Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup in the Peranakan cuisine, which is a combination of Chinese and Malay cuisine. Laksa consists of rice noodles or rice vermicelli with chicken, prawn or fish, served in spicy soup; either based on rich and spicy curry coconut milk, or based on sour asam (tamarind or gelugur). (wikipedia)
Fragrant. Fresh. Flexible.
While my son preferred his Laksa on a bed of rice and without the snap peas this is an easy and versatile recipe.
500 g chicken sliced into strips (or use leftover roast chicken and add with coconut cream and chicken stock)
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
2 cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
2 cups chicken stock (gluten free)
1 tin coconut cream (or lite coconut cream)
Pad Thai Rice Noodles
2 tablespoons Laksa paste (or use ‘Always Fresh’ Chilli Jam)
1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
* snow peas or snap peas (or capsicum strips or vegetable of choice for colour and texture)
1 lime, juiced
coriander to serve
red chilli, finely sliced to serve
* fresh bean sprouts (for texture)
- Fry chicken with oil in a heated fry pan. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Add laska paste and fish sauce and stir.
- Add coconut cream and chicken stock, stir and simmer for 10 minutes.* Add snow peas or snap peas in the last 3 – 5 minutes.
- Add lime juice and heat through.
- Prepare noodles by soaking in hot water for 5 – 10 minutes. Drain noodles and place in bottom of bowls.
- Pour chicken laksa over the noodles.
- Garnish with sprigs of coriander and red chilli slices.* Add fresh bean sprouts.
Usually, I do all the recipe spotting, but it was my gf son who found this recipe for Buttermilk Onion Rings and asked “how difficult is it to convert it to gluten free?” To which the answer was “should be easy”.
And easy it is….
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup gf plain flour
1/2 cup gf cornflour
1 large brown onion, sliced into 3mm thick rings and separated
Canola oil for deep frying
Using a deep fryer* is best but you can also use a large heavy saucepan half filled with oil on medium-high heat.
Place buttermilk in a bowl.
Place flours in a flat dish, stir to mix the two flours and season with salt and pepper (you can add paprika).
Work in batches. Toss onion rings in the flour mixture and then dip the rings into the buttermilk and let excess drip from rings before returning to flour.
Fry onion rings in batches for 3 minutes or until golden. Remove and transfer to paper towel. Season lightly with sea salt.
There is a bacon ailoi in the recipe which is very tempting indeed.
*Deep Fryer – If you have kitchen cupboard space then I suggest a deep fryer as I find the temperature is more controlled than in a saucepan on the stove. I use it for Ricotta Dumplings, Sweet Potato Chips, our alternative to KFC
A gluten free diet for a child or teenager of coeliac disease requires a team effort.
Family members and friends become an important support network to minimise gluten contamination.
Siblings accept some changes to their own diet and also have to learn protocols regarding cross-contamination.
Parents source gluten free products and step outside their comfort zone to bake gluten free bread and make gluten free look appetising.
Grandparents scan magazines for new gluten free recipes and also learn to cook ‘gluten free’ for those special occasions.
Friends take on responsibility to make sure gluten free is on the menu at social events and functions.
Last week had my gf son, KJ and myself bond over a team effort to make Strawberry Jam. At this point, I will point out that I have never made jam myself. At KJ’s instigation, I purchased the ingredients.
Mum: Have you had a look at a few recipes for how to make Strawberry Jam?
KJ: No, but it can’t be that hard. (I hope she doesn’t take over like she normally does)
Mum: Well I printed three recipes that I think you should read first as they all different regarding ratio of sugar to strawberries. Do you want to use lemon juice, chia seeds, vanilla seeds as there are many variations on a theme?
KJ: How many strawberries do we have?
Mum: Well I think you should sterilize the jars first and I like this recipe but you have to let the strawberries and sugar sit for 1 – 2 hours. And don’t wash the strawberries, I am sure I read somewhere that the excess water will make the strawberries too soft.
KJ: Any chance of you doing the jars and I’m not waiting 2 hours before I can cook the jam. (Weighing, cutting and sterilising jars all at the same time)
Mum: Have you decided which recipe to use?
KJ: Simple… I’ll use the recipe on the (jam setting) sugar packet. I don’t know why you make things so complicated.
Mum: (Neither do I, but I always thought research was a good way to start if you wanted to succeed) Have you put two plates in the freezer yet?
Mum: Because it says here in MY recipe that you need cold plates to test if the jam is ready.
KJ: Yep, this is looking good and EASY. (I told her so)
……continued banter regarding colour, what a rolling boil is, how long to boil for, if the sample was set etc…
KJ: What other kinds of jam can we make? What goes in a marmalade? What about mango chutney? Grandad used to make mango chutney.
Mum: (I wish KJ was more careful when he poured the jam into the jars and cleaned up the spills) What great colour! (Maybe this time I can entice KJ to have a photo taken for my blog) You do know that I am already drafting a blog in my mind while we have been doing this!
KJ: Do you think Grandad would like a jar of jam?
Team Work : Success Guaranteed
Great for an easy weekend meal or a snack or a way to use up left over meats.
There are so many variations on this theme with this recipe using a few core ingredients. You can use left over roast chicken or a store bought bbq chicken or shredded Sun Pork. You can substitute cabana for chorizo and you can add in 1/4 cup taco sauce or a small can of red kidney beans.
500 g cooked chicken diced
4 shallots, finely sliced
2 chorizo chopped and cooked
1 red chili finely diced
150 – 200 g grated cheese (we use a Pizza Cheese packet mix or use half mozzarella and half cheddar)
Salt and pepper to taste
8 corn tortillas
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.
Lay out 4 corn tortillas and divide mixture evenly between them. Top with remaining tortillas.
Place under the griller (two at a time) or use a large heavy duty non stick frying pan (one at a time).
Once browned, turn over tortilla and cook the other side until the cheese is melting.
Cut quesadillas into quarters and serve.
I hadn’t given much thought to making a sweet and sour Chinese recipe but we were introduced to this meal recently as it is one of two gluten free menu options at a local Thai takeaway. So out came my Woman’s Weekly Chinese Cooking Class Cookbook circa 1980’s. To my surprise, I found many recipes which are suitable for people who eat gluten free : Sate Beef, Beef with Black Bean Sauce, Beef with Noodles, Ginger Garlic Chicken, Chicken and Almonds, Spiced Chicken, Spiced Pork. So long as you use gluten free noodles, soy sauce and noodles, as well as check your spices, a majority are great gluten free recipes. Upon reflection, Chinese recipes seemed to have gone out of fashion as we have adapted our tastes to Thai and Vietnamese inspired meals, but I now have a number of recipes marked for future dinners.
Sweet and Sour Pork
1.25 kg lean pork chops
2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 egg yolk
Cornflour gluten free
Oil for deep frying
1 large onion sliced
8 shallots sliced diagonally
1 red capsicum cubed
125 g mushrooms sliced
1 medium cucumber, remove seeds and cut in slices
2 sticks celery sliced
3 tablespoons oil
470 g can pineapple pieces, drained reserve syrup
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
¼ cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 chicken stock cube
1 ½ tablespoons cornflour, extra
Combine sugar, half soy sauce, sherry and egg yolk and stir well.
Cut meat into 2.5 cm cubes and place in marinade. Stir until meat is coated. Cover and leave for 1 hour.
Drain meat from marinade and reserve liquid. Toss meat lightly in cornflour.
Heat oil, cook meat until golden brown and cooked through (about 7 minutes). Do this in several batches. Drain meat on paper towel. (I use a small deep fryer which cooks the meat efficiently)
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large pan and add all the prepared vegetables, sauté three minutes.
Add pineapple syrup with marinade from meat with remaining soy sauce, tomato sauce, vinegar and stock cube. Blend extra cornflour with water and add to pan. Stir until sauce boils and thickens.
Add pineapple pieces, season with salt and pepper.
Add pork, stir through until combined and meat is heated through.
My latest mission is to find a cooking chocolate without gluten, without the words ‘may contain gluten’ and without the words ‘made on machinery where gluten is processed’. Cadbury (in Australia) has recently relabelled their products to “better reflect the allergens that may be present on our manufacturing lines”. My son’s second endoscopy and biopsies still showed patches of chronic inflammation so we are trying to tighten up all possibilities of contamination.
Lindt has a Dessert 70% Cocoa Cooking Chocolate but the price reflects the ‘specialty’ labelling. Nestle Chocolate Melts have been recommended but as a good chocolate it has its limitations. Once again, I am sure the product is out there, it is just a matter of me finding it.
I would normally make these Chocolate Spiders with a milk chocolate but I had to go with the Lindt which is dark and rich.
Update: I have found Sweet William Gluten Free Cooking Buttons, available in White and Milk Chocolate. Sweet William exports to a number of countries in the world as well.
2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
200 g cooking chocolate (milk or dark)
Microwave chocolate and peanut butter in a microwave safe dish on 60 seconds on high. Stir and if not fully melted, then microwave for 5 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until ingredients are melted.
Stir in noodles.
Spoon mixture into patty cake paper cases or drop spoonfuls onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Refrigerate until set.
Chang’s have other gluten free products (in a purple packet) available.
Thin Omelette Wraps
Omelette Wraps can be used in much the same way as rice wraps, torillas and flour wraps. They are simple to make and add variety to a rather restricted diet.
In those early days of my son’s coeliac disease diagnosis, before we found a bread my teenager would eat, before I felt confident enough to make bread rolls and focaccias and before we found a routine with gluten free food, weekend lunches did my head in.
Weekend lunches became pizzas or nachos. Unfortunately these were two ‘easy’dinner meals we used for busy nights or those nights when everyone in the family were doing different things. So taking pizza and nachos out of our dinner menu put more pressure on meals for dinners.
So I started to think outside the square and remembered how once I went to Chinese cooking classes and we made thin omelettes. We have mainly used them with a spicy mince filling. I have also seen them used as a lunch wrap. But considering my teenager was already struggling with how his school lunch looked to others, we did not push this one onto him.
2 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper to season
- Whisk ingredients in a bowl.
- Pour 1/3 – ½ cup of mixture onto crepe maker and spread with batter spreader.
- When cooked, flip and cook the other side.
PS I can’t emphasis enough about how essential the crepe maker is to our gluten free cooking: flour wraps, flat breads, pancakes, crepes, galettes, thin egg omelettes….
This recipe was a family favourite before GF, both because of its simplicity and also because of its heartiness.
Personally, it also connects me to my heritage. My paternal grandparents migrated to Australia from Barcelona and in the last few years my group of cousins have gathered for a family celebration in true Catalan style: a long late Spanish themed lunch. We celebrated this year in Brisbane on Sunday: olives, chorizo, roasted garlic and capsicums, jambon serrano, paella, roasts cooked over an open fire….
So if you want to be tempted by the tastes of Spain, then give this meal a try.
2 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 GF chorizo, sliced
1 red capsicum, deseeded, chopped
2 brown onions, halved lengthways, thinly sliced
2 tsp smokey paprika
800 g chicken thigh fillet, cut into 3 cm cubes
400 g can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup pitted black olives
1.Heat half the oil in a large deep frying pan over medium heat. Add half the garlic, chorizo, capsicum and half the onion. Cook for 8 minutes stirring occasionally or until onion is soft. Stir in paprika and cook for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add chicken, tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Season with salt and ground balck pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in olives.
2. While chicken is cooking. Cook rice as an accompaniment.
( from Woolworths Fresh magazine : Cool and Cosy)