It is time for Mid-Autumn Festival with beautiful mooncakes. Almost every shop has a signature mooncake set for sale. Delicious flavors and striking colors, almost too pretty to eat. But when it is time to slice them up, how do you know what is in them?
For most people, checking the ingredients list is not a high priority. But for those people with dietary intolerances or on medically prescribed diets, ingredients are critical knowledge. Many mooncakes vendors are not sure of the specific ingredients
If you are on a strict gluten free diet, traditional baked mooncakes offered in the shops are made with wheat flour and are off-limits. Snowskin mooncakes however are traditionally made from gluten-free ingredients. The skins are a combination of fried glutinous rice flour (kou fien), icing sugar and shortening. The paste on the inside is traditionally made from lotus seeds and flavored. Yet sometimes gluten containing ingredients may be added to the dough or fillings to add stability or texture.
Over here at Gluten Free Singapore, we have been busy sourcing our ingredients for our upcoming mooncake classes. Now that we have a new box of capsules for our Nima Sensor*, we though we would double check the products we use. To be fair, none of our fillings are labeled as gluten-free. Yet reading through the ingredient list, there are not red flags to indicate the presence of gluten.
- Kou Fien – gluten-free
- Icing Sugar – gluten-free.
- Pineapple Paste – Redman brand – gluten-free
- Lotus Seed Paste – Redman brand – gluten-free
- Chocolate Lotus Seed Paste – Redman brand – gluten-free
- Lotus Seed Paste – Gold Tree – GLUTEN DETECTED
- Gula Melaka flavor Lotus Seed Paste – Gold Tree – GLUTEN DETECTED
- Passion Fruit Paste and Ginger Paste – GLUTEN DETECTED
(See photos at end of post)
No one was more surprised than us to find some of our fillings tested positive for gluten. Based on the ingredients listed on the package, the paste should be gluten-free. Without an invitation to visit the manufacturing facility, we have no what of knowing where the gluten has come from. Sometimes precise ingredient names can get lost in translation. It is possible that items such as ‘malt sugar’ get translated simply as ‘sugar’ in the ingredient list. Cross contamination is not an ingredient and does not need to be listed. Gluten Free Singapore will continue to monitor the ingredients that we are using.
Happy mooncake making!
If you are feeling confident, make your own homemade lotus paste is our easy to follow recipe.
If you need a little extra help making your own mooncakes, we are happy to offer classes. Check our UPCOMING CLASS page for further information on what is currently available.
Most of our ingredients are purchased at Phoon Huat, but occasionally we are able to find them at Cold Storage or FairPrice.
* Nima Sensors are a small device that is able to test for the presence of gluten in a food or product. To test, a small amount of the food is placed into a single use capsule and then placed into the machine. Results are shown in about 4 minutes.
Nima Sensors are currently sold in USA & Canada – but not Singapore. Each test requires a new capsule. The capsules are sold in boxes of 12 and usually have about a 4 month shelf life before they expire. The cost is about $10 per test.