Sometimes I do not have enough time and miss out parts either substitute ingridients.

My observation is that sometimes it's quite okay and sometimes awful because of unexpected pairings in the food design.

Is there any general rule beyond personal taste to recognize where reduction/substitution is really no way?

  • It requires a fair amount of experience cooking and knowledge of food to make wise substitutions. There are reasons that certains spices for example are often paired with other ones or that sometimes two are never seen together. Dishes also must be balanced from the point of view of acidity, of sweetness and so on. Ingredients all have a role in this. An experienced cook will know what to do, but a beginner is likely to do something that causes the dish to become unbalanced or just taste wrong. – aris Oct 14 '18 at 18:08
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    If you are missing ingredients sometimes it is best to leave it out rather than substitute. Many recipes contain more ingredients than are absolutely essential for the most basic version of the dish. With experience you will know if an ingredient is really necessary or not. – aris Oct 14 '18 at 18:08

There’s no such rule, but you can approach in a strategic way. You need to know, however why that ingredient is in the recipe.

When it’s only about flavor (say spices), i think it’s fairly easy to substitue with what you see fit.

But this is not always the case:

Say your ice-cream recipe calls for a banana, it’s not only there for flavor, but also texture. You can not just replace with any fruit, banana is used there for its starchy texture as well. You’ll need to replace the banana with similar amounts of starch (or eggs that would give a similar texture) and a flavor you see fit.

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