Gluten Free Korean Beef

Sapporo. A city in Northern Japan, but more importantly, (well, maybe less importantly) my favorite restaurant in the entire world. This little number of a Japanese buffet (think classy Ala cart, not hot bar Chinese)  was a reward for a hard day, or a celebration of good times, or heck, just the place I would go fairly often when I had a hankering for some delicious grub.

There were competing Japanese Buffets around, and I tried them all, but NONE compared to Sapporo.

Here, you could sample sirloin tips in garlic, or crispy tempera shrimp, or a delightful shrimp tempura roll, but one thing that stuck out to me on this menu was the BBQ beef ribs. Not the kind of BBQ ribs you would find at Chilis, but a Korean style rib cut thinly across the bone and marinated in a mix of soy, sugar, sesame oil, and garlic.

Beef Bulgogi, as they would call it in Korea, was listened number 23 on the “World’s 50 most delicious foods” by CNN in 2011. That’s some good beef right there.

We could usually polish off several orders of this beef before sauntering home and falling into a 4 hour soy-induced nap.Those were good days. Now, having Celiac, I would get a stomach ache just walking into Sapporo I’m sure.

While attempted to make this recipe, my husband and I made several different recipes from the web. Coming in first place was Epicurious’s rendition of this tasty treat. I learned that traditionally you BBQ the meat, then wrap it in lettuce (like a Korean lettuce wrap) and eat with fresh garlic and green chili. Anxious to try the traditional way, I foolishly bit into a full clove of garlic and ¼ raw green chili pepper, and couldn’t get the fire out of my mouth for a few hours.

Fittingly so, as Bulgogi means “fire meat” in Korean. But boy, was it worth it.

Here is my gluten free adaption of this fantastic dish!

Gluten Free Korean Beef Recipe

gluten free version loosely adapted from Chef John J. Nihoff

Servings 2-3

Cost per serving $2.75

1lb Korean style beef short ribs (available at Asian market)

(if unavailable, ask butcher to cut beef sirloin very thinly)

1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce or tamari

2 Tbsp sugar or honey

1 green onion-chopped

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp mirin (Japanese cooking wine)

1/2 medium onion-pureed in food processor

2 cloves garlic-minced

1/2 tsp ginger-minced

2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

2 Tbsp canola oil

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Whisk together gluten free soy, sugar, sesame oil, mirin, onion, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, green onion and black pepper. Pour marinade into large freezer bag and add in ribs. (if you purchased the Korean style ribs, you can cut individual ribs with scissors. They are easier to cook this way) Coat well and let sit for at least 4 hours or overnight in refrigerator.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.

Remove beef from marinade and add to skillet. Cook for 5-7 minutes, turning over a few times. Be careful not to burn it.

You can serve with rice, or the traditional way, with lettuce, garlic and green chili.

Top with additional toasted sesame seeds and enjoy!

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Gluten Free Thai Mango Salad

Flavor Epiphany.

This is the best way I can describe the experience I had when I first tasted this salad. I had ordered takeout from My Thai, one of my favorite places back in the day, and when I bit into this salad, I was shocked. My taste buds had never EVER encountered this intriguing bliss before. Fruit mixed with onion and herbs….what?! It’s not something we do much of in America…at least not where I grew up.

After experiencing this salad, I started to look online for a similar recipe, but for some reason, couldn’t find one. I knew what ingredients were in it, so I just fumbled around the kitchen until I came up with this recipe. It’s not really salad, but it’s not really desert. I am not really sure what to call it, but the bottom line is…..it’s fantastic. 🙂

Gluten Free Thai Mango Salad Recipe

Servings 2-3

Cost per serving 1.50

Ingredients:

2 mangos-green (soft but not over ripe)

3 Tbsp palm sugar (from Asian market) (substitute brown sugar if necessary)

4 Tbsp water

2 limes

¼ red onion

20 mint leaves

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

2-3 Tbsp salted peanuts-chopped

Start by creating a simple syrup. Add 3 Tbsp palm sugar and 4 Tbsp water to saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, then remove from heat.

Julienne your mango and onion, then dice your mint and cilantro. Add mango, onion, mint and cilantro to bowl. Pour in 2 Tbsp of your syrup as well as the juice of 2 limes. Add in the chopped peanuts and mix well. Adjust to taste by adding more lime/syrup.

Hope you enjoy!

Gluten Free Asian Lettuce Wraps

I worked at Chilis a long time ago…like 10 years ago, and one of the dishes they offered was the lettuce wraps. They were AMAZING, but apparently not amazing enough for the general population, as I noticed a few years ago they were no longer a part of the menu. I have also had cheesecake factory’s lettuce wraps, which I thought were good…not awesome. Then there is P.F. Chang’s (or Pei Wei’s) lettuce wraps…very good, but a little salty for me. I am sure there are other amazing lettuce wrap to be found around the globe, but for celiacs, or anyone with gluten intolerance, the soy (and other possible glutinous ingredients) will cause a serious reaction. The hardest part of Asian cuisine is the gluten laden sauces. So, here I find myself making my own. Something I have done for years. (FYI-P.F. Chang’s does have lettuce wraps on their gluten free menu)

These lettuce wraps are gluten free, as well as low carb, and fairly good for you. You can even substitute the gluten free soy (or tamari) for a low sodium one, if you want to cut back on salt.

While my husband and I were eating these, he said to me, “babe, I am so proud of you for doing something so awesome after being kicked in the gut.” I didn’t really understand what he was saying at first, then I realized that he was referring to me starting a food blog after the frustration and devastation of a celiac diagnoses. Yea, I think “kicked in the gut” is a great description. And, yes, I am awesome.  🙂

Hope you like this recipe!

Asian Lettuce Wrap Recipe

Feeds 3-4

Cost $3.25 per serving

2 Tbsp canola oil

1.25 lb package of ground turkey (I use Jennie-O because it’s GF)

1 cup pre-shredded carrots

1 cup chopped mushrooms (shiitake if available)

1 can water chestnuts-chopped

2 cloves garlic-chopped or pressed

2 green onions-chopped

1 Tbsp ginger-grated

5 Tbsp GF soy or tamari

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 ½ Tbsp agave nectar (or sugar if you don’t have agave)

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp cornstarch

1 head lettuce- bosten lettuce forms nice cups, however, iceberg is much crisper, but not as classy

2 Tbsp sliced almonds-for garnishing

Extra shredded carrots-for garnishing

2 Tbsp cilantro-chopped for garnishing-optional

Dipping sauce-recipe following

Mix together your GF soy, rice vinegar, agave, and sesame oil in bowl. Set aside.

Cook the turkey in saucepan until almost browned. Pour out extra liquid. Add in carrots, mushrooms, water chestnuts, garlic, green onions, ginger and the sauce mixture. Mix together well and let simmer a few minutes. Mix cornstarch with a few teaspoons of hot water and mix. Add to saucepan. Continue to let simmer another 5 minutes, or until vegetables are softened. Remove from heat. The longer you let it rest, the better the flavor becomes.

Dipping Sauce

1 ½ Tbsp GF soy sauce

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp grated ginger

½ Tbsp green onion-chopped

1/2 clove garlic-chopped or pressed

1 Tbsp agave nectar

1/8 tsp sesame oil

Mix all ingredients together and whisk. Divide into smaller ramekins or bowls for dipping.

Spoon a few Tablespoons of lettuce wrap mixture into individual leaves of lettuce. Top with raw shredded carrot, sliced almond, and cilantro. Dip into sauce and enjoy!

Gluten Free Thai Basil Chicken

Thai food is so flavorful and fantastic. I first encountered Thai cuisine when I was living in Canada. My loft was in the heart of downtown Hamilton, and located just one block away from My Thai, which became one of my favorite restaurants.

Because I had never had Thai food while living in the states, the menu was foreign to me. I loved to try new things, and usually loved them. My husband and I went through a season where we ordered Thai takeout at least once or twice a week for several months. I usually got the pad Thai, a coconut soup or Tom kha gai, and something else, maybe a curry or my favorite….basil chicken.

I am a sucker for rice with delicious sauce, so Thai basil was a natural choice. It has such a flavorful sauce with sweet and spicy elements, and the licorice tasting Thai sweet basil adds so much to the dish.

Originally the sauce has sweet soy, but I have not yet found a gluten free sweet soy. This recipe doesn’t contain sweet soy and is a glutenless adaption of Foo Swasdee’s recipe. Both soy and oyster sauce contain gluten so make sure you are buying the specified products, or a glutenless alternative.

The Thai chilies, Thai sweet basil, oyster sauce and fish sauce can be found at an Asian market or online.

Hope you LOVE it!

Gluten Free Thai Basil

Makes 3 Servings

Cost: 2.50 per serving

2 Tbsp canola oil

¼ white onion-sliced

3 cloves garlic-mashed or chopped

2-3 Thai chilies-mashed or chopped

1/2 lb chicken breast-sliced

1 cup white mushrooms-sliced

½ Tbsp fish sauce (check for gf)

1 1/2 Tbsp GF oyster sauce (Lee Kum Kee green label)

3/4 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp GF soy (san-j gluten free tamari)

1/3 cup of GF chicken broth (Imagine)

1 sliced red bell pepper

1 cup Thai sweet basil (smells like licorice, if you don’t have an Asian market nearby, you could by this online, or sub regular basil, HOWEVER, you will lose a lot of the “Thai” flavor)

1 tsp cornstarch

Combine the sugar, oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce and chicken broth in bowl.

Heat the oil in large saucepan. Add mashed garlic, chilies, and onion and brown for 30 seconds. Add the chicken and cook until the outside turns white. Add the bowl of liquid ingredients, the red peppers and the mushrooms to the saucepan.

Combine cornstarch with small amount of hot water and whisk. Add to saucepan.

Simmer until chicken is done, 5-10 minutes. Add the basil last. Serve over steamed jasmine or white rice.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Spicy Crab Roll

I LOVE sushi. It is certainly in my top 4 favorite foods. Unfortunately, walking into a sushi restaurant and getting gluten free sushi can be difficult. Trust me, I’ve tried. Usually when I ask a someone if they have a gluten free menu, they say,”gluten?” “what is that?”.  In theory, sushi IS gluten free, but when we start to get fancy with the sauces, your stomach can be compromised….and forget tempera! You might be safe with a plain cucumber role…but what fun is that? As far as I can tell, my only option for sushi (other than driving 8 hours to the nearest posh GFriendly sushi bar) is making it at home.

Although this is homemade, I am excited to say that this sushi IS delicious and tastes very comparable to what I have had in sushi bars, AND at only 2.75 per role, this sushi is a fraction of the cost.

The sushi rice, sushi vinegar and nori can be found at a Asian market, or possibly your local grocer if you are lucky. I drove an hour away to buy these ingredients, and it was worth it! If you don’t have a Asian grocer and you live in an area where you can’t get these ingredients, you can always buy them online. However, I you enjoy Asian food, I would take the time to find your nearest Asian market and stock up on the essentials.

Hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: At the time I made this, all included ingredients were gluten free. Please always read labels yourself to check for gluten. 

Ingredients:

(for 5 rolls-feeds 2-3 people)

Cost= 2.75 per roll

You will need a bamboo sushi mat for this recipe. (Also available at Asian grocers for about $3, or online)

2 Tbsp Sushi vinegar (rice vinegar with added salt and sugar)

1 ½ cups Sushi rice (nishiki is a good brand)

3 Nori seaweed sheets (cut in half)

6oz  (lump) crab meat (REAL crab. Imitation crab has gluten!)

3 Tbsp Mayo (Kraft is GF)

2 ½ tsp Sriracha chili sauce

1 ½ avocados

½ field cucumber

Start by rinsing your sushi rice under running water. Rise 2-3 times until water runs clear.

Mix 1 ½ cups rice with 2 cups water and bring to boil. Once boiling, cover and bring to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.

Spread rice over non-metallic surface and fold in 2 Tbsp sushi vinegar. Spread and let cool.

Mix your crab meat with your mayo and your sriracha. Cut your avocado and cucumber into thin, match like sticks to fit into your roll.

Cover your bamboo sushi mat with a gallon size ziplock bag to keep it clean and non-stick.

Cut your nori sheet in half with scissors. Place your nori sheet on your bamboo mat shiny side down. Spoon on ¾ cup rice per roll. Wet your hands and spread the rice to the ends of the nori.

Once spread, flip nori over, rice side down onto the bamboo mat.

Spread 1 ½ Tbsp of your crab mixture onto your nori and spread through the middle. Pile your cucumber and avocado on top of that.

Now roll your sushi.  (if you need help-learn how here)

Cut into 8 pieces with a sharp knife, wetting with water between slices. Enjoy with GF Tamari!