Gluten intolerance is something we’re hearing much more about in India these days. But you might have a few questions about it – for instance, what is gluten? And if you or your children are diagnosed as gluten intolerant – or if you have coeliac disease – what type of foods will you have to avoid?
Here, we will answer these questions and provide a fun gluten free recipe to try with your little ones!
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a type of protein commonly found in wheat, barley, and rye. These ingredients are often found in many foods – even if you don’t expect to find them there! If your body is unable to process gluten, you could feel very unwell after eating food containing gluten. If you think you may be sensitive to gluten, consult your doctor.
After running a few tests, your doctor can diagnose you with a gluten intolerance or with coeliac disease. Then, the only way to feel better is to eat only gluten free foods.
A Gluten Free Diet
It’s not as daunting as you think to go gluten-free. Thankfully, the Indian diet uses lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as lentils and chickpeas – and all of these ingredients are gluten-free! Foods like dosas, papadums, and pakoras are also usually gluten-free, as they are usually made with gluten-free flour.
Although traditional chapattis, naans, and things like pizza and pasta are off limits, you can use different types of flour (like chickpea, lentil, or rice flour) to make gluten-free alternatives. You can also find gluten-free flour in some supermarkets.
Sometimes it’s just a question of doing a little experimenting to discover what ingredients you can replace in your favourite recipes. Every child loves a sweet treat – a pudding or a slice of cake – to finish off their meal. Well, this traditional dessert recipe from south India is a perfect solution. It is a great example of a gluten-free recipe.
Your little ones can help you make this cake (as well as help you eat it!). Cooking with kids is a great way for them to learn new skills – and because Surf excel is there to deal with any stains, you don’t need to worry about anything!
Gluten Free Recipe: Cucumber Mandas
This tasty gluten-free dessert recipe is perfect for an afternoon treat. It takes a bit of time to prepare, as you need to soak the rice for a few hours before cooking it. This recipe is adapted from a recipe at food.sify.com.
It calls for equal parts cucumber, rice, and jaggery; if you want it to be less sweet, you can adapt it by including less jaggery.
- 300 grams cucumber, peeled, chopped, and deseeded
- 300 grams rice (60 grams raw rice, 240 grams boiled rice)
- 300 grams powdered jaggery
- 150 grams grated coconut
- 5-6 cardamom pods, seeds only
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp ghee
- Cashew nuts (optional)
What to Do:
- Prepare the rice. Rinse it under a cold tap until the starch has run off, and then leave it to soak in fresh water for at least two to three hours.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, and grease and line a cake tin.
- Add the cucumber and the coconut to a food processor and mix until you get a smooth paste.
- Drain the rice, and then add it to the food processor and mix to form a thick batter.
- Then, add the jaggery, cardamom, and salt.
- Then, add the ghee at the end, and blend for a few seconds.
- It’s also nice to stir in a few chopped cashew nuts to the batter before baking.
- Bake for one hour, or until you can insert a knife and it comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Serve after a meal, or whenever you fancy!
Do you have any other gluten-free recipes or advice that you’d like to share? Let us know!