7 Gluten Free Grains You Should Know About

Published on www.ndtvfood.com

To live in India with Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance is a blessing as our soil grows a very large variety of gluten free grains. The best gluten free diet is a diet rich in natural gluten free grains. The problem today is that everyone is looking for processed, quick and easily available food. Though a lot of brands have launched “Gluten Free” grain products the problem is these facilities aren’t Celiac friendly which means the products are produced in a facility where wheat is handled too. A word of caution avoid these products. I recommend making food items at home with natural gluten free local grains.

A list of gluten free grains is as follows:

Rice is the seed of grass species Oryza sativa ( Asian Rice). It is the most widely consumed staple in Asia. It is grown in warm parts of the world mainly in Asia, Africa, northern Italy and west coast of North America. Rice has a large variety like brown rice, red rice, black rice and wild rice found in various parts of the world. In a gluten free diet rice is a mother grain and can be used as grain, milled to make flour that can be used to make roti’s, cakes and cookies.

Pseudo Cereals: A pseudo cereal is a one of any non-grasses that is used in much of the same way as a cereal. Common pseudo cereals are Amaranth, Buckwheat, Quinoa and chia. The nutritional value of pseudo cereal is higher than wheat.

  • Amaranth is a cosmopolitan genus of annual or short-lived perennial plants. Some amaranth species are cultivated as leaf vegetables, pseudo cereals, and ornamental plants. Most of the Amaranth species are summer annual weeds and are commonly referred to as pigweed. In India, Amaranth seed is called “Ramdana”. Amaranth has a higher value of protein that wheat.It is very easily available and is an excellent grain that can be substituted as starch in a gluten free cooking. Replace corn-starch with powdered amaranth. My favourite is brownies with amaranth.

  • Buckwheat is a plant cultivated for it’s grain-like seeds and as cover crop. Buckwheat is not related to “wheat” as it is not a grass. Instead it is related to sorrel,knotweed and rhubarb. Buckwheat in India is known as “kuttu” and is eaten during Navaratri a festival.Buckwheat is found as groats known as “Kasha”, hulled, unhulled version. Buckwheat is used to make gluten free beer. The usage of buckwheat is very versatile to make flour for roti, pancakes, cakes and is a great source to substitute instead of wheat.

  • Quinoa is the common name for Chenopodium quinoa of the flowering plant family Amaranthaceous. It is grown as a grain crop primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudo cereal rather than a true cereal, due to it not being a grass. Quinoa is closely related to the edible plants beetroot, spinach and amaranth. Quinoa is found in Peru, Bolivia and Chile. It is not commonly grown in India but now I hear it is been grown in Gujrat. I love giving quinoa to my kids but don’t like to mill it as it is not grown locally.

Small Millets: Small millets are small seeded grains and resembles paddy or rough rice in the morphological features of kernel. The kernel consists of distinct husk, bran and endosperm tissues. These are known as nutria cereals and are a source of food, feed and fodder. Grown mainly in Africa and Asia.  A very large variety of small millets are available these are Finger Millet ( Ragi/ Mandua), Banyard Millet ( Jhangora), Foxtail Millet (Kauni/ Kangni), Kodo Millet ( Kodra/Kodaka), Proso Millet ( Barri, Cheena), Little Millet ( Kutki/ Gundli) and Job’s Tears ( Kauch-gurgur/ Saukru)

Millets can be cooked in the grain form and can be milled to make excellent flour that is multipurpose in nature from roti’s to patties, breads.

Major Millets: The two variety of major millets are Sorghum and Pearl Millet.

  • Sorghum is a genus of plants in the grass family. A native to Australia with a range grown in India, Africa and Asia. In India it is called “Jawar” it is easily available at a local store. Jawar can be milled to make flour that is used to make roti’s and it is used as a blend in the gluten free flour to make all baked goods.

  • Pearl Millet is called Bajra and is very commonly used in India. It is the fourth most important cereal, surpassed only by rice, wheat and sorghum. It can be grown on poor, sandy soils in low rainfall areas and it has a high storage life. I love to create all baked goods with Bajra. It is commonly used to make roti with.

Corn or Maize is a large grain plant first domesticated by indigenous people in Mexico. The six major types of corn are dent corn, flint corn, pod corn, popcorn, flour corn and sweet corn. Maize kernels are often used in cooking as starch. Corn is known as “Butta” in India as is easily available as fresh, dried and can be milled to make flour. Corn is the most popular grain in the world. I love corn in all it’s form the fresh ones, the milled ones.

Being Gluten Free is very easy! The problem is people aren’t sensitive to the fact you have an allergy that has “NO CURE”. On a personal note I struggle each day with my child and meet so many who are struggling too. Create various of early detection of Celiac Disease and create environments that cares.

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