Gluten-free (and sometimes vegan) cooking often involves an array of strange and unusual sounding ingredients. No where is this more true than when it comes to gluten-free baking. If your tongue is getting tied with all the xanthums and sorghums or you Know what things are but aren’t sure what they do, then this page is for you.

I am compiling a comprehensive Ingredients section. It will be updated regularly as I add new recipes to the site, so don’t forget to check back often.

If there is an ingredient I have used in a recipe which doesn’t appear on this page, and you are unsure of its purpose, please let me know and I will add it to the section.


Cinnamon – I have just found out today, that in the U.S, the bark of the tree known as Cassia is often sold under the mask of Cinnamon. ‘Real Cinnamon’, which is commonly known as Ceylon Cinnamon,is from the bark of the Cinnamon tree and is softer and sweeter than Cassia. It has (when in stick form) the appearance of a flaky Cigar. It is grown in Sri Lanka. Cassia on the other hand, is grown in China, Vietnam or Indonesia and is a darker, hollow tube. Cassia has a flat taste and a harsh aroma.
N.B. In all my recipes I use ‘Real Cinnamon’, and so should you!!!

Miso – Miso originates in China but is now most commonly associated with Japanese cooking. The paste is made by fermenting rice, soya beans, barley or wheat with salt. It has a deep, salty flavour and smooth texture. There are several different types, the colours of which range from almost white to near black. Generally, the darker the colour, the saltier and stronger tasting it will be. If you haven’t tried it before it’s probably a good idea to go for something in the middle and see how you like it. Miso can be used in lots of ways. Basic miso soup is a staple in the Japanese diet, but try adding it to sauces, as a spread in sandwiches, or a marinade for vegetables.

Tamari – Tamari is a type of Shoyu ( soy sauce) which has been traditionally brewed without the use of wheat, making it very fabulous and brilliant for gluten-free people like me! It has a slightly denser and stronger taste than regular soy sauce, but that just means you don’t need to use so much of it in your cooking, or when dipping delicious pieces of avocado sushi in to it.

Tapioca – Tapioca flour is needed to improve the texture and add ‘springiness’ to gluten-free baking.

Xanthum – Xanthum (or Xanthan, Xantham) gum acts as a binder in gluten-free baking and improves rising in bread and cakes.  An added bonus is that it improves the shelf life in baked goods. It is naturally produced by fermentation of sugar with the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium.

© Copyright 2009 Gies Peas. All rights reserved.


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