Gluten-free Baking in Japan: Classic Rice Flour Pancakes Recipe

June 8th, 2012 yum Posted in Baked Goods, Brown Rice, Dairy, Gluten Free in Japan, Gluten-free Japanese Label Reading, Pancake, Rice, Soy Free, Travel, gluten-free international travel 8 Comments »


Hello from Mutsu City, Aomori Prefecture Japan!

Dear Readers, I’m sure that many of you have wondered what on earth happened to me. Around the end of May I actually got on a plane with the DH and dear Toddler Yum in tow and flew to Japan for a three month fieldwork trip for my dissertation. Preparation kept me quite busy initially, and then once I arrived in Japan I found myself extremely busy going to my field site, doing surveys and interviews, and then trying to keep myself fed and cared for. Not only that, when I’m not actually in the field but come down to our monthly apartment, Toddler Yum has been a busy girl requiring my attention. I started her in a Japanese daycare, and it has been a wonderful, enriching experience but also brought its own difficulties. My dear girl is learning some Japanese and about Japanese culture and loving it- but separating from Mommy in the morning has been a trial. We’ve had to bust out the favorite “Llama Llama Misses Mama” book for some of the bad days, and gone back to drawing Mini Mama and Mini Grandma on her hand to keep her company. She has a little uniform that is so cute, though. And luckily she seems to be doing well on a wheat-diet, so can eat the delicious, healthy, handmade lunches they make at her pre-school. My girl loves Japanese food!


Me in the Field, being Visited by Toddler Yum

I love Japanese food too, but my food options are severely limited. As usual, while living in Japan I consume seafood, but it is quite a challenge to avoid wheat when soy sauce is used to season pretty much all of the convenience prepared foods and flavors most restaurant dishes. I can’t buy any prepared gluten-free baked foods, but I brought things like gluten-free pasta from home, as well as a few baking mixes and brown rice flour. Over the past month, I’ve been experimenting. This morning my Dad (who joined us when the DH had to return home for work) made me these awesome gluten-free pancakes. All you need is one burner, so they are good for the gluten-free girl (or guy) on the road or even in a dorm room. I’ve also been experimenting with baking in the toaster oven (our apartment doesn’t have a regular oven) and have come up with an excellent mini banana bread recipe that I will be sharing soon.

In other Blog News:
I’m sure many of you have given up hope about the Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger Event, but starting this month some dear gluten-free blogger friends are stepping in and helping to host the event.

Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger Event Schedule
June: Shannon of Enjoying Gluten-free Life
Live: Signups for Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger!

July: Sunny of And Love it Too
August: Alta of Tasty Eats at Home

I’ll be back hosting in September! Thanks ladies, you are lifesavers!

Here’s the ingredients I bought in Japan to make this recipe! You can buy all of the ingredients in the States, too, so no worries.

*I brought the Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice flour from home. You may be able to find brown rice flour in Japan, but I haven’t found one that wasn’t packaged in bulk with gluten items yet… If you live in Japan and are frustrated by your inability to find safe brown rice flour, you can substitute more white rice flour for the brown OR grind brown rice with a good mill to make your own gluten-free brown rice flour for this recipe.*
Note the milk in the picture. If you don’t buy lowfat milk in Japan, you’re likely end up with some VERY thick and creamy milk. Delicious if you like cream… and it certainly it makes a delicious latte, but it is quite the figure-buster. lol. I learned early on in my Japanese life to seek out the lowfat stuff for drinking and baking. I’ll be making a dairy-free version for Toddler Yum using the easily available soy-milk or the soy-almond milk, and I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

Read Japanese Labels for Gluten-free Shopping in Japan!

White Rice Flour / Kome Ko
I found this in an unusually large bag at a Japanese chain store called Sanwado found in the Tohoku region of Japan and Hokkaido. [English review of Sanwado in Misawa]
I love this store, which is like a combo between Walmart and a very small Costco. I found large, American-size cans of Chickpeas and Red Kidney Beans, neither of which are typically available in Japan, and if they are available are typically expensive and only sold in small quantities. I also can buy thai rice paper wraps, rice noodles, and cans of veggie green curry there. Yay!

Note that this rice flour is NOT mochi rice flour or sweet rice flour, but like the regular rice flour sold by Ener-g Foods or Bob’s Red Mill. It is 100% rice flour (wetland) and doesn’t have a notice about wheat being produced in its factories so should be a pretty pure source.


Almond Flour/ Almond Powder
I was surprised to find Almond flour, aka Almond Powder, in Japan, sold with the cake ingredients. I have seen large bags (I think at Sanwado) but purchased this small bag that was sold next to the cake sprinkles. It also doesn’t have a warning about shared production lines.

The Homemade Cake brand is owned by Kyoritsu Foods. They have many different products including gluten-ones. I’m not sure how the packaging happens, but since they don’t have a warning about wheat production lines, the risk of cross contamination seems fairly low. They do mention that dairy products are produced in the same factory, for any who might be concerned. The quality is similar to Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour.


Baking Soda and Baking Powder
I was surprised to find this baking soda at the “hyakku En Shoppu” Daiso, which is like a Japanese dollar store. It was reasonably priced. I found the baking powder in a regular grocery store, but wouldn’t recommend this particular brand as it has a warning that wheat products are produced in the same factory.

Gluten-free Pancakes in Japan
Ingredients
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp. apple vinegar
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1 tbsp. almond powder (almond flour)
2 tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
2 tbsp. melted butter
Directions
Combine milk and vinegar in a large bowl and let it sit until it thickens slightly and the milk turns sour.

Combine your dry ingredients (brown rice flour, white rice flour, almond powder, sugar, baking powder and salt) in a medium bowl. Whisk together until ingredients are

Heat a non-stick pan to medium heat (or use your favorite cast iron pan with a little butter or oil as needed).

Add your egg and melted butter to the vinegar-thickened milk and whisk together. Gradually add your combined dry ingredients to the wet (egg, butter, milk, vinegar) and gently fold together.

Using a 1/4 cup measure for each pancake, pour up to 3 pancakes in your pan at a time. When the pancake gets bubbles on the top, after about 30 seconds, turn them over. When the second side is brown, remove from the pan and repeat.

Enjoy!

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Gluten-free Dairy-free Egg-free Focaccia inspired by Amy’s Kitchen

March 6th, 2012 yum Posted in Amy's Kitchen, Bread, Breastfeeding for Allergic Baby Recipe, Brown Rice, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Soy Free, Sugar free, Sunflower seed, Vegan 16 Comments »


I have a little addiction. It is to the Amy’s Kitchen kid’s meal with the ziti pasta with the fake cheese and a little bit of broccoli and focaccia and the apple cobbler serving. I know, I know, I’m not a kid, but it is relatively low in calories and I just can’t get enough of it. They also just came out with a new kid’s meal with gluten-free rice mac and cheese, broccoli, and that same apple cobbler. However, those frozen kids meals are an expensive little vice for a graduate student mommy with a mortgage. I was thinking about it, and although I do love the pasta, the real draw for me is that little bread square tucked in between the pasta and the apple pie. I just love the faintly nutty, brown rice flavor of the stuff and the fluffiness of it when I rescue it from the microwave and let the rest of the meal cook.

I am thrilled by Toddler Yum’s new school, and it seems to be really good for her. She has friends, learns fun things and gets to try all sorts of new activities. She comes home literally singing, and little tidbits that she has learned leak out in between her toddler chatter. Last month she learned the days of the week in a cheery little song. Last night at the dinner table, she started belting out the months. She told me buenas noches with no prompting, out of the blue. It seems like a great environment and fit for my active little social bunny.

Unfortunately that great environment comes with a silicon valley price tag. We have her at half days, but it still gives our budget pause. Add on to that property taxes, graduate school fees, and utility bills and it ends up hurting a little bit. So, I have sworn off pricey convenience meals for a bit, and that includes those tasty Amy’s Kitchen meals. I decided that a tight budget was no reason to go without my focaccia! I peered at the back of the Amy’s kitchen box for ingredients, consulted with some favorite vegan cookbooks like Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, and started baking up a storm. I made two versions of this recipe, and this one was my favorite. It was not quite as fluffy as the Amy’s version, but it still was strangely addictive. It also passed the DH test, who said that it was yummy and gobbled it down without any resistance. I loved it plain, with earth balance margarine, and used in sandwiches with a baba ghanoush, avocado and lettuce filling. By the way, the avocado came from the tree in our backyard. I just love free avocados! And the lettuce came straight out of our winter garden. California living has its perks!

I may be fooling around with this recipe some more, but I love the flavor. Honestly, I’m a rice girl at heart. I just love the nuttiness of brown rice flour tempered by a little white rice. And the sunflower meal is a very good alternative to the ever-popular almond flour. It gives great flavor, a little punch of protein, and does some good things to the texture too. I think I’ll be using it in more of my recipes in the future. Hope you enjoy!

Dairy-free Egg-free Focaccia Bread
Ingredients
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch flour
1/4 cup corn flour (can substitute millet flour, sorghum, or brown rice flour)
1/4 cup ground roasted unsalted sunflower seed meal (i made it in my spice grinder)
1/4 cup potato starch flour (can sub arrowroot or cornstarch)
1/4 cup cornstarch (can sub arrowroot or potato starch)
1 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp agave/maple syrup/honey
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp. yeast

for topping:
your favorite dairy-free milk or olive oil
Bouquet garni or onion flakes/ caramelized onions
coarse salt

Directions
Line a square cake pan with parchment paper and baste sides with palm oil shortening or other preferred oil. Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix together dry ingredients in your kitchenaid mixer. Note on the sunflower seed meal- I cleaned my spice grinder by running a batch of white rice through it before I made the sunflower seed meal. You could also try using the small section of your food processor for grinding the meal.

Put your tablespoon of liquid sweetener (agave, maple syrup etc) in a small bowl. Add your warm water and your yeast. Combine gently and wait for it to foam. Add to your dry ingredients along with olive oil. Mix with the paddle for a few minutes, and then pour into your prepared pan. Baste top with a little olive oil or your favorite non-dairy plain milk. Sprinkle with bouquet garni herbs or onion topping.

Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Serve and enjoy!

Notes
Great for sandwiches when cut in half. Microwave individual servings for 10-15 seconds to refresh the next day.
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