Substitutes for ginger
December 17, 2009 8:11 AM   Subscribe

What can I substitute for ground ginger in a peanut sauce recipe?

I plan on making peanut sauce tonight, using a recipe that I've used a thousand times before, but I forgot to pick up ginger. Here is the recipe I usually use:

2/3 cups peanut butter
3/4 cups water
3-4 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp.lemon juice
1 scallion, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. sweetener
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/3 tsp. chili powder

What can I use to substitute for the ginger? I read online that I might be able to use a combination of paprika and nutmeg. Does this seem at all feasible? What ideas do you have?
posted by srrh to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Here's one with garlic.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:24 AM on December 17, 2009

Maybe galangal or lemongrass, but it's not going to taste right. Ginger is pretty irreplaceable.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:27 AM on December 17, 2009

Paprika + nutmeg =/= ginger.

That said, if you have ginger ale, you could use it in place of the water in the recipe. That'll give some of the ginger flavor back to the sauce. If you do that, cut your sweetener in half.
posted by yellowcandy at 8:33 AM on December 17, 2009

For a peanut sauce I might do some red onion and a bit of cayenne to get that sweet/spicy mix. Really though, you're probably better off just buying some ginger on your way home. :)
posted by CharlesV42 at 8:33 AM on December 17, 2009

I agree it's pretty irreplaceable, but your peanut sauce will still be serviceable without it. If you taste it without the ginger and feel it's lacking, try bumping up the sweetener and chili a notch.
posted by mkultra at 8:34 AM on December 17, 2009

Yeah, nothing else really tastes like ginger. I'd just leave it out. A half a teaspoon isn't very much, so what you'll end up with won't taste all that different from what you're used to.

The next time you make this, though, I'd suggest you try using fresh ginger rather than ground--I think it would work better here. I keep a little chunk of fresh ginger tightly wrapped in my freezer, and whenever I need it, I just grate some--still frozen, peel and all. It works great.
posted by neroli at 8:39 AM on December 17, 2009 [3 favorites]

Lime zest. And unless you are a vegetarian, fish sauce.
posted by jujube at 9:42 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I would leave it out and bump up the sugar & chili. It won't taste the same but you should get something tasty. Obviously, you'll need to adjust to taste as you make it.
posted by chairface at 10:32 AM on December 17, 2009

Nothing really, can you have someone pick some up as they are coming over? I would use lemongrass and garlic and change the recipe, good suggestions weapons grade and cat pie. But, if you can get lemongrass, you should be able to get ginger as ginger's much more accessible.

As for the flavor of ginger in such small amounts, this is completely not true neroli- ginger is a very strong flavor and any more would overpower your sauce.

As for adding ginger ale, not such a good idea unless you reduce it way down, like a cup down to a tablespoon, but this will make it infinitely sweeter which isn't so good.
posted by TheBones at 10:44 AM on December 17, 2009

ginger is not sweet, so I don't think bumping up the sweetener is a good idea, especially since most commercial peanut butter is already sweetened (and really sweet peanut sauce is not all that authentic). I would add pounded garlic, lime juice and cilantro if you've got it.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:29 PM on December 17, 2009

What is this sauce going on/with? Chicken satay, or noodles?

If it's a condiment with chicken or another meat, you're probably ok as is, just bump up the acid and spice.

For noodles I'd say forget about ginger, and go for another strong flavor like garlic. A splash of fish sauce if you've got it. Delish with tofu and rice or soba noodles.
posted by fontophilic at 1:40 PM on December 17, 2009

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