What are halal ingredients?
Halal ingredients are the ingredients that are allowed to be consumed by Muslims. The halal characteristics are elaborated in the Quran and becoming the Muslim's way of living. However, our love for food, especially international food is sometimes the opposite of what's halal, and it's not only about the non-halal meat.
Take an example of our favorite cuisine of all time: Japanese food. Albeit we did not order a pork dish or drink alcohol, we must be aware of other non-halal substances contained in the dish such as mirin and other spices that might contain alcohol.
The good news is, you can still cook authentic-tasting international food without the non-halal ingredients. Here are some halal ingredients that can replace the taste and aroma of common non-halal substances.
Mirin is a common ingredient for a lot of Japanese dishes. This sweet sauce is made of fermented rice and is commonly used for cooking soup, sushi, marinade, and added to the stew. The fermentation process caused mirin to has some amount of alcohol in it.
Mirin has a syrupy consistency because of its sugar content. To resembles the sugary taste and aroma, you can use natural maple syrup and combine it with a splash of soy sauce.
Japanese food wouldn't be complete without a splash of shoyu. Shoyu is a Japanese soy sauce that is light and aromatic. The distinct aroma came from the fermentation process, hence the alcohol content.
Fortunately, there are lots of halal shoyu brands you can find, one of them is Kikkoman that is halal-certified by Indonesia's MUI.
However, you can always dilute your regular soy sauce with drinking water to resemble the light and savory taste of shoyu.
It's sad but true, not every gochujang is halal. The process of making gochujang requires ethanol to balance and prevent it from being over-fermented.
If you find it hard to get a halal gochujang, you can always make it yourself! All you need is glutinous rice flour, chili powder, honey or corn syrup, salt, and soy sauce. Find the recipe and step by step to make it on this page.
Wine is very common in European dishes. Wine is used for savory dishes to enhance the complexity of the braising sauce. Some said that the alcohol in the wine will evaporate during the cooking process. However, there is still doubt that it is halal to be consumed.
You can substitute the wine with a high-quality grape or cranberry juice and add a splash of white vinegar.
Who doesn't love cream choux? This indulging sweet made of light batter and airy custard cream is simply irresistible. However, be careful with the hidden alcohol content in the cream. Cream choux usually uses rum to enhance the taste and aroma.
If you still want to get the rum sensation in a halal way, you can use pineapple and combine it with almond extract. For a bolder rum taste, you can use pineapple, molasses, and almond extract.
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