Tag Archives: rice flour

Gluten-free Goat Cheese Garlic and Cheddar Herb Crackers

Gluten-free Goat Cheese Garlic and Cheddar Herb Crackers

As a dietitian I get asked all the time about gluten-free recipes and food ideas since so many people it seems, either are diagnosed with Celiac Sprue or have developed wheat or wheat-related allergies.  One of the great things about food from different parts of the world, especially South Asia is that a variety of non-wheat based flours are used in cooking.  In any Indian, Bengali or Pakistani grocery store you will find “Besan” which is chickpea flour, split gram flour (a type of lentil), rice flours, potato flour and a myriad of other flours.  They are routinely used for everyday cooking in a variety of ways.  They are much less expensive to buy at an ethnic store than at a “specialty” or “health-food”  store. Not only are these delicious but they add a depth of nutritional content that is not found in traditional processed all-purpose wheat flour.  One of the complaints I hear about those having to go gluten-free is the lack of breads and crackers that taste delicious.  I recently made some homemade Thyme and Rosemary crackers http://kolpona.com/2012/03/21/thyme-and-rosemary-edam-crackers/ and decided that I could make a variation of that using non-wheat flour and the results were truly, truly delicious.  The rice flour adds a crunch to these crackers that make them so addictive that I must confess I ate most of the crackers by myself.  It was a little embarrassing.

Ingredients at a glance

Cream the butter and add the herbs, garlic and cheeses

Roll the dough into a log and wrap with plastic wrap - refrigerate at least 30 minutes

Slice refrigerated dough into 1/8 inch slices

Place about 1 inch apart on a parchment or silpat lined pan

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees

Here’s the recipe:

Gluten-free Goat Cheese Garlic and Cheddar Herb Crackers

1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature

1/3 cup of goat cheese

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1  tsp dried dill

1 tsp dried thyme

1 whole clove garlic, pressed through garlic press

1 cup rice flour

1/4 cup chickpea flour (Besan)

1-2 tsp water (use only if the dough is not coming together)

In a medium-sized bowl cream butter with an electric mixer.  Add in herbs, garlic and cheese and continue mixing until well incorporated.  Slowly add in both the chickpea and the rice flour, add the water if needed for the dough to come together.  I did not add any salt to this recipe since goat cheese is pretty salty.  You can add some kosher salt to taste if you’d prefer. Roll into about a 9″ log and wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and cut the log into 1/8 to 3/8 inch rounds with a sharp knife.  Place on a parchment or silpat  lined cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a cooling rack before serving.  Makes about 24-28 crackers but you can tell others it only makes 6 (which is what I had to do because I ate most of them myself)

Pati Shapta Pitha (Bengali Style Crepes)

Pati Shapta Pitha (Bengali Style Crepes)

Every year during the months of January through March the first crops of rice are harvested and readied in Bangladesh.  The first fresh rice harvest is used in making many different kinds of desserts called “Pitha”.  The tastes are delightful and the season is especially nice and cool.  I loved this time of year growing up, not only because the weather was great but because we got to eat all kinds of Pithas that we never got to enjoy at any other time of year.   Even though we have access to rice flour all year long, it’s especially nostalgic for me to make Pithas in the early part of the year, just because it reminds me of my childhood when things were simple, uncomplicated and filled with simple joys of being with family and friends.

This particular Pitha is called “Pati Shapta” which loosely translated means to make flat and roll.   Which is exactly what this is;  a Bengali crepe!

Pitha (Crepe part):

6 cups All Purpose flour

2 cups Rice Flour

½ cup sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

10 cups water

Sift together all- purpose flour, rice flour, salt and baking powder together.  Add sugar to the mixture and mix well.  Add beaten eggs then slowly add the water whisking to prevent any lumps.  The mixture should be a rather thin batter.

Filling:

8 tablespoons of butter (1 stick)

2 Large Cinnamon sticks

5-6 Cardamom pods, crushed

1 ½ cup Sooji (Farina)

1 Cup Desiccated Coconut (just look for smaller flakes instead of long stringy flakes)

¾ cup brown sugar (or date palm sugar otherwise known as Jaggery, if you have that handy)

1 quart half and half

Let’s start with the filling.  In a heavy bottom 5-6 quart dutch oven heat butter until melted.  Add Cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks and stir fry until fragrant.  Add the Shooji (farina) and cook over medium high heat stirring constantly.

When the color reaches a light  toasty brown color and begins to smell nice and toasty (about 6-8 minutes), add the desiccated coconut flakes and stir fry another 3 minutes.  Slowly add in the half and half to the mixture and continue stirring.  Mixture should start thickening very quickly.

Slowly add brown sugar ¼ cup at a time and tasting as you go along to make sure the sweetness is not too much.  You can add more sugar to make it sweeter or less depending on taste.  Continue stirring until all the liquid is absorbed and the filling  becomes a soft paste like consistency.  Kind of like smooth peanut butter.  Take out the Cinnamon sticks, remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Heat a  5 inch non-stick frying pan over medium high heat, brush the bottom of the pan with a little bit of vegetable oil and pour ¼ cup of batter in the middle and quickly tilt the pan in a circular motion to coat the bottom of the pan and place on back on the heat.  Little bubbles should start appearing all over the batter.  Within  35 seconds or so, the crepe should be ready (do not flip it over).

Take off the heat and place about 2 tablespoons of filling on one edge of the crepe and roll it into a tube.

Lightly flatten.  You can enjoy it warm or at room temperature. Makes about 50 Pithas.  Since each person will at least eat two, it will serve about 20-25 people.