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A recipe calls for coating (slightly cooked) fennel bulbs in flour before roasting them, presumably to obtain a bit of a crust. Is there anything I could coat them with that is gluten-free?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Rice flour should work well for this; it produces very crispy crusts.

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Doesn't rice flour also contain gluten? – Carmi Oct 6 '10 at 13:29
No. Rice generally thought of as a good gluten free alternative. Brown rice contains something like .02 of gluten so some highly intolerant people can only have white. I emphasis that this is rare though. – nunu Oct 6 '10 at 13:50
@nunu: thanks for the correction. It seems I learn something new every few hours, and unlearn something wrong every day. – Carmi Oct 8 '10 at 7:43

I like nuts that are finely chopped, kinda like bread crumbs. Almond flour will perhaps work as well.

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The last time I made "breaded" chicken, I had some spare lentils leftover and decided to pulse them in the food processor and try using them (not quite to a fine powder, but closer to that than whole). The result was delicious, a little bit of a nutty flavor, and a great crunch.

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+1 for a cool, off the beaten path idea. Did the wife consider it a vegetable? ;) – yossarian Oct 7 '10 at 3:15
@yossarian - HA! I didn't think to ask, but I bet she did :) and it must have been pretty good because she asked me to make it again the next week! – stephennmcdonald Oct 7 '10 at 3:29
This sounds delicious! Were the lentils cooked or raw when you pulsed them? – Dorrene Oct 7 '10 at 13:38
They were still raw - which is why I decided to take them down to a size that was as close to a powder as I could without being an actual full-on powder (though I suspect a powder would work just as well, maybe with just a little less crunch) – stephennmcdonald Oct 7 '10 at 13:43

I would consider using potato flour. It gives a coating sort of like the outside of a chip (french fry).

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And for the cases where you're replacing breadcrumbs instead of flour, you can crush up potato chips (but use the thicker cut ones, like the ripple cut ones) – Joe Oct 7 '10 at 2:06

Actually, what I usually use at home is chickpea flour. It has a neutral flavour, generally, and gives a nice brown coat to my pakoras.

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I'd use corn starch. It's gluten free and I use it as part of (although not all of) my fried chicken coating for extra crispiness.

Almond meal is another alternative.

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Grits, which is to say coarsely-ground corn. Also try masa, which is very finely-ground corn. You can find masa in Mexican grocery stores.

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Bean flour, usually from lentils is a very good gluten free replacement for many things (except in baking). It's very popular in a lot of Indian food.

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@Nick is correct. Gram flour (milled from chickpeas) is used extensively for 'crunch' with fried stuff. It does have a taste of its own which although tasty, doesn't necessarily go with everything. But its definitely worth a try.

Its also a very good alternative to facial scrub cosmetics.

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