During olden days, when our ancestors were devoid of any money to procure vegetables they relied on chopped onions to fulfill their hunger alongside some curd rice. Even those thriving with money enjoyed this curd rice-onion combination as it is a definite treat to your tongue. Onions and tomatoes are like twins which need each other’s presence to boost their taste and are a staple in every Indian kitchen. We have a rack dedicated for our prized possessions-onions, tomatoes and potatoes-and we ensure that their presence is never deplete. But now, many of our homes and even restaurants lack the presence of the omnipresent onion due to soaring price hikes throughout the country.
Onions are almost used in every preparation from dals, sambar and sabji to meat gravies and raithas. Most North-Indian gravy preparations are not complete without the onion-tomato gravy base, ginger and garlic. Neatly cut onion rings alongside lemon pieces are a statutory presence in most restaurants and we too dutifully eat them up after finishing up a lip-smacking greasy meal with the greed that these onion rings will extract away all the fat off our body! But since September we hardly find onions in onion dosa and hotels have virtuously replaced onion kachumber with shredded radish or bottle gourd. This makes complete sense given the pricing of this species of Alliums- anywhere between 90-160 rupees per kilo. Yes! We are not talking about some exotic vegetable like Broccoli or color bell peppers but our very own locally grown onions. The heavy rainfall and foods in the key onion-producing states of Karnataka and Maharashtra is the reason behind such price hikes as most of the produce was damaged and supply interrupted. We are now importing them from other countries such as Turkey. As the prices are going to take a while to come down why don’t we have a look at some of the substitutes that taste equally great and provide a test to our culinary skills?
Choose to Substitutes
Nothing is impossible and with a little effort and pain we can come up with some of the best replacements for onions. Don’t we stay away from meat and animal-based products during pooja seasons? Don’t Jains prepare tasty delicacies without onions and even without garlic? Some people hate garlic and onions which might be surprising but their families do prepare fulfilling meals to satisfy hunger. Or, think about those suffering from medical conditions such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or are supertasters (they have an elevated sensitivity to certain tastes such as the pungent smell of alliums including onions or that coming from cruciferous vegetables). So, this is not only good until onion crisis lasts but can also help these people enjoy a pleasurable dining experience.
Smart Substitutes you Can Find in Your Kitchen Without Compromising on Taste: https://www.readersdigest.co.in/better-living/story-onionpricehike-smart-substitutes-you-can-find-in-your-kitchen-without-compromising-on-taste-125079
What Can I Substitute for Onions & Garlic to Combat IBS: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/mar/30/best-foods-for-ibs
Smart Substitutes that Match Onion’s Taste: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/diet/Smart-substitutes-that-match-onions-taste/articleshow/23401323.cms
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.