Honour the jugadi in you with these quirky swaps for essential Indian ingredients

Don't let missing ingredients dim your culinary lights. From garam masala to tamarind paste we've got a twin for all

Honour the jugadi in you with these quirky swaps for essential Indian ingredients

In the world of culinary adventures, sometimes we find ourselves in a pickle only to realise we are missing out on some core ingredients. And it does not help the fact that this realisation dawns upon us halfway into our cooking soiree. Whether it's an impromptu cooking session or a simple oversight, the absence of key ingredients can put a damper on the whole ordeal. However, fret not! With a little creativity and resourcefulness, we can transform these moments into opportunities to explore new flavours and discover substitutes that work like magic.

Scroll further to see (or rather read) how a handful of Indian ingredients can be creatively substituted to make a dish.

Garam Masala
Garam masala is the heart of Indian cuisine, a quintessential spice blend known for its warm and complex flavours. However on the one off occasion where you seem to have run out, don’t worry. Create a substitute by combining equal parts ground cumin, coriander powder, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon and cloves. This ingenious blend will infuse your curries and dishes with the same aromatic taste.

Tamarind Paste
The tangy tamarind paste, the popular Indian choice for a souring agent, adds a unique touch to many Indian recipes. However in its absence, lemon juice comes to the rescue. Its citric zing provides a similar tanginess and can be used as an excellent substitute in a variety of dishes.

Curry Leaves
Curry leaves by definition are famous for their aromatic essence and are a staple in Indian cuisine. But if you find your once full jar of curry leaves empty today, don't fret! Bay leaves (or tej patta) can fill the void admirably, imparting a subtle aromatic touch to your stews, rice dishes and curries.

Asafoetida (Hing)
Asafoetida, also known as hing commonly, is renowned for its pungent and garlic-ky taste that elevates flavour in many Indian recipes. In its absence, finely minced garlic can step in as a worthy substitute, lending a savoury element to your dishes. While the taste may differ slightly, the essence of the dish remains intact. Also it's a little something different you can experiment with, should you someday feel adventurous in the kitchen.

Fresh Coconut
The nutty taste of fresh coconut adds a delightful flavor to countless Indian dishes. But when you're missing this tropical fruit, unsweetened desiccated coconut can do the trick just as well, infusing curries, chutneys, and desserts with its rich and earthy flavour.

While it is always advised to assemble all required ingredients before you take a plunge down the cooking lane, it is but natural to err as a human. However, by embracing a spirit of culinary creativity along with a few clever substitutes and hacks, we can overcome any hurdle we face in the cooking process.

Aayushi Vichare

Aayushi Vichare

Aayushi is that friend who won’t let you take a bite without capturing it. For her, the easiest but still thoughtful way of making someone feel special is by cooking or getting them their favourite food. Currently, she’s on an expedition to integrate all her favourites: food, social media and marketing, so that you don't miss the hottest spot in town and you know where to eat those crispy and juicy chicken wings.

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