Is Your Mooncake Filling Gluten-Free?

Not all ingredients are created equal!

It is time for mid-autumn festival, here come the beautiful mooncakes. Almost every shop has a signature mooncake set for sale.  Delicious flavors and striking colors, almost too pretty to eat.

For Chinese Singaporeans and foodies alike, mid autumn festival is just around the corner, and that means mooncake madness!

From traditional lotus, melon seed and salted duck egg to modern snow skin mooncakes and mousse like mochi inspired delicacies, hotel kitchens and suppliers step up their game to compete for the most taste bud tantalising new fillings. And the colours? Surely they must hire a colour stylist to draft up a mood board of colours each season.

For those on a gluten-free diet, traditional baked mooncakes 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 pastes on the inside is traditionally made from lotus seeds or mung been and flavored.

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 simply not sure of the specific ingredients. Last year’s whip around Takashimaya basement vendor stall’s highlighted this issue, we found one stand that could call to the chefs to verify no gluten containing ingredients.

Traditionally, mooncake pastes do not have any gluten containing ingredients. They typically contain lotus seeds, sugar, oil and flavoring. When we checked ingredient lists on the products and at the stores we did not see any red flag items on the package.

After years of being good gluten detectives, we know that other ingredients can slip in or be omitted from the list. Cross contamination is not an ingredient and does not need to be listed!

After spending hours researching, discussing and calling manufacturers about mooncake paste ingredients, we decided to pull out our Nima Sensor and test some paste samples.

This is what we discovered…

We are happy to see this.

Icing Sugar – GLUTEN-FREE
Pineapple Paste from Phoon Huat – GLUTEN-FREE

This is especially great news as Pineapple Paste is also a handy ingredient at CNY

Passion Fruit Paste from Geylang –  GLUTEN DETECTED
Ginger Paste from Geylang –  GLUTEN DETECTED
Low Sugar Lotus Seed Paste from Phoon Huat – GLUTEN-FREE
Chocolate Paste from Geylang – GLUTEN-FREE
Chocolate Paste from Phoon Huat – GLUTEN-FREE

Not Pictured:

White Lotus Paste from Geylang – GLUTEN DETECTED

No one was more heart-broken and surprised than us to find three out of four of our new fillings tested positive for gluten. We ran multiple tests to be sure.

We had spoken at length with the ladies at the shop and they assured us multiple time that no wheat flour was used in any of their pastes and could produce a list of ingredients.

Without an invitation to visit the manufacturing facilities, we have no what of knowing where the gluten has come from. Nevertheless, One Degree will continue to monitor the ingredients that we are using.

This year our classes will be run with safe purchased pastes and a few that have been a lovingly made in our gluten-free home kitchen.

Sign up here  to learn how to safely make your own gluten-free snowskin mooncakes. Our fillings will include, traditional, sweet yam as well as more contemporary chocolate, pineapple, homemade ginger and homemade berry.

Classes for 2017 have finished!  Look for a new set in August and September, 2018