Wheat Gluten/Fu 麩

“It is a little lower in calories and a little higher in protein content than wheat germ, inexpensive and rather good tasting.” — Joan Itoh


cooking with wheat gluten

Kao Fu, Chinese Canned Wheat Gluten

Wheat Gluten, called Fu 麩   in Japanese and Mian Jin     in Chinese, is a protein made from wheat germ that is used a lot in several Asian cuisines. It often appears in vegetarian dishes. [1]

Fu is eaten commonly in Japan, often as a garnish in soups. Sometimes it looks like a white flower, floating on the top of the soup. When you bite into it, it has a rather bland taste and a chewy texture

Japanese cooks often use Fu in soups, stews and vegetable dishes, and sometimes as a binder for a variety of dishes. In the recipe for Juicy Burgers Bento Style, Fu is suggested as  even better for breading patties than Panko or Arrowroot Flour.  If you decide to use Fu as a breading for burgers, you might need to grind it coarsely first, in a mortar or a food processor.

Fu comes in a variety of forms, as Joan Itoh describes them:

  • Arare Fu — hailstone shape — small balls, often used in soup
  • Hana Fu — flower shape — resembles small flowers, often used in clear soups
  • Kuruma Fu — wheel shape — small round circular shapes
  • Shona Fu — long, flat strips — often used in miso soup [2]

Besides appearing as a garnish or binder, Fu also partners with vegetables.  Joan Itoh has published a recipe for Fu and Turnips. [3]

IWheat Gluten Stir Fried with Broccoli and Black Beans IIn Chinese cuisine, Grilled Fu, or Kao Fu    is a staple of Shanghai cooking, and there is a detailed recipe available on the Internet. [4]

Nutrition: Fu is a healthy food.  A Japanese dietitian found that the basic uncooked Fu contains about 172 calories in 100 grams and is about 13 percent protein and 26 percent carbohydrates.  In addition, it has

  • 13 milligrams calcium
  • 60 milligrams phosphorous

And traces of iron, sodium and potassium. [5]

Besides being healthy, wheat gluten is very versatile.  There are a lot of recipes available using it in both Western and Asian cuisines. [6]

For Further Information:

[1] “Wheat gluten (food),” article, Wikipedia  — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheat_gluten_%28food%29
[2] Joan Itoh, Rice Paddy Gourmet —   http://www.amazon.com/Rice-Paddy-Gourmet-Joan-Itoh/dp/4789002853
[3] Joan Itoh, Rice Paddy Gourmet
[4] Yi Reservation, Wheat Gluten Made Delicious —  http://yireservation.com/recipes/kao-fu/
[5] Fumiko Matsumoto, Tadashii seikatsu no tame no shokuhinseibunhyo  正しい食生活のための食品成分表   –http://isbn2book.com/4-388-66057-4/tadashii_shokuseikatsu_no_tame_no_shokuhin_seibunhyo/
[6] Nava Alas, VegKitchen, has published a range of Asian and Westenr recipes using what gluten —  http://www.vegkitchen.com/tips/seitan-anyone/


China - Carved Jade Eastern Zhou Dynasty

1 thought on “Wheat Gluten/Fu 麩

  1. This was absolutely deloiicus. This was only my 2nd try at using the bread machine first try did not come out so good. I used agave nectar, 1/3 cup. The bread was sweet and the texture was perfect. I am making it again, this time using molasses, because agave is so expensive. I highly recommend this recipe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *