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Lunchbox Treats

Asked by olkini. Answered on 4th August 2012

Full question

I would like to make Nigella's Lunchbox Treats from Nigella Express, but where can I buy the rice malt syrup mentioned in the ingredients? Also are there any good substitutes?

Our answer

Rice malt syrup is made from brown rice and is sometimes labelled as brown rice syrup or yinnie syrup. It can usually be found on-line or in natural foods or health food stores. Brands can vary slightly due to slightly different manufacturing processes so the syrup can be lighter in colour and milder in flavour or darker and with slightly more maltiness.

The advantage of using rice malt syrup is that the sugars in the syrup are complex sugars so they take longer to break down in the body and tend to give more sustained energy, rather than a quick "sugar rush". For this benefit the best substitute would be agave nectar (agave syrup) as agave also contains complex sugars but it will lack the malty flavour of the rice malt syrup. However rice bran syrup is less sweet than agave so you will only need to use about 3/4 of the amount of agave (110g or just over 1/3 cup) and add other liquid if the mixture is too dry (we would suggest a little extra melted butter - around 15-30g/1-2 tablespoons). Agave is now available in most major supermarkets in the UK and the US.

Honey is another possibility - the clear, runny kind - though it has quite a distinctive flavour which you may or may not like. Again you will need to adjust the quantities slighty, as for the agave syrup above.

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