There are many types of different gluten-freeWhen a food has less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten so it is safe for people with coeliac disease to eat.
staples which provide a great source of carbohydrate. Different ethnic cuisines may inspire you to vary staple foods in your diet. Think of the glutenA protein that is found in the cereals wheat, barley and rye.
-free diet as an opportunity to explore new foods and become more familiar with unique ingredients that you can use in cooking gluten-free meals.
Below is a quick world tour of a handful of cuisines to explore their unique gluten-free starch options:
Indian curries are a popular choice in many British people’s diets. The cuisine offers a wide range of gluten-free options.
- Basmati rice is the type of rice typically served. It is a fragrant, long grain rice available in white or brown varieties with a soft texture when cooked.
- Gluten-free naan breads are available from major supermarkets and a few manufacturers (see our Food and Drink DirectoryCoeliac UK’s key source of information listing thousands of foods that can be included in a gluten-free diet.
- Poppadoms are made with rice and lentil flour. Make sure these are cooked in oil that has not been used to cook gluten-containing foods.
- Lentils constitute a key part of vegetarian dishes and are good sources of protein and iron.
- Sauces are mostly thickened with yoghurt rather than a wheat-based starch.
Although not as popular here as across the Atlantic, the strong flavours of Mexico, Brazil and Argentina are prime examples of Latin food.
- Pulses such as pinto and black beans dominate the southern-most cuisines. They are often served in a creamy style alongside meat dishes with rice. Black beans are an excellent source of iron and carbohydrates.
- Corn-based soft tortillas and tortilla chips are the foundation of many Central and South American diets.
- Rice also features in these cuisines – everything from paella to pilaf-style side dishes.
Fresh spices and herbs typify the cuisine of Thailand. Curries, soups and salads have exciting combinations of sweet, salty and spicy flavours.
- Rice and rice noodles are staple products.
- Whereas Chinese spring roll wrappers usually contain wheat flour, Thai wrappers are made with rice powder mixed with tapioca flour.
- Fish sauce is gluten-free.
- Sauces are mostly thickened with coconut milk.
Even though cous cous and filo pastry are not suitable for people with coeliac diseaseA condition where a person is unable to eat gluten as it makes their body attack itself.
, there are many other options if you like the lemony, herbal flavours of Lebanon, Greece and Turkey for example.
Gluten-free pitta breads are available from a few major retailers and manufacturers (see our Food and Drink Directory).
- Chickpeas and broad beans (also known as fava) are high in protein and carbohydrates. They are used in dips such as hummus and salads, respectively.
- Falafel are spiced, fried balls of chickpeas and an alternative to meats for vegetarians on a gluten-free diet.
Pasta dishes do not have to be a thing of the past! There is a large variety of dry gluten-free pastas available that mimic the texture of conventional spaghetti, penne or lasagne, for example.
- Arborio rice, the basis of risotto, creates a creamy result and is complemented by delicate vegetables such as asparagus or heartier autumn fare like butternut squash.
- Gnocchi, Italian potato dumplings, often contain wheat flour but it can be substituted with a combination of rice flour and potato starch.
- Polenta is made from yellow or white cornmeal. It is classically served in Italy and finished with a hard grated cheese. Polenta can be served soft, like risotto, or in a stiffer form that can be cut and pan-fried when cooled.