Video: Gluten – Friend or Foe

Bakers on TV are always talking about whether their bakes have enough gluten. But the masses on Twitter act like it’s some kind of monster hiding in your bread. So what gives? Is gluten good, or is gluten bad?

This video from Reactions explains what gluten is, how it leads to tasty bread, and the health risks it holds for certain groups of people.

Watch video at You Tube (3:30 minutes) . . . . .

North African-style Stuffed Fish


1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 lb sea bass, cleaned and scaled
1 bag prepared salad leaves


large pinch saffron threads
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 green onions (scallions), chopped
1/4 cup ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom


  1. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, salt, 2 teaspoons of the lime juice, cumin, chili powder and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Make several slashes in the skin of the fish and rub the marinade well in. Cover and leave in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  3. To make the stuffing, place the saffron in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon hot water.
  4. In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add green onions (scallions) and cook for a few minutes until soft.
  5. Stir in apricots, breadcrumbs, walnuts, salt, pepper, cardamom and soaked saffron. Cook for 1 minute then leave to cool.
  6. Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF).
  7. Place the fish on a sheet of well oiled foil and fill the cavity with stuffing. Draw foil up to make a parcel. Place on a large baking sheet and bake for 40-50 minutes until fish flakes easily when tested with a knife.
  8. To serve, cut into 4 fillets. Arrange on 4 warm plates and keep warm.
  9. Heat the cooking juices in a pan and add the salad leaves. Stir briefly until just wilted then add remaining lime juice. Serve with the fish, and with spicy rice.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: North African Cooking

In Pictures: Korean Dishes in U.S. Restaurants









Budae jjigae



Guide to Eating Korean Food Like A Korean

Dennis Lee wrote . . . . . . .

These days, Korean food is pretty much everywhere. But it still surprises me how many of my acquaintances have admitted they don’t visit Korean restaurants because they’re afraid they’ll look like they don’t know what they’re doing.

But that’s no reason not to go. The easiest solution is to bring someone who’s had plenty of Korean food, preferably one who speaks conversational Korean (my Korean is terrible, but it’s enough to get by). Otherwise, I’ve got your back, from the basics down to a few nuances.

What if I can’t use chopsticks?

You have no idea how many times I’ve gotten this question. Don’t worry. Seriously. You can ask for a fork.

What is banchan?

Before your main dish comes out, you’ll automatically receive tiny bowls of sides delivered to your table. This is banchan. Depending on the restaurant, the amount of banchan you’ll get varies, but you can expect four to five bowls, if not a dozen or more.

Banchan isn’t meant to be an appetizer, though most people graze a little before the rest of the food is delivered to the table. Try to save at least some of it to eat when the rice hits the table. You can always ask for more. They’re free.

Expect to have a vegetable-heavy assortment of sides along with seafood dishes. Vegetables are usually cooked, fermented, marinated, or pickled. Most people unfamiliar with Korean food assume much of it is spicy, but the truth is, a lot of banchan is pretty mild.

A side note about raw vegetables

Some banchan you’ll see consists of raw vegetables, like lettuce, perilla leaves (a cousin of mint), and a salad of thinly sliced green onions. These aren’t meant just to be eaten by themselves, like regular prepared banchan. Leafy greens are meant for wrapping up rice, a bit of meat if you want, and then you dress your little wrap with doenjang (fermented bean paste), gochujang (that sweet-and-spicy fermented red pepper condiment everyone is always talking about), or ssamjang (sort of a combo of both).

I know it’s tempting to make a huge wrap, but just make a little bundle that you can pop in your mouth all at once. It’s not supposed to be a burrito.

Why is everyone always talking about kimchi?

Kimchi falls under the overall category of banchan, but it’s easily the most important dish in Korea and most abused ingredient on Asian fusion menus. When it comes to kimchi, we don’t fuck around. My parents have always said that if kimchi isn’t served with your rice, it’s not a complete meal.

The version most people are used to is the Napa cabbage version—red, fermented, funky, and spicy. One common complaint about kimchi is its smell. And yes, I’ll straight up say it, kimchi can smell like farts. The distinct aroma comes from fish sauce in tandem with tiny salted shrimp, and the fact that it’s fermented. Dig in, and bam! Straight to Flavortown. It’ll be complex: salty, a bit sweet, with some kick. I’m obligated to use the word umami here or I will be banned from writing about food forever.

Like banchan, kimchi comes in a mind-boggling number of variations. Cucumbers, radishes, radish tops, the list is endless. The one ingredient you won’t see is meat (unless you count seafood). A common misconception is that it’s always supposed to be spicy, but that’s actually not true. There are crisp white kimchi variations that have no heat whatsoever.

What about vegetarian or vegan options?

Since most people immediately think of meat-centric Korean barbecue when it comes to Korean food, it surprises a lot of people that much of Korean food is vegetarian-friendly. In a lot of cases, it’s vegan-friendly too.

There is a big catch: a lot of banchan contains seafood. In some cases, it’s visible, like in dishes such as stir-fried dried anchovies, but a lot of the time, the addition of seafood isn’t nearly as obvious. Often it’ll be through ingredients such as fish sauce, shrimp paste, or soup base made from dried fish. And unfortunately, if you’re at a mom-and-pop restaurant where most the employees don’t speak much English, it’s gonna be tough for you.

What about gluten-free Korean food?

A fair amount of Korean food is friendly to those who abide by gluten-free diets. Wheat flour isn’t a hugely important ingredient in most Korean dishes, but don’t take that as a guarantee. If you can tolerate a bit of gluten, you should mostly be okay, but it’s a safer bet to avoid noodles, dumplings, pancakes, and baked goods.

Is there any etiquette I should know about?

Here in America, the formal rules aren’t too important, but here are a couple general guidelines that’ll help.

Your rice bowl should remain on the table during the meal. And when you’re done using your utensils, they go right back on the table. Don’t pile the sides on top of your rice, take as much as you plan to eat in one bite, and don’t get other bits of food into banchan bowls. Basically, don’t be gross, since you’re sharing everything.

Get used to reaching across the table. You’ll be picking from dishes through the whole meal. If the table’s big and you can’t reach what you want, have someone pass it over.

If you’re drinking booze, you’re not supposed to pour your own drink. Your neighbor is obligated to fill your glass when it’s empty. I’m going to say something mildly controversial—I think it’s fine to pour for yourself. You’re the one who’s drinking, you know your limits. It’s way too easy to get fucked up when your glass is constantly full.

Why you’ll probably see scissors

Scissors are commonly used at home and at restaurants to cut up food into more manageable pieces. Since Korean food is generally eaten one mouthful at a time, small pieces of food are ideal. You can use scissors with just about anything—savory pancakes, noodles, meat, kimchi.

Why is my server cooking my barbecue for me?

If you’re having Korean barbecue, your server might hover—with aforementioned scissors in hand—while your meat is cooking, or even cook it for you. Despite what you might think of your own grilling skills, they just want to make sure you don’t mess it up. To me, it’s always felt motherly and fussy in an affectionate way.

Why service is so curt

Every now and then you’ll be led to your table by a grumpy-looking host who’ll just slap the menus on the table and walk off. Or you’ll get servers who look and act like they just don’t give a shit about you. They probably don’t give a shit, but don’t feel too insulted. It’s a cultural thing. You’ll typically see this with older folks. Don’t bother trying to win their affection.

I asked my mom why. She said: “The younger generation is much different. But for older people, no such thing as a smile. Haven’t you seen your grandfather’s photo? We didn’t say cheese when taking pictures. That’s just how it was.” There you have it.

Plus, tipping isn’t a thing in Korea, so servers generally don’t have an incentive to be super-attentive or polite. Wave your server down if you need something even if they look annoyed.

Why is Korean dining so private?

This is a subtle nuance, but you might have noticed that a restaurant’s outer windows are usually blacked out or that giant blinds are drawn over them, and that all the booths in the place are contained within really high walls. It’s a privacy thing—when you’re eating at home, you’re eating in an intimate space with no outside intrusion. It keeps the experience of your meal confined to the people who are there. It’s not a strict rule, though. It just depends on the place. If you’re just eating noodles, that’s one thing, but if it’s a bigger sit-down dinner, you’ll usually get some privacy.

What’s with the button?

At many places with high-walled booths, you’ll notice a little button on the table. Since the servers can’t see you, it’s hard to flag them down if you need anything, so pressing the button will call them over. Once your food’s out, your server will mostly leave you alone.

It’s not all barbecue

Arguably the most popular type of Korean restaurant is barbecue that you grill on the table yourself. They’re really boisterous, it’s entertaining to cook your own dinner, and it’s especially fun with a big group. But there’s so much variety to Korean food that you should branch out. In this case, Google’s your best pal. Find a place that specializes in something particular and go for it.

Source: The Takeout

Can Muesli Help Fight Arthritis?

It is well known that healthy eating increases our general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence on chronic inflammatory joint diseases, leading to stronger bones.

The key to the effect our diet has on our health are intestinal bacteria: healthy intestinal flora consists of a multitude of different species of bacteria. Every adult carries approximately two kilogrammes of benign bacteria in their intestines. They help our digestion by breaking fibre down into its individual components, which can then be absorbed by the body. A by-product of this process are short-chained fatty acids which are important for the body, providing energy, stimulating intestinal movement and having an anti-inflammatory effect. The intestinal bacteria also fight against pathogens which have found their way into the gastrointestinal tract. It is known that intestinal flora can either protect against illness or cause illness, depending on its composition. If the various bacteria coexist harmoniously, they can protect the intestinal wall and prevent it from letting pathogens pass through.

In the latest article published in Nature Communications, FAU researchers show that it is not the intestinal bacteria themselves, but rather their metabolites which affect the immune system and therefore have a knock-on effect on autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. How intestinal bacteria and the immune system communicate is still unclear, and scientists are still unsure about what may be done to have a positive effect on the bacteria. The researchers focussed on the short-chain fatty acids propionate and butyrate, which are formed during the fermentation processes caused by intestinal bacteria. These fatty acids can be found, for example, in the joint fluid and it is assumed that they have an important effect on the functionality of joints.

The FAU scientists under the leadership of Dr. Mario Zaiss from Department of Medicine 3 – Rheumatology and Immunology at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen were able to show that a healthy diet rich in fibre is capable of changing intestinal bacteria in such a way that more short-chained fatty acids, in particular propionate, are formed. They were able to prove a higher concentration of short-chained fatty acids, for example in bone marrow, where propionate caused a reduction in the number of bone-degrading cells, slowing bone degradation down considerably. Propionate, one of the better known short-chained fatty acids, has been in use as a preservative in the baking industry since the 1950s and has been checked and approved as a food additive according to EU guidelines.

‘We were able to show that a bacteria-friendly diet has an anti-inflammatory effect, as well as a positive effect on bone density’ explains Dr. Mario Zaiss, who is leading the team behind the study. ‘Our findings offer a promising approach for developing innovative therapies for inflammatory joint diseases as well as for treating osteoporosis, which is often suffered by women after the menopause. We are not able to give any specific recommendations for a bacteria-friendly diet at the moment, but eating muesli every morning as well as enough fruit and vegetables throughout the day helps to maintain a rich variety of bacterial species.’

Source: Friedrich-Alexander-Universität

Read also:

What’s the Difference Between Muesli and Granola? A Very Important Primer . . . . .

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