Huacatay is a popular herb, widely used as an essential ingredient in Peruvian food. It is a Peruvian staple that means it is your best choice while cooking Peruvian food.
Huacatay is an important item in a famous potato dish to make ocopa sauce. Ocopa is a smooth sauce, having huacatay as a basic ingredient. You can use these leaves for flavoring fruit juices and for giving a mint-like flavor to drinks. Serve huacatay leaves with barbeque, chicken, or can be cooked in soups like curries. You can use dried huacatay leaves for seasoning purposes that give unique and regional flavor to local dishes.
Huacatay is a good source of antioxidants, iron, potassium, and calcium. It helps to prevent inflammation. This herb can deal with respiratory problems like common colds. Huacatay contains Ocimene that is a terpene and has various health benefits. It is rare to find huacatay outside South America and sometimes it is not even available after its growth season ends.
It is not easy to find a huacatay substitute because of its unique flavor profile. However, do not worry as we have jotted down a list of huacatay substitutes.
The taste of cilantro is similar to Huacatay because of its herbaceous nature and citrus flavor. Various cuisines use these herbs extensively. Cilantro is easily available in grocery stores in America and Western Europe. Thus, we recommend Cilantro as a substitute because of its easy availability. The use of cilantro helps reducing anxiety and improving mental health.
The flavor profile of Cilantro and Huacatay is pretty close and hence they are used to substitute each other in recipes especially for those with an aversion to either one.
Whenever you substitute Cilantro for huacatay use a one-to-one ratio. It means both are interchangeably used in the same recipes.
Muna belongs to the Laminacee family and it is an aromatic plant. This plant is the same as mint, rosemary, or oregano. Muna can be used as an ingredient for soups, sauces, or chupes.
Like huacatay, Muna is used in cooking Peruvian food. Muna has a resemblance with huacatay as both play their role as a seasoning and as medicine. You can replace huacatay with Muna stews and juices. Muna can replace huacatay for seasoning pachamanca dish. It is a dish that cooks meat using stones. In addition to this, Muna has a healthy composition like it contains large amounts of calcium. Health benefits of both Muna and Muacatay include the ability to help in the digestion of food. You can make use of Muna as a tea herb just like huacatay.
It is a sweet-smelling herb popular for its cooking and medicinal properties. The leaves and tender stems of this herb are part of cooking. Epazote has various medicinal and health benefits like huacatay. The important thing to focus on is that excess quantity of Epazote could be toxic. Another difficulty in using Epazote is that it is not easy to find in stores.
Epazote plant plays the role of both a leaf vegetable and a herb. The pungent fragrance of this plant is a good addition to dishes such as legumes or corn by the reason of its carminative characteristics. Although some people do not like its pungent flavor.
4) Lemon Verbena
It is a lemon-scented herb having versatile culinary use. The leaves and flowering tops of lemon verbena are useful in medicines. The tea made with lemon verbena can help to treat fevers and chills.
Lemon verbena is another great alternative for huacatay as both contain citrus flavor notes. The lemon verbena has a lemony flavor but still, you can use it in many dishes as a huacatay substitute. You can achieve the minty huacatay flavor by using lemon verbena with a little addition of spearmint.
So, we can conclude that we have various options in case of an emergency shortage of huacatay herb. You can use any of the above-mentioned huacatay substitutes for your Peruvian dishes. Each has its distinct property but can do the job when required. Cilantro, muna, lemon verbena, or epazote, try each one of them to have the right item for yourself. Enjoy your recipes by using the best alternatives for huacatay.