Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Friday Food 115 – Dried Baked Wheat Gluten

Friday food is an occasional article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This time we are getting glutinous.

The first time I saw this I was confused. Not an unusual experience, I find.

The Chinese name is 脱水烤麸 which I translated literally as “Dehydrated Roasted Bran”. A good reminder to never rely on literal translations. It is in fact dehydrated baked wheat gluten. Well, at least I got the ‘dehydrated’ part right.

Gluten is what is left of wheat when you wash out all the starch. This is then leavened with yeast which causes it to puff up, after which it is baked or steamed. The final product is light and spongy. It can sometimes be found in markets at this stage. But more often it is dehydrated and sold in bags.

tuoshui kaofu bran

This 250g bag cost me ¥9.90.

After rehydrating ( a two hour soak), the gluten can be used in stir fries or hot pots etc. It is one of these foods which soak up the taste of whatever it is cooked with, but is also a good source of protein. It has a particular affinity with all kinds of mushrooms and other fungi.

Dehydrated Baked Wheat Gluten

Dehydrated Baked Wheat Gluten

Rehydrated Wheat Gluten

Rehydrated Wheat Gluten

Now I know the two photos above look almost the same, but until they develop touchy-feely internet you’ll have to take my word, they are very different. From solid bricks, the gluten is now like a thick bath sponge. It still doesn’t really feel like anything I’d want to put in my mouth, though. Only after it soaks up the cooking medium does it become in any way palatable, but to be honest, I wouldn’t be upset if I never came across it again.

This is also one of the main things they use in vegetarian restaurants in China to make mock duck, mock beef, mock food in general. What is it with vegetarians? If you only want to eat vegetables, get on with it and stop pretending it’s the meat you hate so much!

. This entry was posted on Friday, March 14th, 2014 at 7:00 am and is filed under Food and Drink, Friday Food. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Friday Food 115 – Dried Baked Wheat Gluten”

  1. Robert Says:

    As I tell the laopo, another Chinese trompe l’oeil food, like red bean paste faking for chocolate dessert, Squash passing for potatoes.

    Those look like croutons.

  2. Liuzhou Laowai Says:

    They would never pass for croutons! They are about 20 times larger.

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