Saturday, January 4, 2014

Mkate wa sinia/ Mkate wa kumimina (Gluten-Free Rice Cake)


Mkate wa sinia (also known as mkate wa kumimina) is a type of baked bread/cake made from rice flour (or soaked, ground rice) mixed with yeast, water, sugar, egg white, cardamom powder and coconut milk. The batter is then baked. There's various methods of cooking this delicacy. You can either bake it for the entire cooking period, or first cook it on the stove top and then transfer the cake into the oven to complete the cooking process. My method utilizes only the oven for cooking the cake/bread. I think it's important to address the meaning of the names by which this dish is addressed. After I'm done explaining what the names mean, hopefully you will find it easier to decide whether this is a cake or a loaf of bread. "Mkate" is the Swahili word for bread. "Sinia" is the Swahili word for a trey. "Kumimina" is the Swahili verb for pouring something. The names given to this dish suggests that it is a type of bread. To me, the texture of this dish makes it more of a cake than a type of bread. In my humble opinion, the only thing this dish has in common with bread is the fact that yeast is the leavening used in both cases. I am yet to eat a loaf of bread that tastes this good, or is this moist. The "kumimina" part holds true as you do have to pour the risen batter into a vessel prior to baking it.

My dear friend Blossom has a son who has gluten allergies. Due to this, the sweet little boy has never had a birthday cake like his siblings do every year. Being one who believes a birthday is just not complete without some form of birthday cake, my heart goes out to this little boy and everyone else who is not able to enjoy cake like they would want to. Not because of choice, but due to allergies. This recipe is for you. No more feeling left out in your birthday. It might not be iced like regular birthday cakes, but it is still delicious and moist, and you can still stick a candle in it and make your birthday wish. Plus, it smells Devine! Here's to many years of birthday cake for you from now on. Let's celebrate you, shall we?

Serving Size: 16 pieces.




-Large bowl with a lid.

-9 or 10-inch oven-safe baking dish (I used. 10-inch cast iron skillet).




-2 cups short grain rice, soaked overnight and completely drained OR you can use 2 cups of white rice flour (in which case you'll skip the part where you soak overnight).

-3 cups full cream coconut milk.

-2 cups granulated sugar.

-1 egg white at room temperature.

-1 teaspoon quick acting yeast (check the expiration date of your yeast prior to using. If it's expired, your batter will not rise like it should).

-1 tablespoon ghee or melted butter (for greasing your baking pan).

-1/2 teaspoon of finely ground cardamom powder.


Cooking Instructions:

-In the cup of your blender, pour in the coconut milk, drained rice, sugar, yeast and cardamom powder. Cover the blender cup and purée the mixture for about 8-10 minutes. 


Stop the blender halfway through this time and scrape down the sides of the cup to get rid of any grit from unground rice. Continue pureeing  the mixture until it is smooth. 


-Transfer the batter to a large bowl and cover it tightly with a lid. Place the covered bowl in a warm place, away from any drafts (I place my bowl in a warm oven). Allow the batter to rise and double in size (about 1 hr). When ready, the top of the batter will be frothy.


-Next, whisk in the egg whites into the batter until well combined.

-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celcius).

-Brush the melted ghee into your baking pan using a pastry brush or a paper towel (be sure to brush the sides too); Pour in the batter into your baking pan and cover it tightly with Aluminium foil (if your pan has an oven-safe lid, cover the pan with the lid at this time.



-In the center rack of the oven, bake the cake at 350 degrees for for 30-45 minutes. Uncover the baking pan, increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celcius) and continue to bake the cake for an additional 10-12 minutes or until the top of the cake turns a light golden brown or until if the cake is gently pushed down in the center, it springs back.


-Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes (I sat mine on a cooling rack to let it cool). Cut, serve and enjoy! 


Serving Suggestion: Goes great with hot tea or coffee.