It’s for your Carbonara, but can be used as salad toppings too!


2 (in a Carbonara)

Ready In:

30 minutes


52 calories

Good For:

Appetizers / Meals

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About This Recipe

By: Noriko Shindo

As I was trying to perfect the Carbonara recipe, I also created this Pancetta recipe (mostly for lack of vegan bacon options in Japan). It sounds odd to use Kuruma-fu (a kind of Japanese wheat gluten), but it actually works well! Pair with our Carbonara recipe or as a salad topping.


  • 4 Kuruma-fu (They can be found in the dry goods section of any supermarket – written 車麩)
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy sauce
  • 1-2 Teaspoons Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1-2 drops Liquid smoke (it’s mainly for the smell so can omit if you don’t have)



Low in calories, fat, and carbs, while adding protein to your day, Kuruma-fu is also known as a “diet food”. We love the versatility of this ingredient as it soaks up taste and can be made crispy in the oven!

  • Protein (helps strengthen bones, heart, and muscles) 8% 8%
  • Copper (helps form healthy red blood cells) 8% 8%
  • Iron (Helps function of hemoglobin) 4% 4%

Step by Step Instructions


Pre-heat the oven to 180c, and soak the Kuruma-fu in water.


In a small cup/bowl mix the soy sauce, paprika, and liquid smoke. Taste to see whether the soy sauce flavor is strong (depends on the brand). If it is strong, add more paprika to balance out.


Check that the Kuruma-fu is soft and drain the water. Lightly squeeze more water out of each piece without crushing the shape. More water out = more taste in.


Cut the Kuruma-fu in half, then cut into small pieces (starting to look like Pancetta?). Put all the Kuruma-fu in a shallow container and pour on the marinade from STEP 2. Mix thoroughly.


Add the salt and mix thoroughly.


Once the oven is ready, transfer the Kuruma-fu to an oven pan so that they don’t overlap with each other. Bake for 20 min in 180c. The pieces should be crisp! If it still has some liquid and is not crisp, bake for further 5 min and check until it crisps.
The baked ones don’t use oil so they lose the crispiness once you add to Carbonara or salad. If you want the pancetta to retain as much of the crisp texture as possible, fry the Kuruma-fu in a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of oil until crispy instead of using an oven. The oil will help keep the crisp!

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