We are very lucky in Hong Kong as there are some great local options for gluten free noodles. This photo includes some of our favorites, all available from the local supermarkets in Hong Kong, such as Wellcome and Park N Shop.
The top row are rice noodles - great for a variety of Asian style dishes, stir fries and soups.
The three on the bottom row are all produced by the same company that only makes rice and buckwheat noodles - no wheat at all.
The Brown Rice Vermicelli is a good 'spaghetti' substitute as well as eaten cold with some sesame oil and toppings.
The Buckwheat Elbow Macaroni are a dish my kids insist on every week.
The 100% Buckwheat Soba noodles are also a family favorite and one of the only 100% buckwheat noodles I have found in HK, most of the soba here have wheat in them.
These Mung Bean / Green Bean Vermicelli, in the bottom photo, are readily available and super cheap. They are fast to cook and are usually served cold so can be made in advance. My kids love them cold with sesame oil, while adults like to add chili sauce. They are also great in fresh Vietnamese spring rolls!
If you want other varieties, click here to find Gluten Free Pasta on iHerb. The Tinkyada Gluten Free Pasta is quite nice and has some fun shapes and colors for kids.
(Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Vegan Option)
My kids love porridge. They often request it, but they know they have to request it at least the night before.
Because I soak it for 12 hours first! Soaking makes it easier to digest, and with naturally fermented probiotics too.
Sometimes I double the recipe thinking it will last two days, but instead the kids insist on having it as part of their dinner, like tonight!
Photo: oatmeal soaking the night before with some whey
* water kefir to make it vegan
No need to warm it or cook it - this way the probiotic goodness remains beneficial for your body!
** You could add milk or yogurt instead of water - milk kefir, almond milk, coconut yogurt, etc...
My kids like to eat it with a huge dollop of yogurt (coconut yogurt to make it vegan).
Depending on your taste, you can add raisins to make it sweeter, or more apple, or other natural sweetener of your choice. You can also add more fruit or nuts - it's a nice base to customize as you desire.
You can also try it with other grains, but my kids are oatmeal fanatics at the moment so I am sticking with what they eat!
(Gluten Free, Grain Free, Nut Free, Sugar Free)
Currently, I am on a family holiday with all of my in-laws. I am loving using all the super fresh ingredients and creating dishes the kids and adults will be willing to try, and possibly like. These have no flour of any kind, the cheese and egg helped hold all of this together perfectly. They came out crispy and coconut oily and super yummy!
Tastes great plain or dipped in fresh tomato puree, or with apple sauce (like Hanukkah potato latkes!!)
Makes 15-20 small fritters, this amount will vary based on size of ingredients and of your fritters :)
** If you are on a low salt diet, you can rinse the zucchini and onion to get the salt off before you squeeze the moisture out.
*** Use an old cloth, or one you don't care about, as the zucchini can dye the cloth a bit green.
Kefir grains love to travel! Mine come with me everywhere and thrive in each new environment.
Many people have asked how to pack grains for travel, this is how I do it.
Why do I wrap so much? Partly for insulation, partly because the grains get so excited they often leak a bit, so I want to maximize my chances of keeping them contained and my clothing dry.
When you get to your destination, start fermenting right away. If for some reason you cannot, then just put in the fridge until you can.
To make things even easier I always bring a plastic strainer, funnel and a bag of coconut sugar so I have everything I need. If there is not a glass jar, I buy one to use for the duration of our stay.
(Gluten Free, Vegan, Sugar Free)
I love adding kale to my green smoothies in the morning. The most convenient way to do this is by making these super easy frozen kale 'muffins'.
Where I live in Hong Kong, kale is not readily available, so I tend to buy a 2 week supply at a time. Kale is so very big and fluffy it takes up an entire shelf of the fridge. These Frozen Kale Muffins are the solution!
Now you know how to make a 2 week supply of 'frozen kale muffins' for your green smoothies!
Of course, I also love to have fresh kale salads, kale chips, kale pesto and more.
You can buy kale in HK at the following locations:
Green Queen's Guide to Kale in Hong Kong
Green Vitamin (It's organic, grown in HK and they have kale chips too!)
Just Green with locations around HK
Spice Box Organics in Sai Ying Pun
Great Supermarket in Pacific Place
Corner Block on Stanley Street in Central
Culture Organic Foods online shop
Eat Fresh has kale sometimes
(Gluten Free, Vegan, Raw, Refined Sugar Free)
Lemon is the flavor of the season for me - Lately, I am all about my preserved lemons, lemon kefir water and lemon chocolate!
Making raw chocolate is easy and fun. I make coconut oil chocolate, chocolate with cacao butter and chocolate with cacao paste.
This recipe uses both coconut oil and cacao butter. Which give the health benefits of the coconut oil, with texture and flavor from the cacao butter too. There is a minimal amount of raw cacao powder. The result is a very smooth texture and a subtle flavor - enhanced with lemon oil.
They look so very pretty 'two toned' - with the sweetener and cacao settling on the bottom and the lighter coconut oil on the top.
It's a gentle flavor, and absolutely tastes best straight from the freezer. The thin 'coin' shaped ones are a perfectly cold, crisp, refreshing raw chocolate.
Option: You can also opt to put all the ingredients in a blender and whip it up that way - this does result in an even smoother final product, and I recommend doing this if you use a granular sugar or want less of a two toned result.
Please note, these will melt at room temperature due to the high amount of healthy coconut oil, they store best in the freezer.
Healthy Chocolate or Carob Bark
50 Wicked Bites - Raw Chocolate
(Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Vegan, Raw)
I love wraps. Yes, I could just eat my salad with a fork, or just put my avocado and homemade probiotic rich kraut on a cracker... but there is something really satisfying about picking up a wrap with my fingers and biting into it.
When I made this recipe, I made it two ways - as a thin wrap and as 'bread'. After taste testing with a few friends, the wrap was the winner. You can see the bread in the photos below for comparison.
These are super easy to make, and come out really great.
The recipe is flexible, so you can play with the ingredients and flavors - add carrots in place of some zucchini, use more onion, add a clove of garlic, have fun trying some different ideas!
Store in a sealed glass or plastic container in the fridge - will last 1-2 weeks.
** Soak your nuts and seeds for 4-12 hours before using them
Essential Living Food Raw Chia Bread
(Fermented, Vegan, Raw, Gluten Free, Sugar Free)
Sometimes a fancy drink is all you need... in my case, that means a fancy probiotic mocktail, and this is one of my favorites!
This specific drink was born of necessity. I was teaching a water kefir class in Hong Kong, and the coconut water kefir was perfect that morning, then went a tiny bit too fermented right before the class (that happens easily in hot Hong Kong!). The entire class tasted the 'too fermented' coconut water kefir, then I made it into a Kefir-Colada, and everyone loved the results!
It is really important to understand that there is always something you can do with kefir or kombucha that has gone 'too' fermented or 'too' sour - you can dilute it, put it in a smoothie, make a mocktail and more - be creative!
Pour into your fanciest cocktail glasses and enjoy with your family and friends - perfectly find for the little ones too, since there is no alcohol!
Coconut or water Kefir 'too' fermented - then this is the perfect way to use it!
Leftovers - make probiotic ice pops for the kiddies to enjoy on a hot summer day.
Kefir Class Notes
Coconut Water Kefir
Probiotic Ice Pops
LoulaNatural's Alcoholic Kefir Kolada
Kefir is a simple to make drink that has over 35 strains of probiotics. Most importantly, they live in the right ratios and in harmony to take action in your body right away.
Drinking kefir can help improve your digestion, immunity, reduce inflammation, increase mental clarity and improve your mood to name a few benefits. It is good for everyone, from babies to the elderly - especially for pregnant and breast feeding mothers! A healthy gut is the foundation for a healthy you.**
This brief overview tells you what you need, and what you need to know, to make kefir at home. These notes have been designed for my Kefir - The Probiotic Elixir class in Hong Kong, but can also be used as stand alone information for anyone interested in learning more about kefir.
There is also a slideshow at the bottom of this page with more kefir related photos.
What is kefir?
Kefir grains are a living combination of bacteria and yeast which live in a symbiotic relationship. The grains can be used in sugar water, coconut water, juice, nut milks or dairy milk to make a natural healthy probiotic drink. Kefir is alkalizing to your body. The grains are not actually a 'grain', and the drinks, although made with sugar are not sweet. The grains metabolize (eat) the sugar and produce beneficial probiotics, often along with some natural fizz! The end result is not sweet, but can have an alcohol content of up to 1%, but often only 0.5%.
Why drink kefir?
Please refer to:
How to make kefir?
Fermenting the kefir - this involves putting the grains in a 1-2 liter glass jar, feeding them with some sugar, and letting them sit for 8-24 hours.
Straining the kefir - to remove the grains and prepare the kefir for drinking.
At this point you can use the kefir, or decide to do a second ferment to give it some different flavors and some more fizz.
Second ferments involve letting the kefir soak with fruit, herbs or roots to flavor it naturally, for a very enjoyable probiotic drink.
1-2 liter glass jar with a wide mouth (good for air circulation and easy to clean)
1 plastic sieve (the grains don't like metal)
1 plastic funnel
1 liter glass jar with a stopper (see photo below right for two options)
coconut sugar or maple syrup or other high mineral sugar (not honey)
filtered, non chlorinated water
Note on Sugar
There are two great coconut sugars available in Hong Kong - Cocobono and Stephen James Organics. Cocobono also has a ginger coconut sugar! I use this organic grade B maple syrup from iHerb. Both coconut sugar and maple syrup have lots of minerals in them that the kefir grains love, and are good for you too!
Please remember, although we use sugar to make kefir, kefir is NOT sweet and does not have much sugar after - the kefir grains 'eat' the sugar and produce the probiotics. Kefir is perfectly fine for those on a sugar free diet!
If you use coconut water, nut milk, fruit juice or dairy milk, you do not need to add sugar. You only add sugar when you use plain water.
Making kefir takes 8-24 hours in HK, depending upon the weather. In summer it is often as fast as 8 hours, while winter can be 24 or more hours.
Kefir grains are living, they change, they have moods, they have different needs at different times - what follows is a basic recipe, but as you ferment more and more you will find you need to adjust the amounts of sugar and the time based on how your grains and drink are coming out. So this is more a 'starting guide' than an exact recipe that must be followed.
Part 1 - Starting the Kefir Ferment - this takes about 5 minutes
Kefir loves to be agitated - move it, shake it, stir it, bump it when you walk by. This is one reason the top of the fridge is a great spot as the fridge will move every time it is open and closed.
Taste after 8 hours, after 12 hours, after 18 hours, after 24 hours. When it stops tasting sweet, and tastes somewhere between 'like nothing' and 'a bit sour' it is done!
OPTIONS: Instead of using water and sugar, you can use coconut water, fruit juice or nut milk. When you use coconut water, fruit juice or nut milk do not add any sugar, also do not add the lemon. Please note that all of these will ferment much faster than water and sugar - so the times will be greatly reduced.
Part 2 - Straining the Kefir Grains this takes about 5 minutes
You can opt to drink it now - it will have a very mild taste. It is great in your green smoothie or just straight up
Part 3 - Optional Second Ferment (Adding Flavors) - this takes about 5 minutes
Second Ferment Flavors for Water and Coconut Water Kefir
Caring for your Kefir Grains
Resources for further learning
Articles and Recipes
Kefir and Kombucha and Fermenting - Why Why Why
Coconut Water Kefir
Almond Milk Kefir
Kefir-Colada a Probiotic Mocktail
Probiotic Ice Pops
Kefir and Kombucha - The Importance of Burping (your bottles!)
Coconut Yogurt Kefir
How to Open a Coconut
Kefir Grains - Cleaning with Baking Soda
5 Ways to Heal your Digestive System
What is Dysbiosis?
**Live Science - 5 Ways Gut Bacteria Affect Your Health
**The Economist - Gut Instinct
NYT - Some of My Best Friends are Germs
HuffPost - What Your Gut Bacteria Says About You
Daily Mail - The Unlikely New Medicine... Pickled Cabbage
NPR - Gut Bacteria Cartoon
Culture Your Life
The Art of Fermentation
( Fermented, Vegan, Raw, Gluten Free, Sugar Free)
What kids don't love ice pops? Especially on a hot summer day in Hong Kong, these are a go-to snack!
I have always made homemade ice pops for my kids, usually with fruit. Watermelon and chia seeds is the all time favorite, with coconut water and mango coming in a close second.
Now our ice pops have an extra probiotic boost from kefir!
How to make Kefir - http://www.lantaumama.com/blog/kefir-the-probiotic-elixir-class-notes
Below are the exact ice pop molds we use. We even bring them on holiday with us so we can have ice pops everywhere we go!
Silicon Ice Pop Molds - these fit great in the freezer, and are good for ages 7 and up
Rocket Ice Pop Molds - these are easy to fill, and are larger so good for ages 5 and up
Star/Flower Ice Pop Molds - these are easy to fill, and are larger so good for ages 5 and up
Ring Pop Molds - perfect size for younger kids - or bigger kids whom are not so hungry
Click on the photo below to be brought to the appropriate Amazon page. If you buy from that link, I get a tiny tiny commission (pennies), and it doesn't cost you anything extra :)