This is the beginning of our third week going gluten and dairy free. Our grocery bill is beginning to finally level out (no longer $200 a week… 😮 ) and the hubby’s headaches are decreasing. I’ll take that as a win. 🙂 In fact, I’m going to try going without my allergy pill this week to see how I react. Fingers crossed and wood knocked on for the best!
However, here are three truths of going gluten and dairy free.
- You won’t believe what products in your cupboards have gluten and dairy. Here is just a sampling: Soy sauce, yeast, curry sauces, corn flakes, vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, french fries, and almost anything processed. AND if it says dairy free, it isn’t necessarily casein or whey free. AND if you’re trying to buy groceries in a hurry, you’ll find yourself looking at labels for a LOT longer than you’ve anticipated.
- The sticker shock is, well, shocking. A tiny packet of gluten free all purpose flour costs $3.99. A loaf of bread? $5.99. A packet of 4 hamburger buns? $5.79. Want to make your own? Be prepared to buy at least four different flours and starches just to make flour and they cost between $3.50 – $8 a packet. Let’s just say no more potlucks for us!
- The food you do make is really delicious. There’s this strange notion still floating about that gluten and dairy free food is mediocre at best. Even those who are gluten free propagate this myth and it’s just not true. I about laughed out loud at my local Trader Joe’s as the worker gushed about how “surprisingly good” their gluten free chocolate chip cookie mix was and how close to a “normal cookie” it resembled. 🙄
Luckily for us, I’m game for cooking new recipes. I’ve had to ditch our weekly pizza (so not paying $11 for a small pizza from Whole Foods) and replace it with new quinoa recipes and our weekly curries are now homemade versus store bought. I made my first batch of saag and basmati with fabulous results! This week is Japanese curry week and since I had to throw out my packet of Golden Curry it was time to look up a good homemade version.
I’ve made homemade curry before with just okay results. It didn’t resemble Japanese curry but more Indian curry. The roux was a wrongly spiced and while it was good, it didn’t quite work as a replacement.
So, I found a new recipe that looked right and subbed out the regular flour with sorghum flour and xantham gum and the beef stock with vegetarian. The result? Nearly perfect! In fact, it was so good, I’m going to make it my go-to recipe. It was a tad bit spicy, so next time I’ll be upping the apple and lessening the amount of spice.
We like to have our curry with tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlets) and potato croquettes. Our Japanese panko is made from wheat, so I bought Ian’s gluten free panko. It’s more “breadcrumb” like than the original panko, but it did coat well and tasted fine – not quite as flaky as the original, but it was still good. I coated thinly sliced tempeh and fried them for a minute or two for my own “katsu” and it was delicious! Crispy, tasty and a great companion for the curry.
Here’s my tweaked recipe for gluten and dairy free vegetarian Japanese curry. And if you need any more prompting, it was just as fast to make this homemade as it was to make it from a packet. I’m not kidding!
Oh, yes, and katsu can also mean “to win”. Coincidence? I think not. 😉
Japanese Curry (Gluten and Dairy Free)
(Note: You can find the original recipe here. Below is the recipe as I made it. Tweak spice to fit your taste and have fun with the veggies.)
- 2 potatoes, peeled and largely diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced in ½ inch chunks
- 1 onion, sliced thinly
- 1/2 apple, peeled and finely grated
- 1 cup mixed vegetables (optional, but we like a lot of veggies in our curry)
- 1 cube vegetable bouillon
- 5 cups water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 4 tbsp margarine (or butter – I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
- 4 tbsp sorghum flour
- ¼ tsp xantham gum
- 1 – 2 tbsp SB curry powder
- 1 – 2 tbsp garam marsala
- Place first 7 ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes begin to soften and then start the roux.
- Melt butter in a pan until bubbly. Add flour and xantham gum and cook for a minute or two – keep stirring the mixture. Add spices and cook for another minute.
- Add roux to the vegetable pot and stir to mix. Once the roux is mixed completely with the vegetables, cook another 5 – 10 minutes before serving.
- Tempeh, very thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill AP Gluten Free Flour)
- 1 egg, beaten
- ¼ cup Ian’s gluten free panko (or your own panko)
- (adjust flour and panko amounts to fit the amount of sliced tempeh)
- Place the flour in a dish, the beaten egg in a bowl and the panko in another dish.
- Dredge tempeh slices in flour, then dip to coat in egg and finally coat with panko. Set aside and repeat with other slices.
- Fry slices for a minute or until golden brown.