Ever since going gluten-free in October, I've been wondering how to pull off completing my New Orleans recipe project, when so many of our local dishes are roux based and contain wheat flour. The vegan thing is one challenge, but vegan and gluten free? Besides wanting to eat these dishes myself, I figure writing gluten-free alternatives will also give these recipes a broader audience appeal. And no, don't cross your fingers for a gluten-free king cake, it's not gonna happen anytime soon.*
Yesterday, I did some roux experimenting to compare and contrast between different flours. Even though I know that coagulated goo on a spoon does not make the most inspiring pictures, I found the venture both extremely interesting and fun. Best of all, it gave me a pretty good idea how I can incorporate non-wheat flours into some of these traditional roux based meals.
I thought some of you might be interested in the results, too. I made four different rouxs, each using one tablespoon of flour, 1 tablespoon of oil and 1/2 cup hot water. I cooked them all the same, too--the oil and flour were browned for one minute over medium high heat with constant whisking (blonde roux), then 1/2 cup hot water was blended in and cooked another minute until thick. The only variable was the type of flour. As you can see in the photos below, I used unbleached white wheat flour, oat flour, besan (chickpea or gram flour) and a mix containing equal amounts of both oat flour and besan.
Look at that chawed up spoon! The garbage disposal got it...
One thing I don't understand about gluten sensitivity is that most grains contain gluten, but that it's really only the gluten from wheat, barley and rye that makes people sick. Although oats contain gluten, the only concern about eating them is whether they've been contaminated with wheat or barley gluten during processing. That seems really nonsensical to me, can anyone explain this further?
As you can see from the photos, the wheat roux is the thickest, followed somewhat closely by oat, then by the besan which was fairly thin. I also noticed that the besan browned really fast, while the oat flour was slow to color. I'm pretty happy with the combination of the two, and I think I'll try to use this moving forward. It seems to me, if this combination is doubled in comparison to wheat, it should yield similar results.
*I still have room for recipe testers, so if you have knowledge and interest about Creole/Cajun or Louisiana recipes let me know!