Unlike baking, which relies on chemical reactions for recipes to be successful, cooking offers the chance for those in the kitchen to be much more flexible. In this brief article, Jason explains how missing a couple of ingredients shouldn’t stop you from making one of our recipes.
One of our core principles is to be educational and not evangelical, alongside being flexible, regarding ingredient availability and personal preferences, hence we frequently offer alternate/substitute ingredients within our recipes.
We would far rather you make the recipe/dish from what you have at hand/available when shopping, than not at all. Clearly there comes a break point whereby the recipe could lose its essential taste, texture, presentation and nutritional value, if too many ingredients are substituted, affecting overall functionality and organoleptic delivery.
When it comes to substituting liquids for solids, you can generally rely on a 1:1 ratio between grams and litres. For instance, 100g of coconut sugar can be replaced with 100g of maple syrup OR honey, The overall recipe/dish viscosity may be affected, but only slightly, and as we encourage you to taste as you cook, so adjustments can be made during cooking or when you repeat the recipe at a later date.
Herbs are a common area of that allow flexibility within our compound recipes. A simple way to look at these is to swap in/out fresh for dried and vice versa by separating herbs into:
- Hard (woody stalk) varieties such as rosemary, thyme, oregano (marjoram), tarragon, mint and sage where you need to strip off the leaves from the stalks (Stalks to used in stocks) prior to use/chopping.
- Soft (digestible stalk) varieties such as parsley, dill, chervil, basil, coriander, verbena, whereby the stalks if chopped add value and flavour to dishes. Chives and Fennel would also be in this sub category.
My advice here is; If our recipe asks for soft fresh herbs, please try to find and use these. For example fresh coriander delivers a totally different flavour profile and texture in our aromatic nage, than replacing with 1/5th weight of dried coriander leaves, ever could.
However, in reverse, dried oregano can deliver a deeper punch than fresh due to the essential oils being retained and intensified during the drying process.
Hard dried herbs at 10g would require 50g of fresh leaves stripped from the stalks, so a ratio of 1:5.