Category Archives: Gluten-Free

Old-Fashioned Sorghum Popcorn Balls

Old-Fashioned Popcorn Balls were a treat in the 1950s. This one uses sorghum syrup for a deeper, richer sticky sweetness.

2 c. sugar
1/2 c. corn syrup
1/2 c. sorghum
1 tbsp. vinegar
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. soda

Let sugar, syrup, sorghum, cream of tartar, butter and vinegar boil gently without stirring until portion clicks when tested in cold water (254 degrees).

Add soda and mix well. Pour over about 4 quarts of popped corn while still frothy. Form into balls with greased hands.

Citrus Sorghum Chipotle Chicken

Deeply satisfying and delightful, this Citrus Sorghum Chipotle Chicken is smoky and sweet.

Juice from 2 oranges
Juice from 2 limes
3 tablespoons sorghum molasses
1 tablespoon minced chipotle in adobo
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and ground black pepper
Olive oil or coconut oil
Fresh cilantro, for garnish

In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, sorghum and chipotle.

Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat enough olive oil or coconut to coat over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides. Pour in orange juice-sorghum mixture and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, turning chicken occasionally, for 10 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Transfer chicken to a plate or serving platter and tent with foil. Bring sauce in pan to a boil and simmer, stirring frequently, until reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve over chicken.

Makes 2 servings.

Spicy Sorghum Chicken Breasts

We call this Sweet Tang in my house. In fact spicy sorghum chicken breasts marinade is a staple in these parts.

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons sorghum syrup
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt
Pepper

Preparation

Put chicken breasts between sheets of wax paper and gently pound to about 1/2-inch thickness. Pierce both sides several times with fork and set aside.
In large resealable bag, combine canola oil, sorghum syrup, garlic, jalapenos and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken breasts to bag, seal and refrigerate 2–10 hours.
Heat grill to high. Remove chicken breasts from marinade and cook for 6 minutes. Turn to other side and cook for another 6 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Grilled Sorghum Tabbouleh Salad

Forget the boring greek salad – this grilled sorghum tabbouleh salad will fit right into any summer spread.

Ingredients

1 cup sorghum grain
3 cups water
1 yellow bell pepper, cored and quartered
1 red bell pepper, cored and quartered
1 white onion, cut into wedges
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
3 bunches parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/3 cup lemon juice
Salt
Pepper

Preparation

Add sorghum to water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 50 minutes or until water is absorbed. Set aside and let cool. Sorghum can be prepared in advance and refrigerated overnight.
Brush bell peppers and onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil and grill over medium heat for 4 minutes. Turn to other side and grill for another 4 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Chop grilled peppers and onion and add to cooled sorghum. Add parsley, mint, lemon juice and 1/4 cup olive oil to sorghum and toss lightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Roasted Fig Yogurt with Chai Sorghum Parfait

This easy recipe for roasted fig yogurt with chai sorghum parfait is a delightful healthy take on breakfast
Ingredients:
Chai Spiced Sorghum

  • 1 cup whole sorghum
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 black cardamon
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 whole allspice
  • raw honey, to taste

Roasted Figs

  • One pound fresh figs (~16-18 small)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • a few shakes ground cinnamon

Parfait

  • 3 cups non-fat or low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • raw honey, optional
  • toasted pistachios
Instructions:
Chai Spiced Sorghum
Place sorghum, water and spices in crockpot. Cook overnight on low. Drain and cool before using. Sweeten to taste with honey.
Roasted Figs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim stems and cut figs in half. Toss gently with maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Place on baking sheet. Roast 15 minutes, or until softened. Remove and cool.
Parfait
Layer cooked sorghum and Greek yogurt, and top with Roasted Figs. Sprinkle with pistachios and drizzle with a little honey if desired.

African Sorghum Beers

A Brief History of African Sorghum Beers

How this simple brew was used by the state, but claimed by the people.

Sorghum beers have had a very long and, at least of late, fairly complicated history in some nations of the vast African continent. From playing a part in village economics to racist restrictions and state control, traditional opaque beer has been used for hundreds of years through a wide variety of African cultures to celebrate special occasions and to relax after a hard day of work, regardless of local political and social upheaval.

Sorghum

This pinkish-brown, cloudy beer is made from fermented sorghum grass, a native plant that grows throughout Africa and that lends itself to the fermentation process particularly well. Specific cultivars of the plant have long been chosen based on the quality of the malt that they produce. Sorghum grass itself is rich in protein, which results in a foamy head for the final beer product, a slightly sour, slightly fruity, but much loved drink with a variety of regional tweaks that are very distinctive. From the sour taste of pombe in East Africa to the milder flavor of burukuto in Nigeria, unique local versions of sorghum beer can be found all over the continent.

Opaque Beer

The drink is relatively easy to brew and recipes for it have been passed down for generations through families in towns and villages across Africa. Independent brews are commonly sold from homes and along the side of the road, particularly in more remote areas where commercial brands aren’t as readily available. In fact, some estimates put the production of home brews in some parts of the continent at close to the same amount as that of commercial sorghum beer producers. Although they are illicit, Zimbabwean beverages like Zed and Blue Diamond are some of the best-selling brew in the country. Scud, as local sorghum beer is called there, makes up a substantial part of some local economies.

South Africa

One thing that’s generally consistent among different brews of sorghum beer is the relatively low alcohol content – normally falling somewhere between only about 1% and 8% – and that factor has played a part in its availability to black Africans in recent years. For many years during South Africa’s apartheid regime, black citizens faced a prohibition on almost all alcohol, as a means of control by the white government. But umqombothi, the version of sorghum beer that had been produced by local Bantu tribes for centuries, was excluded from the ban due to its exceptionally low alcohol content. At only about 3% alcohol at its most potent, umqombothi was seen as the only alcoholic beverage that black people could drink without losing control.

The state also used production of umqombothi in order to fund the segregationist policies of white lawmakers who sought to create “native locations” outside of the main cities and towns where white people were living. Because the government was the sole maker of commercially made umqombothi, they could use the proceeds made from selling it in these black communities to pay for keeping the races separate.

The fact is, sorghum beer has roots in African culture stretching back for hundreds of years. Regardless of whether you are drinking bil-bil in Cameroon or chibuku in Zambia, the sorghum beer that you’re consuming is part of the rich tradition of the local people and their customs.

Asian Sorghum Spirits

The Popularity of Sorghum-Based Spirits in Asia

This ancient drink has become more popular than ever thanks to a wide variety of brand names that are bringing the beverage to the masses.

Distilled spirits have been used in China for centuries as a way to celebrate and wish the efforts of one’s friends and neighbors well, and sorghum-based alcohol and wine are still some of the most popular drinks on the Asian market to serve this purpose. Across cultures, sorghum-based alcohol drinks may go by many different names, but whether it’s called baijiu, firewater or white lightening, this ancient distilled spirit has become the go-to for Asian cultures from China to Taiwan to Korea throughout the years.

Baijiu

Baijiu is a common Chinese alcohol that has typically been derived from sorghum, a type of grass which can easily be distilled into a clear and relatively smooth tasting drink. It is frequently referred to as the “Chinese vodka” for its similarities in clarity and consistency to traditional vodka. Chinese connoisseurs of baijiu place a heavy emphasis on the aroma of the alcohol, describing the differences in relation to the unique fragrance of each beverage. Some will offer a noticeably lighter or darker fragrance, while others provide a distinctive honey, sauce or rice fragrance. The drink is also often referred to as shaojiu and it generally contains a much higher alcohol content than other types of distilled spirits, with anywhere from 40% to 60% alcohol content considered to be standard.

Brand Names

One of the most recognized name brands selling baijiu these days is Wuliangye, which offers a clean and freshly fragranced drink that is commonly sold in countries throughout Asia. Moutai, a popular brand of baijiu sold across mainland China, is a sauce-fragranced variation of the beverage that is made in the town Maotai and is said to derive its distinctive qualities from the regional climate and vegetation where it is produced. Fen ji, meanwhile, presents a light fragrance and pristine clarity that is virtually unmatched by most other brands.

Throughout China, Taiwan and Korea, consumers enjoy a type of baijiu called kaoling or gao liang, which has an especially light fragrance and mellow feel. A commercially-available Taiwanese brand of kaoling called Kinmen Kaoling claims to have perfected the art of aged kaoling for commercial production, making it widely available and one of the top sellers of baijiu in the world.

Regardless of where it is produced, it appears that sorghum-based baijiu is certainly here to stay. With its generally low price tag and smooth, mellow flavor, this distilled spirit is sure to continue to gain popular favor not only in Asia, but across the globe.

Gluten Free Sorghum

The Rise of Sorghum Beers & Alcohols in the U.S.

Gluten-free sorghum options have been a big hit in the states

While sorghum-based beer and alcohol have long been staples in Africa and Asia, beverages that use this grassy plant as a base have only just started to develop a real following in the U.S., thanks to the increased demand for gluten-free products over the past decade. The fact that these drinks also often have a more mellow flavor than many of their barley-based counterparts has certainly contributed to their growing popularity across America as well.

Because sorghum can be brewed to create a drink that is completely free of gluten, beer and alcohol drinks that are sorghum-based can be readily enjoyed by those who suffer from celiac disease or who have sensitivities to glycoproteins. It can be brewed into beer or into a distilled spirit that is similar to traditional whiskey, but either way, it offers a nice alcohol option for anyone trying to avoid gluten.

Sorghum Beer


Ever since Anheuser-Busch introduced their Redbridge sorghum-based beer on a national scale in 2006, sales of this type of brew have grown steadily and there are now a number of small brewhouses across the U.S. and elsewhere who are now producing their own varieties. Dogfish Head Tweason Ale out of Delaware leads the way with a beer that is fruity and mildly sweet, while Bard’s Original Sorghum Malt Beer, produced in Minnesota, offers the scent and flavor of malt and sour apples.

In Oregon, Ground Breaker Brewing, formerly known as Harvester, uses a special white sorghum syrup produced locally to create their Pale Ale, which also features chestnuts and plenty of hops for flavor. Colorado’s New Planet Brewery makes all sorghum-based beers, from a citrusy Pale Ale to their spicier Belgian, while Lakefront Brewery in Wisconsin has introduced New Grist, a smooth and crisp sorghum-based alternative. Meanwhile, Shakparo is a “Fire-Brewed African Style Ale” from Sprecher Brewing that lives up to its name with a crisp and slighty sour taste that is sure to keep your attention.

American breweries aren’t the only ones getting in on the sorghum-based trend, however. Sorgham Beer, produced by St. Peter’s Brewery in Suffolk, England is reminiscent of a German Pilsner and it’s quietly become one of the most popular gluten-free import beers available in the U.S.

Spirits


There are other gluten-free alcoholic drinks that you can make from sorghum grass and two distilleries in Wisconsin have proven to be winners in the market. Queen Jennie is a silky sweet sorghum whiskey with a nutty aroma and flavor, while Brown Dog offers up a delectable apple and oak combination. Both are sure to delight anyone who thought they could never have whiskey again because of its gluten content.

Although sorghum-based beer and spirits may only be catching on in America recently, there can be little doubt that these gluten-free options will continue to gain in popularity over the next several years.

Sorghum Syrup BBQ Sauce

Here’s an easy sorghum syrup BBQ sauce that you can make at home.
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup Sorghum Syrup
  • 1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 Yellow Mustard
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp Tabasco Sauce
Instructions:
Stir all ingredients together
Bring to a boil on medium heat
Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes
Refrigerate leftovers

Almond Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Toasted almonds and creamy chocolate make these almond chocolate chip biscotti great for dunking!
Makes about 20 biscotti

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot flour
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teapsoon fine sea or Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup unrefined sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the sorghum flour, arrowroot flour, quinoa flour, xanthan gum, flaxseeds, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk until combined. Put the sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract in a stand mixer. Beat until smooth and well combined. Turn the mixer to low speed. Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, beating until well mixed. The dough will be stiff. Use your hands to knead in the almonds and chocolate chips.

Transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Using lightly floured hands, form it into two logs, each about 8 x 3-inches. Bake for 25 minutes, until firm to the touch but not hard. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.

Decrease the oven to 300F. Cut each log into 3/4-inch slices using a sharp knife—do not saw. Remove the parchment paper from the baking sheet. Put the slices on one side, cut-side down, and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the slices onto the other side and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until toasted and firm. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. The biscotti will continue to harden after they have cooled.