Have you ever had those days when you’re in a full blown cooking mode and super excited to cook your favourite recipe? But, just a moment of happiness turns into a concerning one because you just saw an empty shelf of the desired ingredient in your kitchen. Damn! You don’t have the most important ingredient to get your dish perfect. Now, you have got 2 terrible options ahead of you, either you run to the supermarket, get the ingredient and continue your joyful cooking day or sit back, drop the whole cooking mood and just do it another day. But hold on! There’s a third option which many of you probably didn’t know – substitutes. Today, we’re going to explore some common ingredient substitutes which can a saviour for the days when you miss out an important thing from your shopping list.
Get ready for a constant thought in mind ‘I wish I’d known this earlier!’ (You can thank us later!)
Lemon Juice = Vinegar
1 teaspoon of lemon juice can be easily substituted with ½ teaspoon of vinegar. The acetic acid present in vinegar will work in the similar manner as that of the citric acid present in lemons. Just remember the ratio and also that you’ve got to have one of these.
Refined Flour (Maida) = Whole Wheat Flour (Atta)
Some people are not so much of a fan of maida and consider atta as the better and healthier substitute, which is totally true. You can always substitute refined flour with wheat flour, but just make sure that it’s hydrated well otherwise your recipe might turn out to be dry. And for best results, you can also do half and half.
Dry Breadcrumbs = Crushed Crackers
Many a times you run out of breadcrumbs which is apparently a main ingredient for many fried dishes. But there are a lot of alternatives to it – one of the best being crushed crackers. Next time, you are out of breadcrumbs, go grind some crackers. If you’re looking for healthier options, rolled oats and cornflakes work well too.
Sour Cream = Yogurt (Curd)
This one’s going to help the people who are into baking. A lot of people keep wondering about easy alternatives for sour cream which can to do justice to their dish. Your best bet is yogurt (curd) because these share a similar texture and flavour. It can be easily replaced and used in just the same amount as the other.
Cashewnut Paste = Melon, Sesame, Poppy Seeds Paste
Generally, if you’re planning to prep a luscious and creamy Indian curry, cashewnuts are a significant ingredient. Though, it is a staple in our household, a lot of times we forget about refilling the cans. But, not to worry, there are healthier swaps for kaju like khus khus (poppy seeds), magaz (melon seeds) til (sesame seeds) which can be used perfectly to get that silky consistency in your favourite gravy.
Cornstarch/Cornflour = Rice Flour
You might already know this one as we’ve been using it for years. Rice has starch in it so it acts as a great binding agent for thickening soups, curries and even for coating our favourite foods for that extra crunch. You can easily rely on rice flour if you can’t find cornflour in your pantries.
Baking Soda = Baking Powder
Did you know baking powder is a component of baking soda itself? To all the people who love baking a little too much, baking powder is the best substitute for baking soda. But make sure to double the quantity of powder as to the quantity of baking soda. Now, no one can stop you from baking that cake!
Note: These swaps work differently for varied recipes. It is best to use the same ingredients as the recipe suggests and these substitutes in case of extreme urgency.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.