Gluten free? Try rice flour

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - MYO SATT myosatt@mm­times.com Trans­la­tion by San Layy

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.

Pho­tos: Thiri Lu

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.

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