A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to go on a gluten free baking course run by the delightful Naomi Devlin at the delightful River Cottage HQ. I had really been looking forward to finding out how to make a gluten free sourdough loaf as well as finding out about some more unusual baking ingredients and Naomi did not disappoint. I’m used to cooking with pretty processed gluten free ingredients, think white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca etc, but Naomi’s baking centres around using wholemeal ingredients that actually have a decent nutritional benefit as well as tasting great. She’s a sucker for chocolate though – never stand between her and a block of 90% dark chocolate, your life would be in danger I’m sure.
The sourdough loaf we made had a fantastic flavour that you don’t find in supermarket loaves, gluten free or otherwise. I believe the recipe is something similar to the loaf on Naomi’s website here, not only does it make a great bread, but it’s also makes a great ingredient in other recipes, giving a really complex flavour. I can’t wait to explore what else can be done with a decent gluten free sourdough…
I couldn’t resist using some of the loaf to make these Thai Bean Cakes, and before you ask, no, I can’t think of a better name than that. It’s not a fish cake or a crab cake, so it must be a bean cake, right? If you really want to you could swap the tin of butter beans for 150-200g crab meat but it really isn’t necessary, these are rich and spicy and very satisfying.
Thai Bean Cakes
1 tin butter beans
The easiest way to make this is using a food processor, first with grater attachment, then the main blade for pureeing.
1. Grate the carrot first, then the bread. Empty into a bowl, then switch to the blade on the food processor.
2. Blend the sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds coarsely – you want them to retain some bite. Empty into the bowl with the carrot and bread.
3. Prepare the lemongrass by peeling off the outer layers and chopping off the top leaves and the bottom base about 1 inch up.
4. Blend the shallot, ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chillies and coriander stalks. When the mixture is a puree, add the butter beans and blend to a thick paste.
5. Add the pureed ingredients to the other ingredients and mix well.
6. Grab handfuls of the mixture, shape into a ball about the size of a snooker ball, then flatten slightly into a thick ‘puck’ like shape.
7. Coat lightly in oil (to help them brown), and place all the bean cakes on a baking tray in a 200 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Turn halfway through cooking (the underside should be lightly browned). Don’t cook them too much, you want the inside to stay quite moist.
8. Serve with salad and drizzle with sweet chilli sauce (make your own by cooking a tablespoon of sugar with a tiny bit of water until bubbling, then add chopped chilli to taste and half a chopped garlic clove). Garnish with a bit of chopped spring onion and coriander too, if you’re feeling flamboyant.