The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen: Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More by Laura B. Russell
A few weeks ago I was in a rut trying to figure out how to create all-natural, gluten-free Asian food for my family. It’s a bit of a challenge when you can’t use gluten for things like dumplings, and you certainly will not use MSG (monosodium glutamate) in soups and sauces.
Almost by magic, the next day I received the book “The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen: Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More” by Laura B. Russell, an amazing gluten-free chef and author who certainly knows the science and art behind gluten-free cooking. Quite a few recipes caught my eye (see recipe below), and I will certainly be on a gluten-free Asian food kick for the next couple of weeks.
Laura’s physical reactions to gluten seemed quite scary, as told through her introduction – neurological symptoms, like facial numbness and paralysis. It can be all too common for many gluten intolerant sufferers; however, this book makes it very easy to navigate through the aisles (by giving a large list of gluten-free essentials for Asian cooking) and finding ways to create fantastic food without the side effects of the very hard to digest gluten.
Two recipes that really jumped out at me was her “Stir-Fried Beef with Basil” and “Coconut Ice Cream” (dairy-free). Both were amazing and played off each other very nicely–the stir-fried beef served with rice (I used cauliflower rice) and vanilla coconut milk ice cream for dessert. I’m trying out more recipes tonight and the nights to come, like “Tapioca Dumplings with Beef and Shallots” (pg. 62), “Gingery Pork Pot Stickers” (pg. 58), ”Chinese Barbeque Pork” (pg. 169), “Mu Shu Pork” (pg. 170) and “Five-Spice Berry Crisp” (pg. 188).
Here’s what I made from her book:
Stir-Fried Beef with Basil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (coconut oil)
1/2 onion, thinly sliced (1 cup)
1 red jalapeno chili, thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 lb green beans, cut into 3/4 inch lengths
3/4 lb ground beef (grass fed, if you can get it)
1 1/2 tsp. sugar (I used coconut palm sugar)
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce (gluten-free)
1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
1/2 cup fresh Thai basil, cilantro or regular basil
Steamed Rice (optional-I used cauliflower ‘rice’)
Using a large frying pan or wok, heat the oil over medium heat.
Add onion, jalapeno, green bell pepper and green beans. Cook until the vegetables start to soften.
Raise the heat to high as you add the ground beef, and cook until no longer pink. Stir in the sugar and cooke for a minute longer.
Add fish sauce, soy/tamari and basil. Remove pan from heat and toss to combine. Serve over steamed rice.
Steamed Cauliflower “Rice”
1 medium head cauliflower
Steam cauliflower florets until mildly soft. Remove from steamer and let cool. Grate with cheese grater or lightly process it in the food processor to produce “rice”.
Serves 2 to 4
I LOVE the fact that because these recipes are gluten-free, they must be free of MSG, as well. Monosodium glutamate is a common flavour enhancer found in many Asian foods you find at restaurants and grocery stores
Why is MSG bad for the body? Well, not only can it be an excitotoxin and have an effect on neurological function, it has also been used in lab rates to induce obesity at a very fast rate. So yeah, MSG is definitely a no-no when it comes to eating gluten-free, or just healthy in general.
You can pre-order Laura’s book right now. I highly recommend this book to anyone practicing the art of gluten-free, international cooking. It’s loaded full of ideas and knowledge, and I’m very grateful to now have it in my library.
For now, this is The Healthy Advocate.