Gluten-free meals can be found on almost every menu these days, but what exactly is a gluten-free dish? Well, it is anything that excludes gluten, which is found in grains like wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, triticale, bulgur and semolina. Luckily, there are many dishes and desserts that exclude these grains that are both delicious and accessible! Gluten-free meals feature beans, seeds and nuts, fresh eggs, meats, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables and most dairy products. You just have to make sure that they are not processed with gluten-containing grains, additives or preservatives.
The gluten-free diet has gained popularity in recent years because of the increase in diagnosis of Celiac disease, which is an auto-immune reaction to gluten. What many people do not know is that even people without Celiac disease can be gluten-intolerant or have a wheat allergy, feeling some discomfort after eating foods that contain gluten. Remember that intolerance and allergies can start at any age.
In Trinidad, many delicious eats are naturally gluten-free, such as benne balls, cascadura, callaloo, chip-chip, chow and souse, just to name a few. Although we have a long list of gluten-free dishes and desserts on the island, I would recommend being extra careful with dishes like roti, float and doubles that may use wheat flour. If you are making them on your own, just use chickpea or corn flour as a substitute. Gluten-free recipes are much easier to make than you would expect. Here’s one of my favorite gluten-free items at Hyatt Regency Trinidad:
This recipe was submitted by the Hyatt Regency Trinidad’s executive chef Fernando Franco and his team, which were members of this year’s ‘Caribbean National Team of the Year’ at Taste of the Caribbean in Miami.