Living in Paris, I've been surprised at the wide variety of gluten free foods available in grocery stores in the capital. Not all the brands are the same as the ones I'm used to seeing at home, but nevertheless, we I've managed to find bread, pasta, cookies, cereal, flour blends, and more at my local grocer.
What I had a hard time finding was gluten free soy sauce. The French seem to have a love affair with Asian-inspired food, so there's no shortage of sauces, dips, sushi kits, spring roll kits, soups, rice vinegars, noodles and more. What they don't have is a selection of gluten free versions of most of these products. The rice paper rolls are naturally gluten free, and I managed to find some rice vinegar and a spring roll dipping sauce that are gluten free, but soy sauce eluded me.
I even took to Amazon to see what was available, only to find a bottle for sale for 30 Euros. Um, no. Feeling disheartened, I almost gave up my search and pledged to bring some back with me when I travel to Canada later this month. But because I'm stubborn, I kept scrolling through the pages on Google, eventually stumbling upon a chain of stores that sell gluten free items called Naturalia. There are several locations scattered around Paris, but I decided to stop into the one close to the Centre Pompidou when I took the kids for a Sunday visit to the museum.
And HURRAY! Gluten Free Soy Sauce! For just over 3 Euros, I was able to bring home a small bottle of soy sauce that has allowed me to continue making some of my favourite dishes.
The first dish I made was actually a take on a dish I saw here in Paris. My husband bought himself an all-in-one noodle bowl at a takeaway place one day, and my son was a bit disappointed that he couldn't have any since he's used to eating noodles from a local Vietnamese restaurant in Canada. The bowl was filled with noodles, grated raw vegetables, cooked meat, sesame seeds, and topped with soy sauce. I decided to make a similar version using seasoned rice, carrots, red cabbage, fresh garlic and ginger, beef strips, sesame seeds, and gluten free soy sauce.
Simple to make, healthy, and even better looking than the gluten filled original! I prefer chicken to beef, and would love to make a teriyaki version for myself. It would also be amazing with some edamame, bean sprouts, or any other vegetable you enjoy. Try out the original version for yourself using my recipe below, and then make it your own by changing up the basic ingredients.
Fresh Vegetable, Beef, and Rice Bowl
- 1 1/2 cups steamed or cooked rice1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sugar or to taste
- 200 grams beef strips, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- grated ginger to taste
- 2 tbsp sesame oil (or other oil if sesame oil is unavailable)
- soy sauce to taste
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 1/2-3/4 cup red cabbage, shredded
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, optional (buy toasted or lightly toast in a dry pan)
- hot sauce (optional)
Cook the rice according to package directions. Using a glutinous rice makes the rice stick together better. While the rice is cooking, slightly warm the rice vinegar and dissolve the sugar in it. Set aside to use with the rice when serving.
Prepare the carrots and cabbage and set aside.
In a frying pan, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic and grated ginger, and heat through for about 1 minute. Add the beef strips and cook through. My husband likes his still pink, but I like mine well done. Season with soy sauce.
Mix the cooked rice with the seasoned rice vinegar and place in two serving bowls. Top with the raw vegetables and cooked beef strips. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over the top, and serve with additional gluten free soy sauce and some hot sauce on the side.
This has since become the base for many variations of the same dish. Swap out the rice for rice noodles, the beef for chicken, salmon, or tofu, change up the veggies- so many ways to make it your own. Enjoy!