Being Gluten Free in Pakistan + Gluten Free Burger Bun Recipe
Tough. That is what it is. Probably gluten free life style is hard and expensive everywhere. What I am sharing in this post is my personal struggle and experience in managing, meeting and dealing with the requirements of gluten free diet. You see we don’t really get how dietary restrictions effect a whole family unless we face one. Wheat is a major part of Pakistani staple diet and it is difficult to plan a meal without it. ( Somehow I can’t stop imagining Ted and Robin from How I Met Your Mother doing a salute saying “major part”)
Initially, when my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease, I started making boiled, fried or steamed rice for her instead of roti, chapatti, paratha or naan. We became more cautious of where to buy organic corn and gram flour from to avoid contamination. Her pediatrician had his reservations even about imported processed food with the gluten free label! The situation was overwhelming and all the (google) researches were too much to process.
The Dark Side!
When you have a particular situation, it seems like everyone has it too. People I met with wheat and gluten allergies avoid products containing wheat and gluten but not a single one was interested in gf experimental cooking…Literally NONE. My daughter co operated well and accepted the set back but when there was pizza, there were tantrums. I felt so bad. I couldn’t just stop baking or cooking using wheat nor could I bear the look on her face. Recipes I found online had ingredients that we didn’t (still don’t) have and there was (is) absolutely nothing on local print or social media. I worked with different proportions of rice and corn flours to make bread, muffins, rolls, cakes and what not. I used mashed boiled potatoes to make pizza base and lasagna layers. 70% of these attempts were epic failures, 20% average outcome and 10% were pure Eeewww!
A year later my husband became intolerant…I mean gluten intolerant. Just what I needed.. Panic mode activated.
Home Cook Rises!
As mentioned in some older posts, I found a local brand of gluten free flours. They offer few blends of different flours and I particularly like Platinum Diet Flour which is a blend of rice, quinoa and sorghum (jawar in Urdu) flours. Most gf baking success stories include this hero product in my (to-be written-soon-In Sha Allah) cook book. I am still learning and experimenting and I want to share the adventures of this journey with gluten free community of Pakistan specially to be inspired and to bring variety to gluten free meal planning as there is no bakery, no restaurant in the country catering this particular requirement.
Gluten Free Buns Recipe
Don’t expect it to be like regular bun. The dough would be a little tricky to handle and shape, it wont rise much and be fluffy as there is no wheat flour involved. My family approved it.
ingredients: (yields 4 buns)
1 3/4 cups gluten free flour ( I used Platinum flour)
1/8 cup cooking oil ( I used corn oil)
1 1/4 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp instant yeast
1/2 -3/4 tsp salt
1 cup (approx) lukewarm water ( you may not require all of it)
1 egg,slightly beaten with 1 tbsp of water for egg wash
sesame seed as required (optional)
Combine gluten free flour, oil, sugar, egg, yeast and salt in a food processor and run the machine on low speed for about 30 seconds. Keep the machine running and add about 1/4 cup of water through the feed tube of the processor, about 40 seconds. Add another 1/4 cup of water with the machine still running. At this point the mixture would look moistened but not like dough. Start adding a tablespoon of water at a time through the tube with the machine running and about 15 seconds break between each addition. You may or may not need to add the whole cup of water as it depends on the flour/flours blend and the quantity of flour. Keep a close eye on how the dough is forming. It should all be together like a ball and not so sticky. It would be difficult to work with sticky/very soft dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat. If you have non stick sheet you can skip this step. Apply some cooking oil to your hands and divide the dough into 4 equal parts ( unfortunately I never get to divide them equally but I am sure you guys can). Gently roll each portion of the dough into a ball and place on the baking sheet, at least 2-3 inches apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or light cotton cloth.It would be a good idea to keep something around the baking sheet, about 2 inches higher, so that the covering wont touch the buns directly but it should cover completely otherwise buns might get a dried. Let them rest for another 1-2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 190 C/ 375 F. Brush the tops of the burger buns lightly with the egg wash. Bake the buns for about 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan half way through the baking, until tops are golden brown. You can also gently lift a bun with a spatula to check if the bottom of the bun is golden brown. If it is but the top still isn’t golden brown, turn the upper grill on for a couple of minutes to get the top all nice and golden. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Use as required.