The recent increase in flour prices has sparked controversy across the nation, but with the recent war in Ukraine and the covid supply chain disruptions, this has been inevitable. Much of the world is experiencing the same situation.
Knee-jerk responses include root crop flour recipe demonstrations at the markets. While an applaudable initiative, root crop flours are very expensive and these flours are not available nationwide, as only a small number of farmers do manage to turn their root crops into flour. An increased supply will drive prices downwards. But these flours do not give the same desirable results as wheat flour and are not tested for substitution in our local basic recipes.
Maybe this flour price increase can be a blessing in disguise. Non-organic or GMO flour has been accused of being responsible for a sleuth of diseases such as diabetes, IBS and obesity. Refined wheat flour is generally responsible for inflammation in our bodies and inflammation leads to disease.
This is not a do or die situation meaning we must stop eating flour, I would recommend a shift in our diets. Change your diet to become less flour inclusive.
Here are some recipes which I developed in favour of using root crop flours with the objective of consuming less wheat flour. The flavours and textures I find very appealing and they have become fast favourites of mine these last few years!
Cassava flour empanadas
A perfectly delicious alternative to traditional flour pastry pies.
2 cups cassava/yucca flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
⅓ cup softened butter
cool water to mix
1 lb ground beef or chicken
1 tsp ground garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 small onion chopped
2 tbs Portuguese thyme or marjoram
1 tbs Spanish thyme, chopped
Season beef with garlic, chili powder, cumin and salt.
Heat oil in a sauté pan, add onion and sauté until fragrant and translucent, add beef and cook until brown. Add Portuguese thyme and cook for a few minutes more.
Add the chopped Spanish thyme and add to beef, stir well.
Remove from heat; turn out into a shallow bowl, chill.
Combine the flours with salt and butter; rub the butter in with your fingers until a mealy consistency is achieved.
Add water gradually and knead to a soft dough.
Wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Roll out dough to ¼-inch thick, stamp out 3-inch rounds.
Place 1 tbs filling onto the bottom centre of each round and fold the top portion over the lower portion, covering the meat, seal with a little water.
Heat some coconut oil in a frying pan, fry empanadas until golden and cooked through.
Makes about 12
Curry dusted fish fillets with plantain flour
6 lionfish fillets, about 3 ozs each, or any fresh fish fillets
⅓ cup chopped fresh herbs
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper sauce
1 tsp coconut oil
1 cup plantain or cassava flour
¼ cup good quality curry powder
Coconut oil to fry
Rinse lionfish and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper-sauce in a small bowl.
Rub onto fillets.
Now mix the cassava flour and curry in a plate, dredge the fillets in this mixture.
Heat oil in a frying pan, pan fry fillets until golden.
Drain and serve hot with lime wedges.
Cassava flour saltfish accras
½ lb salted cod, washed and soaked overnight in lime
1 large onion, grated
1 pimento pepper seeded and chopped
½ cup chopped chives
2 tbs French thyme
1 tbs chopped celery
1 cup cassava flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp allspice
½ cup milk
Wash salt fish in lime juice and water, strip and squeeze.
Place in a mixing bowl, add onion, pepper, thyme, chives, celery, salt and freshly-ground black pepper.
Add flour, baking powder, and allspice, mix.
Add enough milk to make a thick batter, add more milk if needed.
Preheat oil and drop by spoonfuls – the size of a small egg.
Fry until golden, drain.