People avoid onion or garlic or both for several reasons. Some sub cuisines of Indian cuisine don’t use either. That means those cuisines have perfected the delicious flavors of Indian cooking without needing onion and garlic. Often these recipes will use other volume ingredients for the sauce like tomatoes or neutral veggies. Garlicky flavors are also added using spices and herbs such as fenugreek and oregano.
Here are a few substitute options to use for any recipe and to easily cook without onion and garlic
How to cook without onion and garlic
There are recipes that are already developed to be without onion and garlic and others need to be adjusted with substitutes to get similar flavor and texture. The recipes that are developed without onion or garlic might use other aromatics or base as more tomato, more cream/nut cream, paste of nuts and seeds, mashed veggie base such as mashed potato, cheesy base etc. For flavor , they generally would use some spices and herbs and caramelized components such as browned mushrooms, roasted tomato etc.
For adjusting existing recipes to omit onion and garlic see below.
How to cook without onion or substitute Onion IN INDIAN Recipes : (Jain vegan)
- Omit the onion and use no substitute if used in small quantities.
- In recipes where onion makes up a larger volume of the dish, use celery, zucchini, fennel, white mushrooms, opo squash(lauki) or another neutral vegetable or squash.
- For flavor, Nigella seeds can be added for onion like flavor
How to substitute garlic in Indian recipes
- Omit the garlic and use asafetida (hing).
- Dried Fenugreek leaf or powdered fenugreek seed adds a garlic like flavor
How to cook without or substitute onion and garlic IN NON-INDIAN RECIPES:
- For creamy sauces or cheese sauces, use miso; for example, 1/2 teaspoon of miso per 2 cloves of garlic. For onion, use a neutral vegetable
- In tomato-based sauces, use zucchini , celery, fennel, mushroom or another neutral squash or vegetable instead of onion; use oregano for a garlic-like flavor wherever it works (Italian, Mexican, etc. cuisines).
- Add miso for a roasted onion garlic flavor
- caramelize the other components like mushroom and veggies
- In Thai curry paste, omit both and use more of the other flavors, such as ginger, lemongrass, or lime.