Gluten is a mixture of proteins that are mainly found in cereal grains like rye and wheat, and it also gives dough its elastic texture. While some people are just fine eating gluten, there are many people that cannot tolerate it. Those with Celiac disease can develop anemia, inflammation, gas, and fatigue from eating gluten.
Even without Celiac disease, more and more people are eating gluten-free because of dietary preference or other autoimmune disorders. If you run a restaurant, you'll want to cater to these customers. Here are two ingredients which can be used as gluten-free substitutes.
Cornmeal is a very beneficial carbohydrate, full of good nutrients like phosphorus and iron. Instead of breading fried foods—like fish, corn dogs, and drumsticks—with flour, you can use cornmeal. Cornmeal is a fantastic ingredient for places that serve Mexican cuisine since it can be used to make tortillas. It also works well with lunch options since cornmeal can be used in substitute flour mixes to help make sandwiches or cornbread sides for warm soups and chilis.
A great benefit of cornmeal is its wide variety of textures. For instance, if you want to make dishes that have a smooth texture, then you can use blue cornmeal. Coarser textures, like in stone-ground cornmeal, tend to work better with polenta or dishes from the American South.
Besides a range of textures, there are flavor nuances among different brands of cornmeal. Blue corn and yellow corn mixes tend to be sweeter than white cornmeal. For some restaurants, these texture and flavor differences aren't as important as perishability. For example, you may want to buy in bulk from a manufacturer to save money and store the cornmeal in a freezer. Stone-ground and steel-ground cornmeal from a company like Dover Corn Products LTD are great options since they can last months---sometimes a year—without going bad.
While cornmeal is good for main dishes, rice flour is fantastic for baked goods like pancakes, muffins, cookies, brownies, and pies. It is a gluten-free option that is also full of fiber and choline, nutrients that are beneficial for liver, muscle, and brain function. If cooking nutritional dishes is important, opt for brown rice flour over white rice flour.
Besides being great for baking confections, rice flour is ideal for Asian foods. Rice flour is used to make Chinese rice balls, like Tang yuan. Japanese, Indian, Korean, and Thai dishes all use rice as a vehicle for main courses, like curries, so using rice flour for side dishes instead of other cereal grains should be just fine. For example, if you would like to pair up a meat dish or a curry with spring rolls, then you can use white rice paper.
As you can see, you don't have to be limited when you are cooking gluten-free. Contact a food supplier in your area for more information.