Well, I certainly do. Not always easy here as I can’t always get the ingredients I need so I am a master at research and finding alternatives. Wikipedia Carol is my new name, lol , Some lady who shall be nameless tagged me with that handle. You know who you are, lol
Today I am going to share with you some of these. I hope you enjoy and maybe find something that you have been looking for.
This post has come about as I am reading some fabulous recipes from all over the world but I don’t always know what some of the ingredients are or indeed cannot always obtain them.
So for my reference as well as yours I have compiled a little list with the help of my faithful friend Mr Google because if he doesn’t know then in my world it doesn’t exist. Well, that’s probably taking my faith in Mr Google a tad far but, Hey Ho!
Here we go!
Merkén or merquén (from the Mapuche mezkeñ) is a smoked chilli pepper (or, in Spanish, “ají”) used as a condiment that is often combined with other ingredients:
As a substitute for Merken you can combine the following ingredients:
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp Cayenne pepper
½ tsp smoked Paprika
½ tsp of ground coriander seeds
Mix together and use as per recipe.
I have seen this ingredient in a few Indian recipes but never used it and haven’t come across it here.
Also known as Hing
It is derived from a species of giant fennel and unpleasantly strong while raw but mellow and garlicky when cooked. The smell can be off putting and is described by the Germans as Teufelsdreck aka Devils Dung!
Some substitutes for this are:-
Garlic Powder. Just add a little bit to the dish for that added taste and aroma. Even though garlic powder cannot impart the same flavour to the dish, it will help to attain a distinct taste and fragrance to the food.
Shallots: Have a tangy, complex onion-garlic like flavour and can prove to be an effective asafetida substitute.
Chives: These Chinese herbs can be a great substitute as the flavour of chives is very garlic-like.
Just add some to the dish and it will compensate for that missing asafetida in the recipe.
Amchur (amchoor) powder is also referred to as “Mango” powder. Is made from green dried, ground mangoes. The spice imparts a tart and slightly sour flavour to many Indian dishes including fish, meats, vegetables and curries.
I cannot find this here so the easiest, most neutral substitute is Tamarind juice. I make this by taking a small amount of tamarind pulp and adding some water. Stand for 10-15 minutes and add juice to your recipe in the required amounts.
Old Bay Seasoning:
Old Bay I cannot get here so I make my own as follows:
Combine 1 tbsp celery salt,
3 whole bay leaves,
3/4 tsp brown mustard seeds,
1/2 tsp black peppercorns,
10 allspice berries,
10 whole cloves,
1/2 tsp paprika.
Grind mixture in mortar and pestle or coffee grinder.
Which I cannot get here only the curly parsley so I use coriander. You can use dried parsley but the flavour is not so strong.
I have listed just a few of ingredients which I cannot get very often or not at all and have to substitute. In my quest I have come across a great web site called Gourmet Sleuths who have a really comprehensive section on substitutes.
I had never heard of the flour so went on an exploration and I found a very comprehensive post on exactly what it is.
This is just a sample of some of the herbs and spices I use in my cooking and of course I use many more as I always make my own curry pastes (unless) I buy freshly made from the markets here and everything else I make from scratch and only use bought products when it is impossible for me to make it.
If you like what you read, I can be found over on Retired? No one told me! where I love to chat and share snippets of my travels, recipes and traditions here in my home which is Northern Thailand.
Thank you Esmé for the opportunity to Guest Post on The Recipe Hunter