also learned to make banana cakes made in a pan – softer than bein mont, these cakes can be cooked in a lidded pan, sans oven. My favourite was a Japanese dish called okonomiyaki, made with dried shrimp and sliced cabbage and covered with bacon.
Komeko is ground with a high technology pepper-mill and can be used in a wide variety of dishes. It’s available in Myanmar from the Shan Maw Myay company, which gets it from the Mishimura mill in Japan.
So next time you’re thinking of getting your flour power on, consider your options.
The class also made rice flour cake – just as good as wheat flour, without the gluten.
Some tempura vegetables went down nicely after all that cake.
Chef Satoshi Hagita of Japan slices rice flour cake.
The class featured many Japanese participants interested in learning how to make their favourite dishes from home in Myanmar.
A class participant works on her okonomiyaki, a Japanese cake made with rice flour.