Instant Noodle Cups – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free & Vegan

Homemade instant noodle cups - low fodmap, gluten free, vegan

This post was brought to you because Autumn.

During the winter months back at school, I happily handed over my $1.20 for an instant noodle cup in whatever flavour they had left. If you’ve ever had to wear a school uniform, they’re not that warm in winter. Tights only do so much, and the wool is itchy. Combine that with the renovations to the senior school centre that went on throughout the entirety of my senior school career – meaning we lost our common room, so had nowhere to hide from the cold – and instant noodles warmed me from the inside and out.

Nowadays I don’t have to sit outside while I eat in all seasons – thank goodness! – but that doesn’t mean that I want to say goodbye to noodle cups. Problem is, I think I can say with confidence that every instant noodle cup out there is very high in FODMAPs, even the gluten free versions.

Enter these little beauties. I got the inspiration from a post by Gluten Free on a Shoestring (love her blog) after watching Ev devour yet another pack of 2 minute noodles and decided to FODMAPify it/give it a bit of an Asian twist. I plan to try a different version soon, using a homemade stock paste… I just need to make the paste.

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FODMAP Notes

  1. Nutritional yeast and all the other herbs and spices used in the bouillon powder are well and truly low FODMAP in a 1 tsp. combined serving size, as most either have no designated upper limit or are allowable in 1-2 tsp. servings individually.
  2. Rice vermicelli noodles are low FODMAP and gluten free. I chose vermicelli as they are truly “instant.” If you would prefer to use normal rice noodles, or gluten free ramen (they do exist!) then they should be precooked before going into the jar, as the boiling water won’t stay hot for long enough to cook them.
  3. Bok choy is low FODMAP in 1 cup serves, half of which is used here.
  4. Firm tofu and tempeh are FODMAP friendly in 1 cup and 150 g serves respectively.
  5. Carrot is low FODMAP up to eating one medium vegetable – about a quarter is used here, if that.
  6. Sweet corn is low FODMAP in 1/2 cup serves, much less is used in this recipe.
  7. Miso paste is made from fermented soy beans and water. The fermentation breaks down the oligos within, so it’s considered low FODMAP.
  8. Oils infused with garlic and onion are FODMAP friendly, as FODMAPs are water soluble, thus do not leech into the oil during production, whereas the flavour components do.
  9. Sambal oelek (chili sauce) can be found in onion and garlic free varieties – of course use one of those, unless you’re okay with onion and garlic (fructans).
  10. Coriander leaves are low FODMAP.
  11. The green parts of chives are FODMAP friendly, avoid the white bulb as it contains high levels of fructans.
  12. Lime is low FODMAP in general, especially in the small wedge you’ll be using.
  13. Please make sure any meat you use is cooked completely before going into the jar – the hot water will not cook it, just reheat it. If you choose to add meat, this will obviously no longer be vegan.

Vegan Bouillon Powder

Serving size: 1 tsp makes 1 cup of stock.

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. dextrose or castor sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. green leek powder
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika (smoked is best but normal is fine)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric

Measure all the ingredients into the bowl of your food processor and then blitz for 30 seconds to turn the chunky ingredients (sage, nutritional yeast, pepper flakes) into a fine powder.

Put into an airtight jar and store in a cool dark place for up to 6 months. When you wish to use it, dissolve 1 tsp. of bouillon powder in 1 cup of boiling water.

vegan bouillon powder

Instant Noodle Cups

Serves 1 (multiply for more servings).

  • 1 bundle vermicelli noodles (or equivalent gluten free noodle, precooked if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup sliced bok choy
  • 1/2 cup protein (cooked chicken, tempeh, tofu puffs etc)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated carrot
  • 2 tbsp. rinsed tinned sweet corn
  • 1 tsp. vegan bouillon powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chili sauce (sambal oelek)
  • 1/2 tsp. miso paste
  • 1/4 tsp. onion infused olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic infused olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp. fresh minced green chive tips
  • 1 wedge lime

You will need one heat proof, seal-able container capable of holding 2 cups (500 ml) of fluid.

In a small bowl, mix the miso paste, chili sauce and infused oils together, then spread them along the bottom of your jar.

Layer the rest of the ingredients as follows: bok choy, carrots, sweet corn, vermicelli (or other) noodles, bouillon powder, your choice of protein, coriander leaves, green chive tips and finally the wedge of lime. You might need to press them into the jar to fit properly but don’t worry, the hot water will shrink them down later.

Put the lid on and store in the fridge until required. For work/school lunches, make enough for the week and they’ll last in the fridge just fine.

When you’re ready to enjoy them, simply boil your kettle and pour 1 1/2 – 2 cups of piping hot water into the jar (depending on how soupy you like it), place the lid on and wait for a couple of minutes. It’s that simple. Enjoy – and make all your coworkers jealous.

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Green Leek Powder – A Low FODMAP Substitute for Onion Powder

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A few days ago I had a brain wave. It started off with me getting really annoyed, as I couldn’t find a decent looking dry bouillon recipe that didn’t contain onion or garlic powder. Green leek tips are my go-to onion replacement method in most meals… why couldn’t there be a green leek tip powder?

Why couldn’t there, indeed? I just had to make it myself.

It worked beautifully in the bouillon powder and I am sure it will work just as well in any dry rubs and spice blends in the future. This method would also work for the green parts of chives/spring onions, just beware that it will probably take a lot less time and the temperature might need to be lowered – I have not done it myself, so I can’t give exact numbers.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Green leek tips are low FODMAP in 1/2 cup serves, any more and fructans might be an issue. Make sure you measure your green leek tips before you desiccate them, so you know by how much they have reduced. The leek tips I used reduced by half, so 1/4 cup is the new low FODMAP serving size. You get the picture.
  2. Do not use white leek (the bulb) while on elimination, as these are given a high FODMAP rating. If you are off elimination and have tested them successfully, use your discretion as to whether you try them out here or not.
  3. Try asking your supermarket/local green grocers if they have any leeks that have not had their tips trimmed, or if they could perhaps occasionally order them in for you. You’d be surprised what they’d agree to, though a local grocery store is more likely to agree to strange requests.
  4. If you decide to grow your own leeks, you can:
    1. Grow from seeds, or the 2 inch base of the bulb planted in fertile soil.
    2. Grow in full sunlight (not planted down in little valleys as leeks typically are), so the extra sun stimulates more chlorophyll production. This means that more of the leek will be green leaf and less white bulb.
    3. Pick leaves off as required, leaving the plant to grow for the season.

Green Leek Powder

Serving size depends on the difference between the initial amount and final amount (see notes).

  • 1 bunch green leek tips, weight measured.

Preheat your oven to 90 C/200 F.

Slice your leek where the green becomes white. The more sensitive you are to fructans, the less white you should allow to bleed into the greens you keep. Give the white bits to a neighbour, or anyone else who can use them.

Separate the leaves and wash them thoroughly. Pat dry.

Arrange them in a single layer on lined baking trays, then put into the oven. Shut the oven door – we are not truly dehydrating them here but also roasting them a little. The intensifies and adds to the flavour, both good things.

Set the timer for two hours, then check them every 15 minutes thereafter. They are ready when they are crispy and snap easily when bent.

Let them cool to room temp, then smoosh (for lack of a better term) them into your food processor and blitz until a fine powder forms. I needed to use my coffee grinder to get the fine powder you see above, as my small food processor is on its last legs.

Use as required as a substitute for onion powder, like in a low FODMAP bouillon powder or instant noodle cup. Enjoy!

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The Guide to FODMAP Friendly Sugars and Sweeteners

Please view this article, “The Guide to FODMAP Friendly Sugars and Sweeteners,” at it’s new location on The Friendly Gourmand.

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The FODMAP content of different varieties of corn/maize and their derivatives

low fodmap, maize, corn, gluten free, irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, fructose malabsorption, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, corn meal, cornflour, popcorn, sweet corn

For a grain that is used in so many gluten free/IBS friendly recipes and products, corn tends to be a topic of contention in terms of FODMAPs. But why? It’s gluten free (unless contaminated with the protein through processing methods), that much we know, but why do some people react to corn and others not, or, even more confusing, why do different types of corn cause issues for an individual when others are well tolerated?

One of the obvious answers is that all of us react differently to different fermentable carbs, which is true – but it goes deeper than that. The problem with corn is simple – corn is not simple at all. People have sensitivities, intolerances and allergies to different aspects of corn, and not all corn is created equal. This article will deal with the fermentable carbohydrates that corn can contain, as corn allergies and intolerances are not within the scope of this blog. If you are concerned that you have an allergy to corn, please see your doctor.

Since the Native Americans domesticated corn thousands of years ago, it has been extensively bred into many varieties, all of which contain different amounts of FODMAPs, as well as different physical characteristics that lend themselves to certain uses in cuisine and industry. Obviously, for the purpose of this article, I will stick to the species of corn that are intended to be eaten.

Genetic Modification

This needs to be said. Corn is commonly found as a genetically modified (GMO) product. You may choose to consume non-GMO varieties of corn for personal beliefs, however, genetic modification does not affect FODMAP content. Unless a variety of corn is bred to contain large amounts of fructans, or have a higher fructose:glucose ratio than sweet corn (etc), the GMO corn you find at the supermarket will have the same recommended safe serving size as it’s non-GMO counterpart.

Sweet Corn/Corn on the Cob

Variety: sweet corn.

FODMAP rating: safe in 1/2 cob servings.

Sweet corn is the corn we eat prepared as a vegetable – on the cob, or find tinned in the grocery store. It is picked when immature, before the simple sugars have a chance to convert to starches. Delicious with butter, salt and pepper, it unfortunately has a very close fructose:glucose ratio, as well as a large amount of sucrose, so should therefore be limited to half-cob servings, according to Monash University. Of course, if you know you can eat more without reacting you may continue to do so.

Corn Meal, Polenta/Grits and Popcorn

Variety: dent and flint corn.

FODMAP rating: safe in 1 cup servings.

Corn destined to be consumed as a grain is picked and processed once it has matured, which means the water content in the endosperm is greatly reduced and the simple sugars have largely been converted into starch. Starch is not a FODMAP, which means that products made from corn meal, polenta and popcorn kernels (such as corn tortillas, corn bread and mamaliga) are safe in terms of fermentable carbohydrates, as long as no other FODMAP-containing ingredients have been included in the recipe.

Dent corn has a greater water content than flint corn, which has a much harder, less digestible endosperm; this is due to the differing amounts of floury vs vitreous starch (see Figure 3). For this reason, they are turned into corn meal/polenta and popcorn, respectively.

Cornflour/ Corn Starch

Variety: waxy corn.

FODMAP rating: safe.

Waxy corn contains a different type of starch (amylopectin, rather than the amylose found in the previously mentioned corn varieties), and is more effective as a thickener and stabilising agent in foods. This product doesn’t come from the entire corn kernel but is the isolated amylopectin.

Corn Syrup

Variety: dent corn (amylose starch).

FODMAP rating: safe but use in moderation.

Consisting of approximately 93-96% glucose (in the form of maltose, a disaccharide of two glucose molecules), corn syrup is considered safe in terms of FODMAPs, though it should still be consumed in moderation, as it is a sugar and very high GI. Corn syrup is produced via a multi-step enzymatic process, which breaks the corn starch down into varying products, including maltose. Corn syrup is available in light and dark varieties; the dark corn syrup is mixed with some molasses, which, while it has a slightly elevated fructose:glucose ratio, should be evened out by the extremely concentrated glucose in the corn syrup.

In the USA, corn syrup is synonymous with glucose syrup, as glucose syrup is nearly always made from corn. In other countries, glucose syrup can be made from wheat, rice, potatoes or tapioca.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Variety: dent corn (amylose starch).

FODMAP rating: high, avoid.

Once corn syrup (which is mostly maltose/glucose) has been produced, the reaction is taken a step further and the corn syrup is processed with the enzyme glucose isomerase, to convert some of the glucose into fructose. This produces HFCS-42. Liquid chromatography is used to further convert glucose into fructose, to create HFCS-90, which can be blended with HFCS-42 to create HFCS-55.

Regardless of your opinion of the health dangers of HFCS, it is NOT low FODMAP. As the varieties (42%, 55% and 90% fructose) are not labelled differently, it’s best to stay clear.

Other names include: isoglucose, glucose-fructose syrup, fructose-glucose syrup, isolated fructose and fructose syrup (the latter two refer to HFCS-90).

Corn/Maize Oil

Variety: made from the germ of corn kernels.

FODMAP rating: safe.

FODMAPs are a variety of fermentable carbohydrates. Pure corn oil is 100% fat, so contains no carbohydrates, thus no FODMAPs and is safe to use.

So, there you have it. Different varieties of corn (maize) and their derivatives all have different FODMAP ratings; however, as usual, if your tolerances vary from what Monash has suggested is safe, follow your gut.

Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian or a medical doctor; I have just researched this topic myself. If your health professional has advised you to avoid corn, please do so, as it might not be for a FODMAP-related reason.

Title image credit goes to: http://pixabay.com/en/users/margenauer-271373/

Overnight Chia Oats – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free & Vegan

Overnight Chia Oats - Low FODMAP, Gluten Free and Vegan

I have a confession to make: I’m a lazy breakfaster. If that’s even a word. When I drag myself out of bed on a weekday, I’m only interested in eating something that is already made, small and light. My stomach doesn’t wake up until about 10 am on most days. Weekends are another matter… brunch, come at me!

That’s why I like to bulk make breakfasts that are ready to eat – and portable, so, if the need arises, they can double as on the go snacks.

My usual go-to breakfast in a jar would be one of any variety of chia seed pudding (recipes all found here) but I suppose I felt I was getting into a (nutritious) breakfast rut and wanted to give something else a go. I’d been meaning to try overnight oats for absolutely ages, so now was my chance.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Oats are low FODMAP in 1/4 cup servings, higher than that and you will ingest higher amounts of fructans.
  2. Chia seeds are low FODMAP. Read about them in more detail here.
  3. Banana, strawberries and blueberries are all FODMAP friendly in the amounts required.
  4. Maple syrup is 1:1 fructose/glucose, so is fructose friendly.
  5. Coconut and almond milk are low FODMAP in 1/2 cup servings, rice milk is another safe option.
  6. Desiccated coconut is low FODMAP in 1/4 cup servings, which is split into five jars.

Overnight Chia Oats

Makes 5.

  • 1 cup oats (gluten free if required)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1 1/4 cup dairy free low FODMAP milk of choice (I used coconut milk)
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup diced strawberries
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt

Prepare the fruit and set aside. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl with a pouring edge. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir through thoroughly.

Decide how you want to arrange the fruit in the oats:

  1. Mix them through with the other ingredients.
  2. Arrange them into alternating layers with the oat mixture.

I chose option two but either would work, depending on how much time you have. I mean, it tastes the same no matter what, right? Divide the mixture and fruit over five jars and refrigerate overnight before serving. The oats and chia seeds will soak up much of the liquid and soften in the process, the sweetness from the fruit will also seep into the mixture and the oats can be served cold straight from the fridge or even warmed up for a couple of minutes (as long as it’s in a microwave safe jar).

Enjoy! Now you can take an extra five minutes for yourself every morning.

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Pumpkin Spice Pancakes – Low FODMAP, Gluten Free and Vegan

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes - Low FODMAP, Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free and Vegan

Well, a lot has happened since the start of January, which is why nothing has been posted here. We bought a house, packed up our rental, moved everything and are now planning improvements on our new home. We also went through a hasty visa renewal process and have applied for permanent residency, so my spare time to actually blog about what we’ve been cooking has been zero. Unfortunately, I lost some of the scraps of paper I’d written stuff down on, so now I just have photos of food I can’t remember the ingredients to. Well done, me.

To ease myself back into blogging, and to test how good the lighting is around our new house (best lighting of any place yet, hooray!), I decided to cook up some pancakes with what little we have in our just-moved pantry. I had no bananas to make my usual breakfast staple of banana oatcakes, so I had to improvise. Luckily, we had a tin of pumpkin puree lying around and we’d run out of frozen stock, so it wasn’t going to be made into soup any time soon.

Pancakes it was, then!

FODMAP Notes

  1. Pumpkin in general has been given a low FODMAP rating in servings of 1/4 cup and a moderate rating in servings of 1/2 cup. This recipe keeps the serving at 1/4 cup per person, so is considered FODMAP friendly.
  2. Oats are given a low FODMAP rating in servings of 1/4 cup, which is split between two servings in this recipe. Oats that have been processed separately than wheat are gluten free but naturally contain a protein called avenin, which is similar enough to gluten that some with coeliac disease will still react. If this is is you, replace the oat flour with quinoa or buckwheat flours, which are safe in 1/4 cup servings.
  3. Chia and flax seeds have recommended servings of  2 tbsp for those with IBS, to limit a potentially problematic fibre intake, regardless of FODMAPs. This is split in half in this recipe, so should be safe.
  4. Maple and rice syrup are low FODMAP sweeteners, with a glucose content that is either equal to or greater than fructose content.
  5. I used coconut milk, which is low FODMAP in 1/2 cup servings and otherwise higher in sorbitol. You could also use any other milk that you tolerate, such as rice or almond milk.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Serves 2.

Pancakes

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1 tbsp. chia seed meal
  • 1 tbsp. flax seed meal
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup or rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup dairy free/low FODMAP milk of choice (plus a little extra if required)
  • 1 pinch salt

Candied Walnut Topping

  • 1/2 cup walnuts of pecans, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup or rice syrup
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter or coconut oil (dairy free/vegan option)

Mix the chia and flax seed meals with the syrup and low FODMAP milk of your choice and let them sit for 5 minutes. Next, add in the salt, pumpkin puree and the oat flour and mix thoroughly. You don’t need to use a blender, although it does make the job easier. The problem is you need to clean it!

Heat your pan to a medium heat and divide the mixture into four parts. Spread them out into 6-8 cm diameter circles and cook for 4-5 minutes a side.

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For the optional nut topping, turn the heat to low after the pancakes have been removed and let it cool for a minute. Add the butter (or coconut oil) until it melts and then throw in the nuts and syrup and heat them all for a further 30-60 seconds. Remove from the heat and top the pancakes, pour on a little extra syrup (if you’d like) and dig in.

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How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree – Low FODMAP and Gluten Free

How to make homemade pumpkin puree - low FODMAP, fructose friendly, gluten free, healthy

Tinned pumpkin puree is extremely useful to have around – I normally have a few cans on hand for lunch or dinner time emergencies (for example, to make pumpkin soup, or a pumpkin and tomato soup) – but really, when you’re trying to impress guests, it doesn’t help you bring your A game to the table. Freshly roasted pumpkin is miles ahead in terms of taste, so, at this time of year, when desserts apparently have to follow the pumpkin theme, too, it’s handy to have some freshly roasted pumpkin puree in the fridge or freezer to whip up your favourite pumpkin pie or cheesecake.

Speaking of this time of year, it’s starting to get dark at 3.30 pm already! Not that lighting has been great during “daylight hours,” anyway. Seattle is notorious for being dark and gloomy, though it doesn’t rain quite as much as Hollywood would have you believe. So I’ve been chasing it around the house for photos… you do what you have to! Though I don’t think Bailey was too impressed that his kennel was being used for a prop.

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FODMAP Notes

  1. Pumpkins/squash generally contain some level of polyols, usually sorbitol. I would not eat them if I was on elimination but if you are in the reintroduction phase of the low FODMAP diet, I’d test 1/4 cup of pumpkin first, as that is what is listed as safe for all varieties except Jap/Kent pumpkins, which are safe in 1/2 cup servings. Of course, if polyols are not a trigger for you, eat as much as you can/like.

How to roast a pumpkin

This method works for any pumpkin/winter squash variety.

  • One pie pumpkin, around 1-1.5 kg/2.2-3.3 lb
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 sharp knife
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 large baking tray
  • Cooking oil

Choose a smallish pumpkin that is brightly coloured – this will give you the best chance of a strong taste. The bigger pumpkins with duller colours tend to be a bit bland. The pumpkins I chose were around 1.1 kg each and yielded approximately 450-500 g of puree.

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Preheat your oven to 200 C/400 F. If you have not done so, rinse the pumpkin of any obvious chunks of dirt, before chopping it into four or five pieces and scooping/scraping out the seeds.

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Spread the pumpkin evenly around a lightly oiled baking dish of your choice and fill a small, oven-safe dish with water – this keeps the oven environment moist and prevents the pumpkin from drying out as it bakes.

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Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until it is fork tender (think boiled potatoes). Remove the dish from the oven, let it cool for 30 minutes or so, then scoop the flesh out and transfer it to a large bowl. Discard the skin.

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Either mash or blend the pumpkin flesh to form a puree and then store it in glass jars or zip-lock bags in the fridge (for up to a week) or the freezer (for no more than two months before quality begins to suffer).

Now you can use it for any cake, pie, bread, soup or custard recipe that calls for pumpkin puree. Easy peasy!

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