Gluten-Free Indian Cuisine, Part 4 of 4: Dal Makhani

Indian food, whether dining out or staying in, always has that kick of flavor that is sure to help you spice up your gluten-free diet. Our first post discussed the intricacies of dining out at a gluten-free restaurant, including tips on which ingredients to avoid, what questions to ask, and how to best use our dining cards. Next we showed you how to make Tandoori chicken, a North Indian dish with all the right flavors and seasonings to make it a classic family dinner dish.

Gluten-Free Indian Food

In the final post in our series on Indian food, we’ll show you how to make dal makhani, a lentil dish with loads of spices and seasoning and cooked to a buttery, velvety texture. We first ate this dish at Haandi, a local Indian restaurant, and it was delicious and gluten-free. However, this is not always the case. Watch out for hing, which is an Indian spice we first talked about in our first post. This spice is often milled with wheat, so be sure to check with the chef before ordering at an Indian restaurant!

Hing is believed to be an antiflatulent by some, and so you’ll find this in lentil dishes more frequently than in other Indian dishes. However, in my experience, hing is used more in home cooking than in restaurants.  (Perhaps because any post-meal flatulence isn’t really the restaurant’s problem. Patrons are usually long gone by the time “consequences” roll around!)

Below, reprinted from the Veggie Cookbook blog, is a recipe for gluten-free dal makhani. Enjoy! And tell us what you think!

Ingredients

1 cup whole urad or black gram lentil
1/3 cup kidney beans (rajma)
1 tbps grated ginger
2 tsp coarsely ground fennel seeds
Red chili powder

1 tsp. turmeric powder
3-4 tbs. ghee or clarified butter or oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp minced ginger & garlic
1 medium onion (thinly chopped ,optional)
2-3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
1/2 cup fresh cream.
2 tbs. chopped coriander leaves (optional)
Salt to taste
5-6 cups water (to cook dal)

Directions

Wash and soak black urad whole and rajma overnight. Then, cook in 5-6 cups of water with salt, red chili powder, fennel seeds powder, turmeric, and grated ginger till dal and rajma are soft. Lightly mash the dal and rajma mixture and set aside.

In a separate pan, heat oil or butter. Add cumin seeds and hing and cook until you hear them crackle and pop. Add ginger, garlic, chopped onions, and cook until the onions turn light brown. Add garam masala and chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are soft. Add in the mashed dal and rajma to this mixture. You may also want to add some water to bring it to your desired consistency. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Next, add fresh cream and let it simmer for 5 more minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Gluten-free Chocolate Cake from Pamela's Passes Taste Test with Flying Colors!

CakeRecently I won a bag of Pamela’s Products gluten-free Chocolate Cake Mix. Since a gluten-free friend of mine had used this Pamela’s mix before, she suggested I make a chocolate sour cream cake, for which the recipe is on the bag. There are actually many different recipes on the bag, including a chocolate loaf cake. I assume this is like a chocolate quick bread of sorts. Since I love most any kind of quick bread, I’ll have to make that next time.

The chocolate sour cream cupcakes I made with the mix were absolutely delicious! They were very chocolaty, moist and good enough for gluten eaters to scarf down. I served the cupcakes at a get together where people who eat gluten came back for seconds. That is the true taste test of a gluten-free product for me!

As always, none of the guests that can eat gluten were told the food was gluten-free. Otherwise, they probably would not tasted the food in the first place. More than one person asked how I made such great cupcakes without flour. I explained that there are many flours that are not made from wheat, and that I’d actually used a gluten-free cake mix that contained almond flour, among other things.

To frost the cupcakes, I made homemade chocolate frosting using this recipe from Recipe Zaar. Please note this is not a gluten-free website, but one I get outstanding recipes from all the time. The frosting recipe is super easy to make and quite delicious. In the past, I have enjoyed Pamela’s Dark Chocolate Frosting and it’s outstanding in both taste and texture. Since I don’t think it’s hard to make frosting from scratch, I rarely use frosting mixes. If you like using mixes, the Pamela’s Dark Chocolate Frosting Mix is definitely one to try!

Because I like to know how well things freeze, I froze a half dozen unfrosted cupcakes and frosting on the side. One week later I defrosted a cupcake. It was still tasty but it was not as good as it was the day it was made or the day after. When I make cake from this mix in the future, I’ll do so when it will be eaten within two days. I find this is needed for most gluten-free cake mixes I’ve tried. The chocolate frosting defrosted quite well but I already knew that from previous freezing experiments. The frosting pretty much tasted the same as it did the day I’d made it two weeks prior.

Other mixes from Pamela’s Products that we enjoy are the Cornbread & Corn Muffin Mix, the Pancake & Baking Mix and the Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. I use the baking mix for muffins and quick breads and make killer pan bars with of the cookie mix. By the way, muffins, quick bread and cookie bars made with these mixes all freeze really well!

Pamela’s Products offerings and many other baking mix lines are listed in The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide. Let us know what your favorite Pamela’s Products mix is in the comments below.

All zpizza locations offer gluten-free pizza!

provenceOne of the main things people who can’t eat gluten miss when dining out is pizza. I never made pizza before my celiac diagnosis but I soon learned that I had to start, or go without it. At that time, we did not have any gluten-free pizza options in Atlanta.

Even though I eventually settled on the pizza crust mix from Gluten Free Naturals (which is excellent by the way), I don’t think a pizza made in a home oven will ever be as good as one from a pizza place. These days Atlanta seems to be in a race with NYC in regards to how many places offer gluten-free pizza. Therefore I very rarely make pizza at home anymore.

But not everyone lives in NYC or Atlanta. Presently, zpizza has 88  locations around the U.S. They came to offer gluten-free pizza because the CEO’s sister has celiac and he wanted her to be able to enjoy pizza. The rest as they say, is history. Now anyone near a zpizza location can enjoy great gluten-free pizza as well. There are new stores set to open in NYC (in the West Village) and San Francisco!

The CA based company started rolling out their gluten-free service slowly. They wanted to get it right of course, but the company just confirmed to me that they now offer gluten-free pizza at all zpizza locations! The company prides itself on using fresh ingredients and offering interesting toppings. The result of their efforts is great tasting unique pizzas! I’ve only eaten at the Metro Atlanta locations in  Alpharetta and Duluth. Those stores actually offer gluten-free brownies and carrot cake! Sorry – this is available only in the Atlanta area.

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Don’t worry, you can order an apple pie pizza if you can’t get cake or a brownie at your zpizza. It’s sort of a large dessert and will serve 2-4 people. It’s a wonderful apple dessert, with a strong almond flavor. I order it without the extra almonds on top.

The carrot cake is some of the best in town and a gluten eating friend of mine could not believe the brownie was gluten-free. The trick is that zpizza does not tell their gluten eating patrons those two desserts are gluten-free. This is how they can afford to stock them – they sell them to everyone. And everyone loves them because they are in fact, quite delicious! If you want to make your own carrot cake, check out this post.

Danny Kim owns the two zpizza locations in the burbs here. He’s very involved with the local gluten-free and Autistic communities.  zpizzawould do well to have more people like Danny owning stores around the country. Danny and his right hand man, Glenn Hockert, are simply fine individuals. They very much care that we get safe gluten-free pizza and even desserts – what more could we ask for?

Let us know if you have a zpizza location near you in the comments below. If you’re not sure – check out the locations here!

Blogger of the Month – September 2009

Kathleen RealeOur blogger of the month is Kathleen Reale over at BeFreeForMe. Kathleen was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2004 and decided to put her business expertise to good use by creating the first and only web site to offer coupons and samples to gluten and food allergy-free consumers.

Kathleen’s past extensive business success has been duplicated with this new venture, dedicated to helping the allergen free community live easier, tastier and less expensive lives. We can all benefit from that!

Like the rest of us, Kathleen quickly figured out that living a gluten-free lifestyle takes preparation, time and money. Her sky rocketing grocery bills prompted her to put her marketing and event planning experience to work. And that is how BeFreeForMe came to be.

On the blog part of the website, Kathleen shares product reviews of items she thinks her readers will enjoy knowing about. You’ll find informative articles that address the allergen-free lifestyle.  The allergens addressed on the website are gluten, dairy, soy, nuts and fish.

This except from the BeFreeForMe website explains how they came up with these particular allergens –

Why are there only five categories for the allergens (gluten, fish, dairy, nuts and soy)?  Why didn’t you subcategorize the nut category between peanuts and tree nuts, or separate wheat from the gluten category?

BeFreeForMe researched the feasibility of breaking down the allergens further than the five allergen categories currently being used (gluten, nuts, dairy, fish and soy).  After the research, it was decided to use these five broader allergen labels, since there can be replacement product used (i.e. many recipes generalize ingredients such as “nuts” or “seafood” with no specification to the type or source) We suggest that you explore each one of our recipes and further evaluate the specific ingredients, and if any contain the allergen specific to your concern.

The recipe section of  BeFreeForMe offers recipes in every category from appetizers to dessert. The really neat part of their system is that you can choose up to five allergens to avoid. You just check all items you can’t eat and search the recipes – it’s that simple! Just for fun I searched for gluten, dairy and soy free recipes and over 150 of them popped up. Now that is quite impressive!

BeFreeToMe+Logo+Outlines[1]

At BeFreeForMe you can sign up to receive coupons and samples sent directly to your home. This offer also includes a Newsletter – sent to your inbox monthly. There are three other free services you can sign up for as well. You can join BeFreeForMe and start saving money today! If you are already a member, let us know in the comments below.

Blogger of the Month – September 2009

Kathleen RealeOur blogger of the month is Kathleen Reale over at BeFreeForMe. Kathleen was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2004 and decided to put her business expertise to good use by creating the first and only web site to offer coupons and samples to gluten and food allergy-free consumers.

Kathleen’s past extensive business success has been duplicated with this new venture, dedicated to helping the allergen free community live easier, tastier and less expensive lives. We can all benefit from that!

Like the rest of us, Kathleen quickly figured out that living a gluten-free lifestyle takes preparation, time and money. Her sky rocketing grocery bills prompted her to put her marketing and event planning experience to work. And that is how BeFreeForMe came to be.

On the blog part of the website, Kathleen shares product reviews of items she thinks her readers will enjoy knowing about. You’ll find informative articles that address the allergen-free lifestyle.  The allergens addressed on the website are gluten, dairy, soy, nuts and fish.

This except from the BeFreeForMe website explains how they came up with these particular allergens –

Why are there only five categories for the allergens (gluten, fish, dairy, nuts and soy)?  Why didn’t you subcategorize the nut category between peanuts and tree nuts, or separate wheat from the gluten category?

BeFreeForMe researched the feasibility of breaking down the allergens further than the five allergen categories currently being used (gluten, nuts, dairy, fish and soy).  After the research, it was decided to use these five broader allergen labels, since there can be replacement product used (i.e. many recipes generalize ingredients such as “nuts” or “seafood” with no specification to the type or source) We suggest that you explore each one of our recipes and further evaluate the specific ingredients, and if any contain the allergen specific to your concern.

The recipe section of  BeFreeForMe offers recipes in every category from appetizers to dessert. The really neat part of their system is that you can choose up to five allergens to avoid. You just check all items you can’t eat and search the recipes – it’s that simple! Just for fun I searched for gluten, dairy and soy free recipes and over 150 of them popped up. Now that is quite impressive!

BeFreeToMe+Logo+Outlines[1]

At BeFreeForMe you can sign up to receive coupons and samples sent directly to your home. This offer also includes a Newsletter – sent to your inbox monthly. There are three other free services you can sign up for as well. You can join BeFreeForMe and start saving money today! If you are already a member, let us know in the comments below.