I was driving out in Ellerslie the other afternoon, and found myself compelled to do a swift u-turn as I caught sight of the sign that shows in this picture! I needed some chickpea flour, so thought I’d pop in and see if they had any. I found a lot more than I was expecting.
From the outside, the store doesn’t look like much. It’s fairly small and looks like it could be a converted petrol station. It has the wonderful smell of any Indian wholesale shop. Up on the wall inside the flour part of the shop is the list in the picture below. I was studying it and the proprietor came up to me and asked if I needed any help.
Twenty minutes later, I knew significantly more about gluten-free flours and starches, tastes, extra items you can use to make cakes, muffins and breads spongier, and about why guar gum is the best binding ingredient to use. Did you know it is actually called guvar gum and comes from beans? Seriously! Here’s the Wikipedia link! I also found that buying flours imported from India is better, because although they’re refined versions, you can still see the remnants of the little black ‘eyes’ – parts of the seeds or grains. These flours are less processed than the ones we get in from other countries and have no hidden additives.
I left with sorghan (also called sorghum) flour – a bit sweeter than some of the other flours and excellent for muffins, cakes and biscuits. Also fine ground amaranth flour, potato flour (as differentiated from potato starch) and my new ingredient, which I have yet to test, PSYLLIUM. Psyllium apparently is an ingredient, also derived from plants, which is used in gluten-free baking to make the items baked less like a rock and more spongy. Wow. I’m planning a cake making session shortly, so will report back.
Armed with my collection of new flours, I came home and made up a slightly different flour mix, which includes amaranth and sorghan flour rather than chickpea flour. I’ll be interested to see how it goes.
I can HIGHLY recommend Shahji’s, both for the range of gluten-free products available and also for the extensive knowledge of the proprietor. I’ll leave you with two things – a picture of the list of the 16 gluten-free flours they had available. This is an old list. Now, I am proudly told, there are NINETEEN different flours held here, which they import themselves.
The last thing is the words of my host. He says “When I see people come in with a small face because they have just learned they cannot eat gluten any more, I tell them to be happy! There are so many new tastes and flavours for them now that they would never have discovered.” What a great way to look upon it, and I really wish I’d found this amazing shop when I was first told I shouldn’t eat gluten. It’s well worth the trip to Marua Road.
Shahji’s Royal Masala is located at 137 Marua Road, Ellerslie. And no, this is not a sponsored post.