Wednesday, 5 October 2011

How to Cook Gluten Free Noodles

One of the first things you think when you 'go gluten free' is all the stuff you can't eat.  And if you focus hard enough on that you can make the whole thing a nightmare.  One of the fastest ways to make yourself unhappy is to try to replace all your old eats with gluten free versions.  You are only going to be disappointed, miserable and hungry.  There really are only a few things that I had to find a decent replacement for and noodles is one of them.  I have two kids of course I need noodles in the house!!

So here is a 'how to' on rice noodles so you won't be disappointed, miserable and never hungry.

Don't try to make classically Italian dishes with the Asian style rice noodle.  The Asian style is thin and usually made with a white rice.  These need to be flash cooked and are never served swimming in a sauce like spaghetti.  Find a nice, preferably organic brown rice noodle.  I like the penne and rotini best.  I find the spaghetti or long noodle version of these rice noodles pretty lame and have an alternate substitute for that...more on that later.

You want to cook these noodles in much more water than you would cook wheat noodles.  They need to have some of their starch cooked out of them. I would say in half again the amount of water (so if you would cook the wheat version in 6 cups of water, then cook these in 9 cups) .  Cook normally, letting the salted water boil before adding the noodles.  Ignore the cooking times listed on the bag....I find they are all way longer than needed.  Boil, stirring occasionally until when bitten the noodle has a soft texture but still firm in the middle.  You want it to to undercooked enough that it makes your teeth stick together a little. At this point drain them and stop the cooking by rinsing them with cold water.  If you don't rinse them they will cool in to a lump.  You need to get the starch off.  Finish the cooking and warm them up by tossing them in the sauce you are serving them in.  Don't let them cook like this, just get them nice and hot.  Then serve.

When cooked like this you will never miss wheat pasta.  Now a year and a half gluten free I have a hard time remembering what the difference is.

Grilled vegetable pasta with tomatoes


Cath said...

Great tips! What motivated you to reduce/remove gluten from your family's diet?

Emily Grace said...

Soon after the twins were born I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease. It is an auto-immune that attacks your thyroid. I was put on thyroid hormone replacement meds (Synthroid) but never felt any relief from the symptoms of the disease. I started seeing a Naturopath who told me that the gluten molecule and thyroid tissue look very similar to each other to your immune system. So essentially eating gluten would cause me to have an immune response and my immune system would start to attack my thyroid as well as my gut. So I have 'by proxy' Celiac disease....although the Mayo Clinic in the US is currently running a huge study on the connection between Celiac and Hashimoto's. They kinda wonder 'which came first'. I may have had un-diagnosed Celiac that eventually caused the Hashimoto's. Either way I haven't purposely eaten it in about a year and a half and the kids are on a very low-gluten diet. There are little to no health benefits to them eating gluten and my health issues are so genetic that my hope is by keeping them as gluten free as possible I will lower their chances of developing any of this. Next time they need blood work for what ever reason I will get the doctor to add in tests for both and see if either of them have anything that would warrant they go COMPLETELY gluten free. For now almost all food at home is gluten free (my husband always has a loaf of wheat based bread to pack lunches for work)but I am very casual about what they eat at birthday parties etc.

Cath said...

That is very interesting. Have you ever tried making gluten-free bread? With coconut flour or rice flour? I wonder if it's good. Something for me to try in my breadmaker one day!