10 ingredient substitutes that will come in handy during lockdown
While we all stay home doing our part to flatten the curve and respect the government’s lockdown regulations, many of us are taking to the kitchen to hone our cooking skills, try out new recipes or get creative inventing ones of our own.
However, with limitations on what we can and can’t buy – supermarkets sometimes being out of stock of popular goods – and the responsibility we all have to keep our grocery runs to a minimum, you may often find that you’re missing an ingredient (or two) that’s called for in a recipe.
Fear not though: many ingredients can be easily be swapped out for something else without compromising the flavour of your dish. Try these substitutions:
Red wine: As lockdown laws rule out buying alcohol, recipes calling for red wine may be a challenge — especially if making them means digging into your already dwindling vino supplies. Instead of red wine, use red grape juice with a splash or two of vinegar.
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Stock cubes: “You can substitute stock with Marmite or Bovril without compromising on flavour,” says Sunday Times food editor Hilary Biller. “Dissolve 10-15ml (2-3 tsp) of the vegetable extract in 500ml (2 cups) of boiling water. Stir through to dissolve and use as directed by your recipe.”
Shallots: Those attempting fancier recipes may come across ingredient lists including shallots. Don’t stress though, ordinary white onions can be substituted in their place.
Lemongrass: Substitute the fragrant herb with finely grated lemon zest for a similar flavour profile.
Fresh herbs: Use dry herbs in place of fresh herbs. However, be aware that they’re often more concentrated in flavour. The general rule of thumb when substituting dry herbs for fresh ones is to use a third of the amount called for in the recipe – so for instance, you’d replace 3 tsp fresh basil with 1 tsp dried basil.
Double cream: If you can’t get your hands on double cream, use mascarpone cheese instead. Use a combination of mascarpone and whipping cream if a runnier consistency is required.
Self-raising flour: To make your own self-raising flour, add 5ml (1 tsp) of baking powder to every cup of flour called for in a recipe, says Biller.
Caster sugar: Make your own caster sugar by placing the required amount of granulated sugar in a food processor or blender and processing till smooth, suggests Biller.
Brown sugar: Recipes that call for brown sugar can be made with granulated white sugar instead – expect a slight variation in taste though.
Chocolate chips: Use the required amount of a good-quality dark or milk chocolate (depending on your taste) chopped into small pieces. Note that some milk chocolate is incredibly high in sugar, which could affect the finished result. We recommend sticking to a darker chocolate.
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