Is a poppadom gluten free?

Poppadoms are a popular Indian appetizer or side dish. They are thin, crispy, disc-shaped wafers made from lentil or chickpea flour. Poppadoms can be served plain or flavored with spices. They make a crunchy accompaniment to many Indian dishes.

With the rise in gluten intolerance and celiac disease, many people wonder if poppadoms are safe to eat on a gluten-free diet. The answer depends on how the poppadoms are made. Traditional poppadoms are gluten-free, but some brands contain wheat flour. Here is a detailed look at whether poppadoms contain gluten and how to find gluten-free options.

Are Traditional Poppadoms Gluten Free?

Authentic Indian poppadoms are naturally gluten-free. Traditional poppadoms are made from lentil or chickpea flour rather than wheat flour. Specifically, they are made from these gluten-free flours:

  • Besan flour – Made from channa dal (split chickpeas)
  • Urad flour – Made from urad dal (split black lentils)
  • Rice flour
  • Sago flour

Poppadoms made with those traditional gluten-free flours and nothing else contain no gluten and are safe for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Here are some examples of traditionally gluten-free poppadom ingredients:

  • Urad dal flour
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Turmeric
  • Chili powder
  • Asafoetida
  • Sesame seeds

As long as the ingredients contain no wheat flour, wheat starch, barley, rye, or oats, traditional poppadoms made with lentil and chickpea flours are gluten-free.

Some Poppadoms Contain Wheat Flour

While authentic poppadoms are naturally gluten-free, some modern commercial brands add wheat flour to their poppadoms. This makes them not gluten-free.

Many mass-produced poppadom brands use a mixture of besan (chickpea flour), urad dal flour, and wheat flour. This gives the poppadoms a different texture and allows them to be thinner and crispier. But the addition of any wheat flour means they contain gluten.

Here are some examples of poppadom ingredients that contain gluten:

  • Besan
  • Wheat flour
  • Urad dal flour
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Spices

Any poppadoms with wheat flour on the ingredients list are not safe for a gluten-free diet. Even tiny amounts of wheat flour can trigger issues for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Checking the Ingredients List

To find gluten-free poppadoms, you need to carefully read the ingredients list on the package. Watch out for:

  • Wheat flour
  • Wheat starch
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Oats (unless certified gluten-free)

Avoid any poppadoms that list those ingredients. Stick to brands that are made with traditional gluten-free flours like chickpea, lentil, rice, and sago flours. Call the manufacturer if you have any doubts.

Also watch out for cross-contamination. Some brands process wheat-based poppadoms on the same equipment as gluten-free ones. Contact the company to find out about their facilities and production practices.

Finding Gluten-Free Poppadom Brands

Many national brands of poppadoms contain at least some wheat flour, so they are not gluten-free. But there are some good gluten-free options, including:

  • Deep Indian Kitchen
  • Bombay Express
  • Swad
  • Nature’s Nectar
  • Mother India’s
  • Dr. Praeger’s (sensible foods)
  • Foods of India
  • Gluten Free Chutneys
  • Everfresh

Always verify the ingredients each time you buy, since formulations can change. Asian and Indian specialty grocery stores are good places to find authentic gluten-free poppadoms. You can also find a variety of gluten-free poppadom options online.

When purchasing poppadoms in Indian restaurants, ask to see the package and ingredients list. Many restaurants get their poppadoms from local suppliers or import them directly from India. Discuss gluten ingredients with your server.

At restaurants, request that your poppadoms be served on a separate plate, not touching any sauces that may contain gluten. Cross-contact from sauces is a risk.

Gluten-Free Poppadom Recipes

If you want total control over ingredients, you can make homemade gluten-free poppadoms. Here are some recipes to try:

Besan Poppadoms

  • 2 cups besan (chickpea flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Water
  • Rice bran oil for frying

Mix the dry ingredients. Slowly add water and knead to form a firm dough.Divide into 10 equal balls and roll into very thin rounds using extra chickpea flour to prevent sticking.

Heat oil to 375°F and fry the poppadoms one at a time for 1-2 minutes until crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Masala Poppadoms

  • 1 cup sago flour
  • 1⁄2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ajwain
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Water

Whisk the dry ingredients. Add water and knead to a firm dough. Divide into 10 balls and roll into rounds. Fry at 375°F until crispy.

Multigrain Poppadoms

  • 1⁄2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1⁄2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1⁄2 cup millet flour
  • 1⁄4 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Water

Mix the dry ingredients. Add water to make a firm dough. Roll into rounds and fry in hot oil until crispy.

Storing Poppadoms

Fresh poppadoms are best consumed within a month or two. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature. If they lose their crispness, poppadoms can be revived by lightly spraying with water and microwaving for 30-60 seconds.

You can also freeze poppadoms to extend their shelf life. Allow them to cool completely after frying, then place in freezer bags or airtight containers. They will keep for 3-6 months frozen. To reuse, let thaw and recrisp by microwaving or frying briefly.

Serving Poppadoms

Poppadoms make a tasty, gluten-free start to an Indian meal. They are traditionally served as an appetizer along with chutneys and other dips. Some ways to serve them include:

  • Plain with mango chutney and lime wedges
  • With raita, a seasoned yogurt dip
  • With avocado or cilantro chutney
  • Topped with shredded onions and tomatoes
  • Sprinkled with chaat masala spice blend

Be sure to check that any accompaniments are gluten-free as well. Poppadoms also make a nice crunchy base for scooping up rice dishes, dals, and curries. Break into shard-like pieces and use instead of naan or other Indian breads.

Nutrition of Poppadoms

Poppadoms are low in fat and high in fiber and certain nutrients:

Poppadom Nutrition Facts (per 2 poppadoms) Amount
Calories 106
Fat 1 g
Carbohydrates 20 g
Fiber 4 g
Protein 3 g
Calcium 10% DV
Iron 5% DV

The fiber comes from the legume flours used. Poppadoms provide minerals like calcium and iron. They make a nourishing gluten-free accompaniment to meals.

Are Poppadoms Keto?

Plain poppadoms are relatively low in carbohydrates, with about 10 g net carbs per 2 poppadoms. So they may potentially fit into a keto diet in moderation. However, avoid seasoned poppadoms, which often have added sugar. And accompany them with low carb dips like guacamole instead of sweet mango chutney. Portion control is also important.

Poppadom FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about poppadoms:

Are prawn crackers gluten free?

Prawn crackers are made of tapioca starch, rice flour, and prawn powder. They typically do not contain any gluten ingredients, so most brands of prawn crackers are gluten-free.

Can you reheat poppadoms?

Yes, you can revive stale poppadoms by sprinkling with a little water and microwaving for 30-60 seconds until crispy again. They can also be quickly pan fried or deep fried to re-crisp.

Do you cook poppadoms?

Poppadoms are cooked twice during the production process. First a dough made from the flour and water is cooked on a hot plate. Then the discs are deep fried at a high temperature to make them crispy. They are fully cooked when purchased and just need to be served.

Are poppadoms vegan?

Traditional plain poppadoms are usually vegan, since they are made of lentil and chickpea flours. However, some seasoned varieties may contain milk products. Check ingredients lists for any dairy-based ingredients.

Can you freeze poppadoms after opening?

Yes, you can freeze opened packages of poppadoms to extend their shelf life. Ensure they are cooled completely after initially opening, then store in airtight containers or freezer bags. They will keep for 3-6 months frozen.

The Bottom Line

Traditional poppadoms made solely from lentil and chickpea flours are naturally gluten-free and safe for gluten-free diets. But some commercial brands include wheat flour, making them unsafe for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

To find gluten-free poppadoms, carefully read ingredients lists and look for brands made with chickpea, lentil, rice, or sago flours. Call manufacturers if in doubt. You can also make homemade gluten-free poppadoms using traditional recipes. Enjoy poppadoms as a crispy, nourishing accompaniment to Indian meals.

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