Book Review – Cloudburst and gluten-free vegan Senbei ( baked Japanese rice crackers)

Many of us are spending our time inside our homes reading books that we have probably been planning to read for a while but didn’t end up doing. So here is a book that I had received for a book review and sharing my thoughts on the same. Add this to your list too!

Thank you HarperCollins India for the review copy of the book “Cloudburst” by Wilbur Smith with Chris Wakling. It is meant for young readers who are pre-teens. As a parent who doesn’t have a child in that age group as yet, but loves to read anything that I can get my hands on, I was very intrigued by the story outline. The book focuses on topics that are so crucial for our future generations to learn about – natural resources, the ethics(as well as politics) that surround these resources and the way one might need to fight for their protection. I love the dynamics between the children who are the key characters of this story. Their friendship as well as their disagreements, are what any teenager of current times can relate to. What I particularly liked was that the characters are well-sketched out and with fallacies – that makes them real and more relevant, rather than creating a teenage ‘superhero’. The backdrop of Africa and the detailing of its rugged as well as wild beauty was an apt setting for this adventure. When I read some portions of it aloud for my son who is 7 years old, he was in awe of the idea of a gorilla conference! Given his love for animals, there were so many aspects that I loved sharing parts of the book that I felt could be easily understood by him. Personally, as an adult, I enjoyed the conversations that take place in the book and conversations that it will initiate within our younger generation about the world they live in. I would recommend the book to parents, young adults, teenagers and pre-teens who love reading adventure novels, have some interest in wildlife or forests, and want a social context as an added dimension to it.

We love our snacks when we read 🙂 So here is one of those that I baked for the children.

Some of you might remember a bake I shared with hemp powder which is one of the best sources of plant-based protein.

It has been a great journey to get deeper insights into its qualities and nutritive value.

One of the recent things I decided to bake with it are these Hemp and Black Sesame Senbei (Baked Japanese rice crackers). As always, healthy baking is a new area and so one doesn’t have a lot of past information about it that can work as a guiding principle. The big thing I rely on is flavour combinations. And in this case it’s turned out to be Hemp, Black Sesame and Rice!

These gorgeously crisp Senbei are make sure that the taste of hemp powder literally shines through even if you use a small amount. The kids and I have been munching on these all evening and I am sure to make these again very soon!

Vegan Gluten-free Senbei – Baked Japanese Rice Crackers

1 cup rice flour

1/2 cup cooked rice

Himalayan pink salt, black pepper – As per your taste preference

1 tbsp black sesame seeds

1/4 cup hemp powder

2 tbsp cold presssed sunflower oil

Water to bring the dough together

Method –

  1. In a food processor or mixie add the rice, rice flour, salt, pepper, hemp powder and oil.
  2. Pulse it so that it mixes well.
  3. Take it out into a big bowl.
  4. Add water slowly to combine it and bring together.
  5. Roll it thin on a silicon mat.
  6. Cut it with a cookie cutter of your choice. Handle gently since it might break easily due to being gluten-free.
  7. Place the crackers onto a greased baking tray.
  8. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.
  9. Bake the crackers at the same temperature for 10 minutes or until they become slightly brown and crisp.
  10. Cool them off completely before storing them in an air tight container.




  1. Hi simran.lovely blog u have.i do baking a lot.i was going through his Japanese rice crackers.what can be thesubstitute of hemp powder.whats the role of this in this recp.sorry if it’s a stupid interested in baking this as its healthy.Thank u.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Latha, thank you so much 🙂 No question is stupid. The role of hemp powder is mainly to add more protein to this cracker and also give it flavour. You can use another other alternative that works for you – possibly a flour that can add those elements. Hope this helps. Love, Simran


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