Gluten free Chinese food
- cooked at home

My sister in law had been lamenting the lack of gluten free Chinese food available, so for her wedding anniversary I sent her a new book, The Gluten Free Asian Kitchen by Laura B. Russell, to try out. If the photographs in the book were anything to go by, the results were going to be delicious!

Jenny chose 3 recipes to cook for her anniversary dinner, which although not necessarily Chinese, did come from the Orient...

  • Vietnamese-Style Sizzling Rice Crepes from page 74
  • Spring Vegetable Fried Rice from page 104
  • Shaking Beef from page 162

I asked her to write up her results for the site so here is her report.

Vietnamese-Style Sizzling Rice Crepes

This recipe sounded tantalizing, if not quite gluten free Chinese food, so I had to pick it for our starter. I had to improvise slightly, as I did not have all of the ingredients - but then you soon learn to do that when following a gluten free diet.

One thing I did have was freshly milled rice flour from Carol's Wondermill grain mill. After seeing that machine in use, I just have to get one of my own! But I digress...

Following the recipe I mixed up my batter, which was light and amazingly smooth.

The next job was to make the filling. This was fun, as I had a new garlic press to play with. Our old one, had sadly given out on us some months ago, and we hadn't found a suitable replacement until recently. We did manage to find a stainless steel garlic press with dual interchangeable head which was easy for my husband to grip as he suffers from arthritis.

It is at this point that I have to confess that cooking crepes/pancakes is not truly my strong point. As usually happens when I try, they stuck to the pan!

Maybe I didn't use enough oil? Or perhaps I need a new pan? However, although they did not look attractive enough to take a photo for you, rest assured that they tasted divine, even if I did overdo it on the bean sprouts. My own fault for not paying more attention to the recipe in the book, which was for 6 servings, not two.

The aroma that filled the kitchen while they were cooking was wonderfully oriental. Yummmmmm.

I couldn't believe how easy these were to put together, and this recipe will definitely be repeated in our house - in fact the ingredients are already on next week's shopping list.

Spring Vegetable Fried Rice

Now you can't have gluten free Chinese food without fried rice, can you?

Once again I had to make an alteration when it came to the ingredients as chilies and my tummy do not go well together, so they were omitted both from this dish and the main course.

Tim took on the job of cooking the rice, as he is much better at it than me. He also forgot to reduce the quantity shown in the book and we had enough rice to feed the entire street when he had finished, although it was too good to share!

I did feel that the cooking time given in the book was a little short, although as we prefer our vegetables al'dente we were more than happy with the result.

In fact, Tim exclaimed "Now this is how you cook egg fried rice!".

Shaking Beef

One of the main problems with Chinese take-aways is that they use a lot of soy sauce. Cooking gluten free Chinese food at home means you can make sure that a gluten free soy sauce such as Tamari, is used, as in this recipe.

This main course was shown served on a bed of watercress in The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen but our local supermarket did not have any for sale so we served it on top of the rice.

Neither of us left the kitchen while this main course was cooking - not because it was difficult, but due to the gorgeous aroma coming from the pan.

The promise it held was borne out when we ate it. The beef had a pungent, peppery flavor and the sauce was smooth, not greasy, and bound the flavors together. Wonderful!

Summary of the book review

We both really enjoyed cooking gluten free Chinese food (and Vietnamese) at home for our wedding anniversary meal. The recipes in the book turned out very well and will most certainly be repeated.

I found the guide to ingredients at the front of the book to be very helpful indeed. Without it, I would not have know what mirin, miso or nori were, or whether they were gluten free, for example. The book also gave an indication as to where these ingredients could be found - your local grocery store, a natural food store or a specialist Asian market.

There was one area where the book could have been improved, in my opinion. There were no timings given for the recipes. It would have been handy to know how long the preparation should take, something which would have made the planning stage easier.

I would heartily recommend this book to anyone who thinks that having been put on a gluten free diet means they can never indulge in Oriental food again. They most certainly can!


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