There are often times when you can’t find or have run out of an ingredient that you need. Sometimes, you might actively choose to not use an ingredient, whether it’s for health or taste reasons. But leaving an ingredient out of your cooking or baking could mean that it really doesn’t turn out as it’s supposed to. Experimenting is fine, but sometimes an ingredient is pretty vital to the end result. So what can you do if you can’t find the ingredient you need or if you want to replace something that you would rather not (or can’t) eat?
Make It Yourself
Your first option is to make an ingredient yourself. This is a good option if you have the raw ingredients or basic components of a store-bought product, but you can’t find the actual product to buy. For example, maybe you need a red Thai curry paste but can’t find any. You could make it instead of buying it ready-made. If you’ve got garlic, this garlic paste recipe is simple to make if you can’t find it to buy in a jar or tube. It can be easier to make your own ingredients than you think, although it does depend on what the ingredient is.
Find a Replacement
Another possibility is to find a good replacement for the thing you don’t have or don’t want to use. This could be a fairly like-for-like replacement, or it could be something that does a similar job. Creme fraiche is a little thicker than sour cream, but it could be used as a replacement in a pinch. If you don’t want to have chicken in a recipe, you could replace it with tofu as an alternative protein without meat. Replacement ingredients won’t always give you the same results, but they can ensure you’re still able to make your recipe.
Order It Online
Can’t find what you need in your local stores? Looking online can be the next best option. You can find a lot more online that’s easily available to order. There are specialist online stores for different cuisines or types of ingredients. Or you might find that large sites like Amazon also offer a range of ingredients. Before ordering online, it can also be useful to see if there are any specialist stores local to you. For example, is there a store that sells traditional Chinese ingredients or a health food store where you can get what you need?
Leave It Out
In some cases, simply leaving out an ingredient can work out for you. However, this will depend on what the purpose of the ingredient is within the dish. If you remove something that stops the dish from ending up too dry or too wet, simply removing it without making any changes could result in a disaster. If you take out an ingredient that was supposed to add an extra layer of flavor, it can change the taste, but the dish won’t necessarily be ruined.
You have several options if you don’t have or want to replace an ingredient in a recipe. Try out different possibilities and find one that works for you.