Binit Nalinkumar Shah
"NEW" Ingrediends And Substitutions In Cooking & Baking
Most of Jain recipes use ingredients which you can find at any grocery store. But some also use less familiar - but very handy -- ingredients you'll want to try (if you haven't already). It's a great time for people who love to eat: ordinary grocery stores are carrying interesting, new foods. If you don't find these items in your store grocery store, ask about them or try a natural foods store.
Many recipes, with the appropriate substitutions, can lead to great vegetarian recipes. Substitution skills are especially important for those who wish to avoid certain food products. For example, recipes from some vegetarian cookbooks may still contain milk products or even eggs. Also, many vegetarian recipes do season with onions and garlic.
Egg-free Egg Replacers Beware that many egg replacers in stores actually contain eggs!
Replace 1 egg with one of the following:
Try 1 mashed ripe banana (great for cakes, pancakes), or 1/3 C purred prunes, or apple sauce.
Use 1/4 C tofu, blended smooth (mix with other liquids before adding to the dry ingredients).
For binding properties only, use 2 T cornstarch starch.
For extra leavening (in muffins, cakes) add a pinch of baking powder to react with the baking soda in the recipe (or add lemon juice) in addition to the above.
For binding and leavening, use Ener-G Egg Replacer (prepare as per instructions on package). Ener-G brand Egg Replacer can be found in health food stores.
Dairy Substitutes in Cooking and Baking: Many Jains avoid all dairy products due to the cruelties involved in producing cow's milk. To replace these products use the following: use soya milk, rice milk, almond milk in place of cow's milk in baking or to drink
- Also try soy milk powder (even more convenient and longer storage)
- Use soy or canola margarine for butter (be aware: some margarines contain animal products)
- Use soya yoghurt for dairy yoghurt (available in plain and great fruit flavours)
I am not sure that Jains can eat Vegan yoghurt where the starting point is milk-yoghurt mixed with soya milk. The theory I have heard from a vegan is that the original milk content in the yoghurt gets diluted and tends to zero. While this is true, we cannot mix "Kathor" and Yoghurt at all.
- For buttermilk in baking, mix in 1 T lemon juice to curdle 1 cup of soy milk
- For cheese: be aware that many soy cheeses have casein (a dairy product). Experiment with the recipes and ideas in The Uncheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak.
Many grocery stores now stock these products, so ask for them (may be in a separate section). All are available at health food stores. Try different non-dairy milk brands to find which you like best! Try home-made nut milk or rice milk (blend nuts or rice with water, strain, add sweetener).
Meat Substitutes in Sauces or Stir Fries: While meat substitutes are a turn-off for some vegetarians, they provide a convenient way to get quick, nourishing meals for non-veg guests. Add crumbled veggie burgers or finely chopped "not-dogs" to spaghetti sauce or stir fry, for a heartier meal. (Try different brands to find which you like best. Also, be aware that a few of these products do contain eggs, etc.) Or add crumbled tofu to do the same. For variety, try TVP (textured vegetable protein), sliced tempeh or seitan.
Substitutes for Onions and Garlic: Jain cuisine often compensates for the absence of these with extra amounts of other seasonings. In Italian, Mexican and Indian dishes, fried cumin seeds and a little asafetida (hing), can add flavour and interest. Also, refer to Hare Krishna cookbooks since they avoid onions and garlic.
Ice, water etc. is life or has life in it. In case of water, it is a Body in which there is life, that's why strict Jains only consume boiled water even though it involves initial killing of 1 sensed beings. It is tough but is necessary for path to liberation f you refer to things like clay, earth etc it is because it is life in itself.
Here are some of these "new" ingredients:
"Black Strap" Molasses: A sweetener made from sugar cane, but not as refined as white sugar (Barbados or Fancy molasses are in between). Very high in calcium and iron. Use for seasoning black, kidney, pinto or other beans. In Indian food (dal, subji) use in place of gur.
Cornstarch, Agar: Agar Serve as thickeners: add to sauce and heat, stirring constantly. Agar agar also replaces gelatine (an animal product)...expensive but you need so little.
Couscous, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Bulgar: The "other" grains: they offer a change in flavour and texture from white rice. Couscous and quinoa ("keen-wa") cook quickly, others take a little longer. Cook up a batch as all will keep in the fridge for five days, in a sealed container.
Eggless Mayonnaise: A great sandwich condiment, flavouring, or base for dressings and dips. Egg-free brands include Nayonaise, Soyanaise and Veganaise.
Ener-G Egg Replacer: A brand of egg-free egg replacer for baking. One box will last you forever and keeps well in a cool dry place. Can be purchased at natural foods stores or through the mail: Ener-G Foods, Inc. 5960 First Ave, P.O. Box 84487, Seattle, WA 98124-5787, USA.
Soy Milk, Rice Milk, Almond Milk: Non-dairy milk substitutes, good on cereal, in cooking and baking. Drink by themselves -- once you find the brand you like (try Vanilla Wessoy, Rice Dream, and Almond Mylk). Also, try soy milk powder for convenience.
Tahini Sesame butter: Used in Houmous, Baba Ghanoush and other Middle Eastern foods.
Tamari: A Japanese soy sauce with a richer, sweeter flavour than the more common Chinese soy sauce. Tamari can be found at some grocery stores, and most natural food store.
Tofu: A Chinese and Japanese staple, tofu (soy bean curd) is now readily available in most grocery stores. Tofu takes on the flavour of whatever it's cooked with and has no flavour of its own -- it's just an ingredient, not something you'd eat by itself. Tofu adds texture: it comes in soft, firm, silken, baked. The key is finding the right texture for a recipe. Firm tofu is good for sandwich filling, stir fries and entrees; soft tofu for baking to replace eggs; silken tofu for sauces, puddings, since it is very smooth; baked tofu is harder to find but has a chewy texture and is great for stir fries. Tofu can also make a meal more filling and add food value. A good source of protein and calcium.
Once the package is opened, leftover tofu should be placed in water and refrigerated. The water should be changed every day or two, but better just to use up the tofu instead! An excellent book with great recipes using tofu (especially desserts) is Louise Hagler's Tofu Cookery.
There is a gelatine made from kelp or agar agar with the trade name "Ko-Jel" (it's an acronym of "Kosher Gelatin"). You can find many products, such as marshmallows and jello, that use this Gelatin substitute in your local kosher supermarket, if there is one near you. It is listed as "pareve," which means it contains neither meat nor dairy products. I am not sure if this is true and if it is whether it is available in the UK. All Gelatine contains Animal products. Incidentally, Camera Film contains gelatine.