If there’s anyone who knows the value of onions more than Indians, it has to be Philippines. With a monthly consumption of over 17k metric tonnes of onions, this vegetable is widely used in their traditional cooking. However, amidst the current onion crisis, countries like Philippines are facing a major shortage which has led to increase in imports.
While we may be conveniently dunking kilos of onions in that curry masala that we are preparing at home, in some other part of the world, people are changing their recipes to avoid adding onions in them. Take Philippines, for instance. The prices have skyrocketed in the last few months, making onions more expensive than chicken or beef.
This has led to a major shortage of onions and a resulting inflation across countries like Turkey and Kazakhstan too. The poor harvest in Europe in December last year due to the drought has hit the import and export market, as Netherlands was the world’s largest exporter of onions. Turkey is also dangling between the life-shattering earthquakes that struck recently and the current food shortage.
Given the current crisis that the world is suffering from and the extensive use and consumption of onions in the Indian market, here are a few substitutes that one can opt for in such a situation.
1. For Gravies And Curries
Onions and tomatoes are the two most essential ingredients for making an Indian gravy masala. However, since onions are soon going to become a luxury commodity, one can switch to cashewnut paste. Although cashews are expensive, only a little amount of these nuts would be required to make a rich paste that can thicken the gravy.
2. Fennel Seeds
While some may not be adept to the taste of fennel seeds, one can be sure that the addition of fennel to your recipes in place of onions can amp up the taste. It makes the dish much more intense and enhances the flavour to another level.
3. Bottle Gourd
As surprising as this may sound, bottle gourd aka lauki can also actually work well as an onion substitute. Did you know that adding grated bottle gourd can be an alternative to chopped onions in gravies? It lends a very similar texture to your curry and you wouldn’t miss your onions that much.
Even if you don’t have onions at hand, you can actually go for a ginger-garlic paste instead. Yes, you read that right. Not only does it enhance the taste of the subzi or gravy that you’re making, it also doesn’t make you feel at the loss of onions in terms of taste.
While peppers are a part of many dishes, if you’re making a salad and want to bulk up the bowl, try adding sliced bell peppers to it. Moreover, you can add these peppers to your gravies to as it thickens them and provides a pungent taste and a strong flavour, just like onions.