We must admit we normally avoid rice cakes in all their guises, opting instead either for g-f bread or for crunchy bites made Mary’s gone Crackers created from organic g-f ingredients: brown rice, quinoa, flax and sesame seeds with tamari and other seasonings, including soy. They are moreish, not least as they are both tasty and crunchy (even if left out for a while in the humidity of the tropics, which has a habit of turning crackers limp). They can be eaten on their own, but are better topped with hummus or tabbouleh.
Whilst we aren’t fans of rice cakes, sometimes there really isn’t any alternative. As far as airlines are concerned, some of them could definitely do better. It makes my heart sink to see the unimaginative quota of two rounds of rice cakes suffocated in cling film that is the usual offering. That said, many years ago Air New Zealand, who at that time operated a direct flight from Hong Kong to London, served the first truly acceptable g-f bread I had tasted. It can be done.
Part of the general problem with rice cakes is their lack of taste and their slightly chalky texture. Despite that misgiving, I occasionally buy different brands, even if it is just to try see if any have improved. Of the recent packets I bought, one is a thin brown rice version made by an Australian company Sun Rice which were more acceptable than some other varieties I have tried and have the benefit of being thinner, acting better as carriers of a topping . After all, does anyone eat rice cakes on their own?
Wanting to offer further possibility of redemption, and being mildly intrigued, I bought apple flavoured rice cakes made by the established British manufacturer Mrs Crimble’s marked ‘deliciously gluten-free’. Apart from tasting of apple as they advertised, they were also slightly sweetened, something I don’t associate with a rice cake. I must admit I have yet to work out what they would go well with (ham and chutney possibly?) but I can see they might be quite appealing to children who need to eat g-f.
As I have mentioned elsewhere, one of our all time favourite ‘thins’ are the Martin’s Marvelous naturals ‘crisps’. Their rosemary lavender variety is a creative blend of sunflower and flax seeds, combined with raisins, oats and (as their name suggests) rosemary and lavender; these are outstanding and, unlike the rice thins, we would choose to eat these whether we were avoiding gluten or not.
A close run second are their Pumpkin Seed Cranberry and Chocolate Mole varieties. We had held off buying the latter variety being unsure of the addition of chocolate, but these too are a success story. Paired as the chocolate is with spices, it changes the taste in a fascinating way – we wonder if you gave them to friends who didn’t know the ingredients whether they would identify the chocolate. Needless to say they are moreish and go very well with goats or other types of cheese. Best of all they are g-f. The only downside is that they have the wilt factor in humidity, although they can be refreshed in the oven. Being careful to put the remainder in a sealed bag might also help. But that is a minor concern. The bigger one is that – so far at least – we have only been able to find them in Singapore. Any importers out there, please bring them in to other Asian countries.