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Glossary of Gluten Free Goodies

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Arrowroot. With a look and texture similar to cornstarch, arrowroot is an herb thought to soothe the stomach and have antidiarrheal effects. In cooking, arrowroot makes a great substitute for cornstarch and can be used to thicken soups, sauces, and confections.

Arrowroot flour the first in our Glossary of Gluten Free Goodies

Black glutinous rice. This sticky rice is very popular in Asian countries. White glutinous rice is more widely used, but the glistening, long, black grains have an earthy appeal all their own - firstly because of their unusual appearance, and secondly because of their ability to combine with sugar and a few simple flavors such as toasted sesame seeds, to be transformed into a sweet snack or delicious dessert.

Buckwheat groats/kasha. Buckwheat is not even remotely related to wheat. It is a fruit, high in B vitamins, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, and all 8 essential amino acids, making it a more complete protein than many other plant sources. Also known as kasha and groats, buckwheat boasts a hearty, earthy flavor. Most of the time it is ground into a gritty, dark flour, and used to make soba noodles, pancakes, or other baked goods. Some people cook it like rice, boiling 1 cup of buckwheat in 2 cups of water.

Buckwheat flour. Made by grinding whole buckwheat. This flour has a slightly nutty flavor and because it does not contain gluten, will result in a slightly denser texture. Available from health food stores.

The Gluten Free Symbol Buckwheat pasta. Check the ingredients listing on the packet to ensure the pasta is wheat free. The cooked pasta will have a slightly softer texture than that made with durum wheat and it has a pleasant nuttiness to the flavor. Buckwheat pasta cooks more quickly than regular pasta and will fall apart if overcooked. Check the cooking times on the packet.

Calasparra rice. Medium grain Spanish rice, perfect for paella due to its firm texture and starchy nature. Available from gourmet food stores. Use arborio rice if unavailable.

Canola oil. This oil is high in omega 3 fatty acids (omega 3s help reduce inflammation in the body) and has a mild flavor. You can also use light olive oil or macadamia oil if you prefer. All three oils are readily available in most supermarkets.

Chickpea flour. Also known as besan flour, this flour is made from husked and ground dried chickpeas. It is traditionally used in Indian cookery. We like to use it because it is high in protein and adds a slightly nutty flavor to a dish. Available in health food stores and Asian or Indian food stores.

Chickpeas. Soak dried chickpeas in water overnight, then cook them to the doneness that you prefer for each dish. You can use drained canned chickpeas, but you don't have control over the final texture of the dish.

Cornichons. Tiny French gherkins, available from good food stores and delicatessens.

Cuttlefish. A seafood that has a similar texture and flavor to squid. It is cleaned and prepared in much the same manner as squid. You can find it in seafood stores. Use squid if cuttlefish is unavailable.

Five-spice powder. A blend of spices based on the Chinese philosophy of yin and yang, containing star anise, fennel, cloves, cinnamon and Szechwan pepper. Some blends have ginger and cardamom added.

Garam masala. A blend of spices, originating in North India and based on varying proportions of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, fennel and cumin, which are roasted and ground together.

Garfava. Garfava is the name of a commercial blend of flours made by a company called Authentic Foods. Garfava has become such a common gluten free flour that it is featured in many cookbooks. This mixture of chickpea (garbanzo beans) and fava bean flours is high in protein, low in fat, and rich in fiber. Its unique nutty taste adds extra flavor to quick breads, muffins, cakes, veggie burgers, and coatings for chicken and fish.

Gluten free baking powder. This is the same as regular baking powder, without the addition of wheat starch. Buy this in health food stores and good supermarkets.

Gluten free gluten substitute. Contains rice flour along with other gluten free starches and gums. It helps to give baked goods a better structure and texture. If gluten substitute is unavailable, you can use xanthan gum instead. Check the instructions on the packet, but generally allow 1/2 teaspoon for a cake recipe and 1 teaspoon for a bread recipe and sift with the flour.

Gluten free self raising flour. Contains maize (corn) starch, tapioca starch, soy flour, rice flour and baking powder.

Grapeseed oil. A very light oil that heats to high temperatures. It is light in color and has a very slight 'grapey' flavor and fragrance.

Jobs Tears Job's tears. Job's Tears is also referred to as coix seed, adlay, or adlai. Popular in Asia, Job's Tears is often dried and cooked as a grain like rice or barley, and it has a similar flavor to barley. People in Korea and China use it to make distilled liquors, or as a tea, sometimes by powdering the grain itself and mixing it with hot water; other times, the whole grains are simmered in water and then mixed with sugar. Job's Tears are said to have medicinal properties, helping with gastrointestinal disorders, painful joints, rheumatism, and edema. Job's Tears isn't even closely related to barley (which contains gluten).

Lamb backstraps (eye of loin). Also known as lamb strips, the lamb eye of loin is a very lean and tender cut and perfect for healthy cooking. It is readily available from your butcher.

Lamb rump. Comes from the chump end of the chops. Ask your butcher to bone it and trim off the fat.

Lecithin. A component of all of our body cells and is present in the myelin sheaths covering our nerves. Lecithin aids in the digestion and assimilation of fats. You can buy lecithin granules in packets from your health food store and supermarket. It is usually derived from soy beans.

Lemon pressed olive oil. Produced by crushing lemons with olives, then pressing the resulting pulp to produce an oil that captures the essence of the lemon as well as the olive.

Linseeds (flax seeds). A good source of fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. They have anti cancer effects and help correct female hormonal imbalance due to lignans which provide phytooestrogens. They can prevent and relieve constipation.

Macadamia oil. High in monounsaturated fatty acids (which help lower LDL, or unhealthy, cholesterol), this oil has a light flavor and is suitable for most types of cooking. Available from supermarkets and health food stores.

Maple syrup. Use pure maple syrup, available from supermarkets, not the maple flavored syrup (which is a poor imitation). In addition to giving a lovely flavor, maple syrup contains a small amount of the minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Mesquite (pinole). Outside of a BBQ, it is also a tree that produces bean pods, which can be dried and ground into flour. It adds a sweet, nutty taste that bears a hint of molasses, and is even used to make jelly, wine, and juice. Mesquite is helpful in controlling blood sugar levels. Its sweet pods and seeds are a good source of fiber, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc, protein, and lysine.

Millet Grain Millet. Millet is actually a grass with a small seed that grows in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, millet is also loaded with fiber, protein, and B-complex vitamins. It is an easily digested, extremely nutritious seed. In parts of India today, millet flour is combined with sorghum flour to make a common bread called bhakri. Millet is a small, round grain that has a mild, yet nutty flavor, especially if you toast it in a dry skillet for about 3 minutes. Add millet to soups for extra body, or mix it with brown rice or quinoa to add unique flavors and textures. Millet can be cooked like other grains, using 1 cup of millet to 2-1/2 cups of water. You can use less water for a crunchier flavor or more for a consistency more like mashed potatoes.

Mirin. Sweet rice wine, used only in cooking. Available from Asian food stores and some health food stores.

Montina (Indian ricegrass). Montina is a type of flour made from Indian ricegrass, which was a dietary staple of Native Americans more than 7,000 years ago and today is native to Montana. Loaded with fiber and protein, this bold flavored grain was a good substitute when maize crops failed or game was in short supply. Because Montina is a brand name, it comes with a recipe booklet. Because it tastes like wheat and has a hearty texture, it makes a good replacement for regular flour in baking.

Nori. Shiny green sheets of dried seaweed. Available from delicatessens and Asian food stores.

Panch pora. The Indian equivalent of Chinese five-spice powder , and is a mix of five seed spices, usually brown mustard, nigella, cumin, fenugreek and fennel. It is sometimes called panch puran or panch phoron and is available from spice shops.

Pandan leaf. Almost every kitchen garden in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand boasts a pandanus plant, the leaves of which are used in both savory and sweet dishes. Buy from Asian food stores.

Peanuts. If you are allergic to peanuts, substitute cashews or almonds.

Pepitas Pepitas. Green dried pumpkin seed kernels, available from the supermarket and health food stores.

Polenta (yellow cornmeal). Made from ground corn (maize), polenta is similar to cornmeal (which is paler and finer in texture). Available from supermarkets and health food stores.

Pomegranate molasses. A thick, dark flavoring agent made by boiling pomegranate seeds until the liquid is well reduced and syrupy. Used in Middle Eastern cookery, its clean, tart flavor works well with meat, poultry and fish. Available from gourmet and Middle Eastern food stores.

Preserved lemon. Lemons preserved in salt and lemon juice. Available from good food stores.

Protein powder. We used a selection of protein powders in our recipes. Isolated whey protein can often be tolerated by people with milk sensitivities because it does not contain casein and has minimal lactose. Soy-based protein powder is available unflavored or flavored. If you prefer, you can use rice based protein powder . All are available from your health food store.

Puffed rice. Made from a rice flour and water mixture that is extruded and puffed by heat. The 'grains' should be small and pale, unlike the larger brownish colored puffed whole rice for best results, although you can use either. Available from supermarkets (health food section) and health food stores.

Quinoa. This small grain (actually a fruit) is cultivated in Peru, Chile and Bolivia and was used by the Incas who revered this nutritious food. Although quinoa is usually pale yellow, it also comes in pink, orange, red, purple, and black. Quinoa does not contain gluten and takes 12 to 15 minutes to cook. Available in grain or flake form, from health food stores. Quinoa flours and pastas are also available, giving you more options for gluten free variations on gluten containing favorites.

Ragi. Ragi is also referred to as finger millet and is grown as a cereal in the arid areas of Africa and Asia. Ragi is often ground and cooked into cakes, puddings, or porridge, and is made into a beer type drink in many parts of Africa.

Rice. Rice is a common staple in the gluten-free diet. Not all rice is created equally, though. White rice has most of the good stuff (germ and bran), nutritionally speaking, removed. Brown rice is a whole grain and far more nutritious than white. Wild rice isn't rice at all! It is the seed of an aquatic grass, grown primarily in Minnesota. Contrary to what you might guess, glutinous rice does not have gluten! Made from high starch, short grain rice, glutinous rice thickens sauces and desserts in Asian cooking and is the rice most commonly used in sushi.

Rice bran. The outer husk of rice grains is high in soluble fiber and absorbs excess cholesterol and toxins in the digestive system, encouraging their elimination. As for all soluble fiber, it helps prevent constipation and also slows the emptying rate from the stomach, giving longer lasting energy. Available from supermarkets and health food stores.

Rice milk. More watery in texture because it contains very little fat. It is a good substitute for dairy milk. Buy the type that has calcium added. Available from supermarkets and health food stores in long-life cartons. You can use reduced fat soy milk instead if you prefer.

Rice wine vinegar. Made from fermented rice, rice wine vinegar (also known as rice vinegar) is used in Asian cookery. Readily available from supermarkets and Asian food stores, there is no decent substitute.

Rolled brown rice flakes. Are just as they sound - raw brown rice grains that have been rolled flat. They make quite a good porridge. Available from health food stores. You can use rolled white rice instead if you like.

Saffron threads. Threads from the dried stigmas of the crocus flower. Available from good food stores and some supermarkets

Shaohsing Cooking Wine Shaohsing cooking wine. Made from a combination of glutinous rice, millet, a special yeast, and local mineral water, shaohsing cooking wine tastes like dry sherry. It is aged for at least 10 years which results in a warm amber color. Available from Asian food stores.

Sorghum. Also known as milo, this gluten free insoluble fiber is probably best known for the syrup that comes from one of its varieties. Because sorghum's protein and starch are more slowly digested than that of other cereals, it may be beneficial to diabetics.

Soy. Soy is actually a legume, not a grain. It is commonly used in the gluten free diet because people know it is gluten free and it is accessible. Usually, it is mixed with other flours - but beware: It has a strong, distinctive flavor. Either you love it or not, and after you have added it, there is no going back.

Soy milk. Use reduced fat soy milk and ensure it has calcium added. Available from supermarkets in the fresh milk and long life milk sections. If you have a gluten sensitivity or allergy, check the ingredients list to be sure it is gluten free.

Soy yogurt. Made from soy beans, this yogurt has a different flavor to dairy yogurt. Use it in both sweet and savory recipes and you can snack on this yogurt between meals if you like. Available from supermarkets and health food stores.

Sumac. Ground spice from a slightly astringent, lemon-flavored berry. Available from Middle Eastern food stores and spice shops.

Tahini. Made from sesame seeds, tahini is highly nutritious and adds a lovely nutty flavor to dressings and sauces. It is often used in Middle Eastern dishes. Available from supermarkets and health food stores.

Tamari sauce, wheat-free. Also known as tamari shoyu, this sauce is made from fermented soy beans, unlike regular soy sauce which is made from a mixture of soy beans and wheat. Tamari is lighter in color and flavor. Available from some supermarkets and health food stores.

Tapioca (gari, cassava, casaba, manioc, yucca). Basically, tapioca doesn't have any flavor. Because it is flavorless, tapioca flour or starch makes a great thickener for sauces, gravies, soups, stews, puddings, and pies. Tapioca gives a glossy sheen and can tolerate prolonged cooking and freezing. Tapioca is native to South America.

Taro Root. Also called kalo, taro is a starchy tuber vegetable much like a potato, and it is rich in vitamins and minerals. The leaves are a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, and zinc - and also vitamin B6, vitamin C, niacin, potassium, copper, and manganese. Also a great source of fiber. In its raw form, taro is toxic because it has calcium oxalate, but cooking destroys the toxin, so it's safe for consumption. Like potatoes, taro roots can be fried, baked, roasted, boiled, or steamed.

Teff Grain Teff. (tef) This nutritional powerhouse is the smallest of the grains that aren't true cereal grains. Teff is actually a grass with a seed that looks (and cooks) a lot like quinoa and millet, but is smaller. An important food in Ethiopia, teff is used to make a common bread called injera. Teff packs a protein content of nearly 12 percent and is five times richer in calcium, iron, and potassium than any other grain. Its sweet, nutty flavor makes teff flour a delicious additive to baked goods, or you can cook the whole grain and serve it with sliced fruit or as a breakfast cereal.

Tofu. Tofu is made by adding a coagulant (like magnesium chloride) to soy milk. The resultant curds are strained for various lengths of time, depending on the desired texture. You can find soft and firm tofu in supermarkets and health food stores. Smoked tofu, a firm textured product, is available from health food stores. If you don't use the whole piece of tofu, place the remainder in an airtight container, cover the tofu with water, and store in the refrigerator. Change the water daily and use the tofu within a few days.

Venison. A very nutritious lean deer meat. It has a slightly stronger flavor than beef but is excellent for providing iron. Do not overcook venison for the best results and flavor. Available from gourmet butchers.

Verjuice. The unfermented juice of grapes, with a delicate lemon, vinegar flavor . Available from good food stores. Substitute lemon juice and white wine vinegar if verjuice is not available.

Xanthan gum. Can be used as an alternative if gluten substitute is unavailable. Like the gluten substitute, it gives baked goods a better texture. Allow about 1/2 teaspoon for a cake recipe and 1 teaspoon for a bread recipe.

Za'atar. A Middle Eastern spice mixture, comprising equal quantities of sesame seeds, thyme and sumac, with a little salt. Available from spice shops and Middle Eastern food stores.

Zatar spice blend

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