Sunday, January 16, 2011
Rice Flour - A Great Product!
There are four components to food: taste, aroma, presentation, and texture. When you're dealing with lower sodium food, the taste is compromised. That's the reality. No matter what anyone will tell you, lower sodium dishes simply do NOT taste the same as those that are properly seasoned. Notice that I said, "...properly seasoned" not overly salted. Processed foods are notorious for being over salted. But so are dishes served at all levels of restaurant dining -- fast food, chains, and even fine dining.
There's a big difference between foods that are slightly under seasoned and the very low sodium foods those on salt-restricted diets are eating. So, if taste is compromised by the lack of salt, then you've got to really work on aroma, presentation, and especially texture. An appealing texture will go a long way in mitigating the blandness of lower sodium dishes.
That's why I'm happy to recommend an interesting ingredient: Brown Rice Flour. Quite a while ago, one of the Cooking Forum members mentioned using rice flour for dredging fried foods. She said it gave the foods a nice crunch. I read the post with interest and then promptly forgot about it. But a couple of weeks ago I was perusing the Bob's Red Mill section of my local grocery store and came across a bag of brown rice flour. On a whim, I decided to purchase it, and I'm glad I did.
My husband loves crispy fried chicken wings, especially if they're spicy. He's always tempted by the wings luring him over to the take-out deli section of our local grocery store. I wanted to make something similar but without all that disgusting salt. And I didn't want to deal with deep fat frying. I think I came pretty close today.
Yesterday I picked up a few packages of Foster Farms whole chicken wings. This is a California producer, and the fresh chicken parts are salt free. I reconstituted some dried egg whites and sprinkled in a few drops of Tabasco Sauce. I seasoned the brown rice heavily with a combination of the Cajun Blackened Seasoning from Savory Spice Shop.
I really dislike flabby chicken wings, so I always cut out that bit of excess skin between the drumette & the wing. I also left on the tips because they get so crunchy and I love to chomp on them. I dipped the wings in the egg white mixture and then dredged them with the seasoned brown rice flour. I placed the wings skin side down on a baking sheet that had been lined with Reynold's non-stick aluminum foil and sprayed with Pam. Then I sprayed the wings with Pam and put them into a 425 degree oven. I honestly don't remember how long they baked. I was fussing with other things and checked them a couple of time. Once I realized they were close to being cooked through, I turned them over and raised the oven temperature to 450 degrees.
The result was crunchy, crispy, and crackly chicken wings with a wonderful texture that made you forget they were not salted at all. They were an instant hit. I think the great texture was the result of the brown rice flour.
I served the wings with raw vegetables and homemade Ranch dressing dip.
I have some raw wings still in the fridge and I'll prepare them tomorrow. For sure I'll use the brown rice flour, but I may change the seasonings.