With the country being in lockdown for almost a month now, we have come to realise that there’s an element of adjustment in almost everything we do. Especially when it comes to satisfying all those food cravings with limited access to groceries and supplies. One might find their favourite ingredients missing at home, and so, having a few alternatives in mind is always a good idea! To make it easier for you, we have compiled a list of great substitutes for common kitchen spices and condiments. We call it our ultimate cheat sheet to cooking success:
1. Low on cornflour or maida? Use it interchangeably!
Maida or white flour is readily used in many Indian recipes. Cornflour too is a versatile ingredient used in cakes, in a variety of batters or as a thickening agent in gravy dishes. In case you are low on any one of these items, feel free to use it interchangeably. Their similar texture and colour make them an excellent substitute for each other. However, bear in mind, cornflour cannot be used for making puris or other maida flatbread variants. The best substitute for that would be regular whole wheat atta.
No tamarind? Here’s an easy hack for your South Indian dishes
South Indian cuisine is very popular throughout the Indian subcontinent because of its variety in taste and healthy food options. One of the predominant ingredients used in these dishes is tamarind. But if your kitchen has run out of tamarind, there is no need to spare your taste buds of South Indian delicacies. You can concoct the substitute with equal parts of sugar and lime juice and add a few drops of white vinegar to achieve the zesty flavour you are looking for.
3. Run out of hing (asafoetida)? Onion or garlic should do the trick!
Hing or asafoetida is a popular spice used in Indian dishes for its sulphur taste and digestive properties. Although the ingredient is required in tiny quantities, it is still possible to run out of it when you need it the most. The closest substitute for hing is a tiny quantity of onion or garlic powder. However, if you do not have even those substitutes handy, you can use a few drops of fresh onion or garlic juice to achieve a similar flavour profile.
4. No fresh tomatoes? We have a host of substitutes!
Tomatoes are a part of many recipes, both Indian and international. It is the one item that you can easily run short of in quick periods. But the good news is, that this fruit has numerous alternatives that give you a similar taste. You can replace fresh tomatoes in your recipe with kokum, lemon, sour curd, vinegar or even tomato ketchup. Use the right amount of either of these alternatives to taste while cooking and you will not miss the tangy flavour at all.
5. Spice up your food and beverages with home-made chaat masala
Chaat masala is a mixture of Indian spices known for its versatile nature. From sprinkling it on freshly cut fruits to adding it to summer beverages, every Indian household has its own quirk with it. But now with grocery runs made less frequently, and with summer here, your chaat masala stocks face a serious threat. However, putting together your home-made version is quite easy too. All you need to do is mix evenly together coriander power, cumin powder, black pepper powder, amchoor powder, and a pinch of hing. Finally, add a generous amount of salt and your home-made chaat masala is ready!
6. Jaggery or honey as a beverage sweetener
Coffee and tea consumption might see a sudden spike during these times due to work pressure and general lethargy. But that does not mean you have to gain those extra sugar calories each time you feel like a cuppa joe! If you are not fond of strong flavoured beverages and want some sweetness, then adding a bit of jaggery or honey into the mix can add the lightness your taste buds desire without increasing your sugar intake. It’s a win-win.
Well, there you have it. A few great hacks, ideas and substitutes for your kitchen pantry at a time you need it the most! Implement these tips and never worry about running out of ingredients when you’re dreaming of your favourite dish.