No Yoghurt? Use Coconut Milk: 12 Kitchen Ingredients Substitutes
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Indian cuisine is a tapestry of vibrant flavours, rich spices, and diverse ingredients. Sometimes, though, you may find yourself missing a crucial ingredient for your favourite recipe. But fear not! In this article, we'll unveil a treasure trove of substitutes for common kitchen ingredients in the Indian culinary realm. These alternatives will help you maintain the authentic taste of your dishes while allowing for flexibility and creativity in your cooking adventures.

Garam Masala

Garam masala is an essential spice blend that adds warmth and depth to many Indian recipes. If you happen to run out of this aromatic mix, fear not! You can create a makeshift garam masala using a blend of ground cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper. Adjust the proportions to suit your taste and savour the familiar essence of this classic spice blend.

Curry Leaves

Curry leaves are prized for their distinct flavour and aroma, often found in South Indian delicacies. If you find yourself without these fragrant leaves, a suitable alternative is bay leaves. Although the flavour profile may differ slightly, bay leaves can lend a subtle earthiness to your dishes. Remember to remove them before serving, as they are not intended to be consumed.


Asafoetida, commonly known as hing, adds a unique pungent note to many Indian dishes. If you're out of this potent spice, a worthy substitute is garlic powder. Garlic powder brings a robust flavour and can provide a similar depth to your recipes. However, use it sparingly, as it tends to be more potent than asafoetida.

Fresh Ginger

Ginger is a versatile ingredient that imparts a zesty kick to numerous Indian dishes. When fresh ginger is not at hand, ground ginger powder can step in as a substitute. Use half a teaspoon of ground ginger powder for every tablespoon of fresh ginger called for in the recipe. The resulting flavours will still excite your taste buds.


Yoghurt, dahi or curd, is another staple in Indian cooking, adding a creamy touch to curries, marinades, and desserts. If you're looking for a vegan alternative or have run out of yoghurt, coconut milk can come to your rescue. Its smooth and velvety texture, combined with a subtle hint of coconut, can bring richness to your preparations.

Fenugreek Leaves

Fenugreek leaves, or kasuri methi, lends a distinctive aroma and taste to many Indian recipes. In case you don't have these on hand, mustard greens can be an excellent substitute. While the flavour may vary, mustard greens can impart a similar piquancy and slightly bitter undertones to your dishes.

Fresh Coriander

Fresh coriander, or dhaniya, is a ubiquitous herb in Indian cooking, used as a garnish or an integral ingredient. When it's not readily available, you can substitute it with parsley. Although the taste profile differs, parsley brings a refreshing green element to your dishes and adds a touch of brightness to your presentation.


Turmeric, commonly known as haldi, is a staple spice in Indian cooking and is renowned for its health benefits. If you find yourself without this golden spice, you can substitute it with ground mustard. While mustard lacks the earthy undertones of turmeric, it adds a pleasant tang and a subtle hint of heat to your dishes. Remember to use it sparingly, as mustard can have a stronger flavour.


Tamarind, with its tangy and sweet-sour flavour, is a common ingredient in Indian chutneys, curries, and sauces. If you're out of tamarind or don't have access to it, you can replace it with lemon juice. Lemon juice brings a similar acidic tang to your recipes and can provide a refreshing burst of citrus. Adjust the amount according to your taste preferences, as lemon juice tends to be more acidic than tamarind.


Jaggery, or gud a traditional Indian sweetener made from sugarcane or palm sap, adds a distinct caramel-like flavour to many Indian desserts and sweet dishes. If you don't have jaggery on hand, you can substitute it with brown sugar or palm sugar. These alternatives offer a similar depth of sweetness and a rich molasses-like taste. Adjust the quantity as per your desired sweetness level.


Ghee, a clarified butter commonly used in Indian cooking, provides a rich and nutty flavour to various dishes. If you're looking for a vegan alternative or don't have ghee available, you can use coconut oil. Coconut oil brings a delightful tropical aroma and flavour to your recipes, and its high smoke point makes it suitable for cooking at higher temperatures. However, be mindful of the coconut flavour it imparts to the dish.

Gram Flour

Gram flour, also known as besan, is a versatile ingredient used in numerous Indian dishes, including pakoras and cheelas. If you're gluten-intolerant or don't have gram flour available, you can use rice flour as a substitute. Rice flour lends a light and crispy texture and can be used in a 1:1 ratio to replace gram flour in most recipes.

Whether you're missing garam masala, curry leaves, or fresh ginger, these alternatives will ensure your dishes retain their distinctive flavours. Remember, the key to successful ingredient substitution lies in striking the right balance and adjusting proportions to suit your taste. Happy cooking and may your culinary adventures always be flavourful and satisfying!