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Flour

May 16, 2010

The problem with wheat flour alternatives is usually the lack of gluten which helps to bind the ingredients and adds an elastic texture. This is unfortunate since this protein is often what causes problems in people with wheat intolerance. However, it is fortunate that there are usually alternatives and, actually, wheat flour is not always the best kind of flour to use for a lot of recipes.

Rice flour
Cakes and biscuits benefit from rice flour as it lends a lighter taste more complimentary to sweet foods  than wheat flour and also give a shorter texture. Rice flour is excellent (in my opinion, preferable) for use in sauces giving a smooth finish, a light taste and is readily blended with liquids.

Gram flour
Gram flour (made from ground chickpeas) can be an excellent substitute to wheat flour for pancakes and bhajis and a host of other savoury recipes. It is also great for thickening curry, if needed. It will often need to be sieved before use as it has a tendency to hold together in lumps otherwise.

Corn
Cornflour, cornmeal and polenta are incredibly versatile. Cornflour can be used to thicken sauces and leaves no residual flavour or colour after it is cooked. Cornmeal can be used in both sweet and savoury baked food. polenta can be used in cakes and in place of rice or pasta with a sauce.

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