These Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes Don’t Compromise on Taste!
Last month while browsing through Instagram , Nigella Lawson’s gluten-free cake popped up on my feed. A little enquiry revealed that she had baked it for her birthday. She had used polenta instead of white flour. As I marvelled at the gluten free substitutes, I realised that the gastronomic possibilities are indeed many with gluten-free ingredients. Further search on Instagram for gluten-free recipes revealed a whole lot of ingredients.
Chef Selva, Executive Pastry Chef, The Westin Pune Koregaon Park, says, “Gluten is a substance which is present in wheat. People who are intolerant to gluten cannot digest these delicacies. That’s why we replace the white flour with ingredients like rice flour, almond flour and corn meal flour.”
So if you have been asked to switch to a gluten-free lifestyle because you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or other health issues, fret not.
There are several gluten-free ingredients that will let you indulge in the foods you crave. Rather than seeing this as a limitation to your diet, stock your kitchen cupboard with gluten-free substitutes. Here is a list of gluten-free dishes that you can relish.
1. Gluten-Free Cakes
Almond flour is a popular alternative to traditional wheat flour. It's low in carbohydrates, packed with nutrients.
Gopal Jha, Executive Chef, Grand Mercure Bangalore uses almond flour instead of white flour to bake a cake. The almond flour helps in binding the ingredients together.
Almond flour is rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, calcium and vitamin E.
Chef Selva adds that he uses gluten-free ingredients like chocolate, rice flour, almond flour, oats and potato starch to bake his version of chocolate cake. The potato starch helps with binding, making it an excellent thickener for sauces, soups and stews.
This gluten-free fruit cake recipe is by Chef Gopal Jha.
- Preheat the oven to 140 degrees. Put the remaining ingredients except the almond flour in a large bowl. Beat with a hand-held electric mixer until well combined. Fold the almond flour well.
- Grease a deep 23cm round tin or 20cm square cake tin with butter, line with a double layer of baking paper and grease the paper. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Level the top and cover with a disc of baking paper.
- Bake for about 2 hours until firm to the touch and a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.
- When the cake has cooled, remove the baking paper disc; pierce the top in several places with a skewer, then pour over a little brandy. Remove the cake from the tin but keep it in the baking paper. Wrap with more baking paper, then wrap with foil. Then store in a cool place to mature.
- Decorate the cake with glacé fruit, marzipan or ready-to-use icing.
2. Gluten-Free Pizza
Chef Shubhendu Kadam from Hilton Shillim creates a gluten-free pizza, with the base made with ingredients like Amaranth flour and gluten-free brown rice flour.
Amaranth flour is high in nutrients. It helps in reducing cholesterol and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. It has more proteins than any other grain. Brown rice flour on the other hand, contains an impressive amount of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Consuming this can help prevent or improve several health conditions, including diabetes and heart disease.
This is topped with basil leaves as well as rocket leaves, garlic, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. The pizza base topped with these ingredients is baked in an oven. Put an end to your pizza cravings with this gluten-free pizza.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F.
- For the base, combine the flour and salt into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, 3 tbsp of olive oil and milk, and then pour it into the well. Gradually bring the mixture together until it forms smooth dough.
- In a small cup, mix jaggery powder and vinegar, then quickly knead it into the dough mixture. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, then leave to prove in a warm place for around 1 hour.
- For the topping, pick the basil leaves and set aside, then finely chop the stalks. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, and then add the basil stalks and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, or until golden. Pour in the skinned and chopped tomatoes, break them up with the back of a wooden spoon, then cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened. Transfer to a blender along with half the reserved basil leaves, blitz until smooth.
- Blend rocket pesto garlic and two tsp of olive oil in a mortar and keep aside for finishing.
- Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
- Once doubled in size, divide the dough into four equal-sized pieces on a flour-dusted surface. Roll out until roughly 30cm in diameter and 2mm thick. Place the pizza bases onto the preheated pizza stone or baking tray (you’ll need to do this in batches), then spread over the tomato sauce, leaving a rough 2cm gap around the edge. Tear over the mozzarella and then pop in the hot oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden and crisp. Scatter the reserved basil leaves on top.
- Drizzle the rocket pastel on the ready pizza.
3. Quinoa Brownie
These healthy quinoa brownies are going to be your new favourite treat. They are rich , fudge and gooey.
Quinoa is packed with nutrients like magnesium, iron, Vitamin B, proteins and contain twice as much fibre as other grains. So instead of using white flour for the base, use quinoa as a substitute.
Chef Selva prepares these quinoa brownies by using quinoa flour, eggs, cane sugar, coconut oil and chocolate chips.
- Preheat the oven at 160c. Line a baking tray.
- In a large thick pan, melt the butter and coconut oil together for about 2 min. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Mix the sugar and beat the egg.
- Add the melted chocolate and quinoa flour baking powder. Make it smooth and bake it for 20-25 min.
- Cool and serve.
(A freelance food blogger, Pranjali Bhonde Pethe aims at getting people and their favourite food closer through her blog MoiPalate. Email her at email@example.com or follow her blog.)