Well, it was about time I finally got around to the recipes! I love cooking, and with two big, hulking boys around, one of whom claims to possess four stomachs – and acts accordingly – I have to do a lot of it, too. The only thing I can say is: Hurray for restaurants!
If you happen to be celiac, if you’re allergic to gluten or wheat, or you just simply want to hop onto the New Age bandwagon and avoid wheat in general, now there are some very easy-to-find, cheap alternatives.
More and more, people are trying to avoid eating wheat and products containing wheat, because even if you are healthy and have no problems with wheat, supposedly it causes some sort of inflammation in human beings, as well as making you feel full and heavy.
I like to use a combination of arepa corn flour, masa arepa, and garbanzo, or chickpea, flour.
You can get arepa flour at Latin food stores or sometimes in major supermarkets. I prefer the yellow variety, but the kind carried by the Eroski supermarket across the street from me is white.
There’s no difference between the two, other than the colour. But yellow just looks more like corn!
Garbanzo flour might be a bit harder to find. Now it is sold in Mercadona here in Spain, so you can get some no matter where in Spain you live. Before, I had to buy it in the Pakistani neighbourhood, the Raval, of Barcelona. When I first came to Malaga I couldn’t find it anywhere, so you can imagine my great joy and delight when I discovered it sitting unobtrusively on the shelf in Mercadona!
Here is an example of a dish I like to make using this combination of flours. These sticks look like French fries, but in reality they are sticks of fried aubergine. Now, fried aubergine is one of my favourite foods in the whole wide world!
It’s easy to make. All you need to do is peel and cut up an aubergine in long sticks. I like to cut up two, because I’m crazy about them!
I dump the flour combination in a bowl with salt and pepper. You can add spices if you like. Garlic powder, chilli powder and parsley are nice additions.
Place the aubergine sticks into a bowl of water and then draw them out one by one and stick them into the bowl of flour. The flour should stick to the sticks nicely with the humidity on them. Then you can just transfer them to a (hot) frying pan with lots of oil, preferably olive oil and not sunflower oil. (I once fried with sunflower oil and by the second batch it had turned BLACK! Never again!)
If you are lucky enough to get virgin unrefined coconut oil at a modicum price, supposedly that is even better than olive oil for frying. I am not lucky enough to get coconut oil at a modicum price here in Spain, so I use olive oil. (If you are in Spain, Fitovitalia now sells coconut oil at high range jewellery prices. They have a shop here in Malaga but will ship to anywhere in Spain for a very very reasonable shipping rate. Vamos, let’s just say, it costs less for them to ship the package to my door than it does for me to pack up my two kids onto a city bus to and from the store.)
These aubergines coated in this gluten-free combination come out light, crispy, delicate. They don’t leave you feeling fat and full and like you need a nap urgently, the way wheat flour does.
My youngest son loves anything that you can put into your mouth, so we usually share this plate together. My oldest won’t look at anything that comes from a plant or grows from the ground, so he usually passes.
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