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 or Vegan Carrot Cauliflower Gratin Recipe

October 12th, 2011 yum Posted in Cauliflower, Dairy, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Nutritional Yeast, carrot, corn free, grain-free 3 Comments »


The other day I was reading my friend Kelly’s blog over at Spunky Coconut and I came across this tasty sounding Oven Omelet with Sweet Potato Crust recipe. I’ve seen savory pies with potato crusts before, but a sweet potato crust was new to me.

And then I was harvesting from our summer garden and found myself with a gorgeous pile of heirloom carrots, including the vibrant “Dragon” variety with a purple exterior and orange interior. Its skin is so beautiful I hate to peel it.
Here’s the DH surveying our garden beds while Toddler Yum contemplates watering the dirt with a hose. As I looked at that pile of vegetables, I was somehow reminded of Kelly’s recipe. When I was on an allergen-friendly diet, I found that carrots can be used in some applications as a substitute for both potatoes and sweet potatoes. I enjoyed carrot fries more times than I can count. But in this case, I thought I could use them instead of sweet potatoes as a kind of crust. I wasn’t in the mood for omelet, so I took a page from our life in Japan, where gratin is a very popular dish at family restaurants, and made a kind of carrot-crust gratin. I made one version that was dairy-rich for the DH, who never met a dairy product he didn’t like, and another version that was vegan for my dairy-sensitive mother. Both were delicious and I’d make either one again.


Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower Gratin (dairy-free, vegan)
Ingredients
1/2 to 3/4 head of heirloom cauliflower (I like green), sliced into 1/4 inch slices as flat as you can make them (enough for one layer of cauliflower in your gratin pans or ramekins)
1 lb. of heirloom multicolored carrots, peeled and sliced on horizontal into 1/4 in. slices*
olive oil
salt, pepper
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp. toasted onion powder or garlic powder
2 tbsp. vegan margarine or olive oil
1 or 2 tbsp. sorghum flour
2 to 3 cups unsweetened plain almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Slivered raw almonds and almond meal for topping
paprika
salt
pepper

4 to 6 gratin pans or medium ramekins (4 inch wide or larger)

Directions
Preheat oven to 425F. Lay carrots in a single layer on a dark baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, using fingers or basting brush to distribute the oil evenly over the surface of the cauliflower. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes and prepare the cauliflower, putting the cauliflower slices on a small baking sheet (that will fit in the oven with your other baking sheet), baste with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place in the oven. Roast both veggies until crisp tender. You may wish to the veggies over halfway through the roasting time, or when they start to brown or turn color. Check on the veggies every 10-15 minutes and remove from oven when done to your taste. I believe the carrots took around 30 minutes and the cauliflower was more like 15-20 in my oven.

While the veggies are roasting, heat a sauce pan on medium and melt your margarine or heat your olive oil. Throw in your diced onion and saute until translucent. Add you sorghum flour,nutritional yeast and onion or garlic powder and stir it into the butter. Whisk in non-dairy milk, one half cup at a time, letting the mixture thicken slightly before adding more non-dairy milk. When you have two cups of non-dairy milk thickened, evaluate. Do you think this will be enough sauce for your gratin pans? If not, add up to one more cup of non-dairy milk and thicken as before. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare, turn oven down to 375F and get out your gratin pans or ramekins. You have two options. You can either create a carrot “crust” by placing a layer of roasted carrots on the bottom and around the sides, or you can simply create a carrot layer on the bottom. I tried both. The crust was a more attractive presentation, but the layer gave me the proportion of carrot flavor to cauliflower that I preferred. You will use more carrots with a crust and less with a layer. If you have any leftover roasted carrot slices (or cauliflower!), they make a delicious snack and pack well in lunches.

Cover your carrot layer (or crust*) with a layer of your prepared dairy-free white sauce and pop in the oven to cook for 10 minutes or so. You want the flavors to blend and your carrots to cook a bit more.

Remove gratin pans from the oven and add a layer of your roasted cauliflower. Spoon over your final layer of dairy-free white sauce, top with crumbled slivered raw almonds and almond meal if desired and season with paprika and pepper.

Place in oven and bake until top is lightly golden brown, to your preference. Enjoy!

Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower gratin (dairy)
Ingredients
1/2 to 3/4 head of heirloom cauliflower (I like green), sliced into 1/4 inch slices as flat as you can make them (enough for one layer of cauliflower in your gratin pans or ramekins)
1 lb. of heirloom multicolored carrots, peeled and sliced on horizontal into 1/4 in. slices*
olive oil
salt, pepper
1 small onion, diced
2 tbsp. butter
1 or 2 tbsp. sorghum flour
2 to 3 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded asiago, or more to taste
paprika
pepper
additional shredded asiago for topping

4 to 6 gratin pans or medium ramekins (4 inch wide or larger)

Directions
Preheat oven to 425F. Lay carrots in a single layer on a dark baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, using fingers or basting brush to distribute the oil evenly over the surface of the cauliflower. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes and prepare the cauliflower, putting the cauliflower slices on a small baking sheet (that will fit in the oven with your other baking sheet), baste with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place in the oven. Roast both veggies until crisp tender. You may wish to the veggies over halfway through the roasting time, or when they start to brown or turn color. Check on the veggies every 10-15 minutes and remove from oven when done to your taste. I believe the carrots took around 30 minutes and the cauliflower was more like 15-20 in my oven.

While the veggies are roasting, heat a sauce pan on medium and melt your butter. Throw in your diced onion and saute until translucent. Add you sorghum flour and stir it into the butter. Whisk in milk, one half cup at a time, letting the mixture thicken slightly before adding more milk. When you have two cups of milk thickened, evaluate. Do you think this will be enough sauce for your gratin pans? If not, add up to one more cup of milk and thicken as before. Add your shredded asiago cheese and turn off the heat, stirring in the cheese and letting it melt into the sauce.

To prepare, turn oven down to 375F and get out your gratin pans or ramekins. You have two options. You can either create a carrot “crust” by placing a layer of roasted carrots on the bottom and around the sides, or you can simply create a carrot layer on the bottom. I tried both. The crust was a more attractive presentation, but the layer gave me the proportion of carrot flavor to cauliflower that I preferred. You will use more carrots with a crust and less with a layer. If you have any leftover roasted carrot slices (or cauliflower!), they make a delicious snack and pack well in lunches.

Cover your carrot layer (or crust*) with a layer of your prepared white sauce and pop in the oven to cook for 10 minutes or so. You want the flavors to blend and your carrots to cook a bit more.

Remove gratin pans from the oven and add a layer of your roasted cauliflower. Spoon over your final layer of white sauce, top with additional cheese if desired and season with paprika and pepper.

Place in oven and bake until top is lightly golden brown, to your preference. Enjoy!

Notes
*If making carrot crust, only put white sauce over the bottom of the crust, leaving the sides of your crust bare.
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