Standard Conversion Tables
1 gallon = 4 quarts = 3.79 L (Can usually be rounded to 4 L)
1 UK pint is about 6 dl
1 pint = 570 ml = 20 fl oz
1 ounce = 28.4 g (can usually be rounded to 25 or 30)
Cheese (grated) 1 oz = 4 level tablespoons
1 tablespoon = 20 mls
In ancient China, 1 catty = 1.33 pound = 600 grams. In Modern China, this went with kilograms and stuff. To make the transition easier for the average people they invented a new kind of catty. 1 catty = 0.5 kilo ( = 1.1 pound ) However, old books from Hong Kong and Taiwan still use the old catty = 600 grams.
US all-purpose flour and UK plain-flour can be substituted for one another without adjustment. US cake flour is lighter than these. It is not used much anymore, but if it does come up, you can substitute all-purpose/plain flour by removing three tablespoons per cup of flour and replacing it with corn starch or potato flour. Self-raising flour contains 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt for each cup of flour. US whole wheat flour is interchangeable with UK wholemeal flour.
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. It must be mixed with acidic ingredients to work. Baking powder contains baking soda and a powdered acid, so it can work without other acidic ingredients.
Evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk both come in cans, both are thick and a weird color... but are not the same thing. Sweetened condensed milk is, as the name implies, mixed with sugar or another sweetener already. It isn't found everywhere, but this recipe makes a good, quick substitute: Mix 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry (powdered) milk and 1/2 cup warm water. When mixed, add 3/4 cup granulated sugar.
If a recipe calls for buttermilk or cultured milk, you can make sour milk as a substitute. For each cup you need, take one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice , then add enough milk to make one cup. Don't stir. Let it stand for five minutes before using.
The minimum milk fat content by weight for various types of cream
Quark (aka quarg) A soft, unripened cheese with the texture and flavor of sour cream. Quark comes in two versions-lowfat and nonfat. Though the calories are the same (35 per ounce), the texture of lowfat Quark is richer than that of lowfat sour cream. It has a milder flavor and richer texture than lowfat yogurt. Quark can be used as a sour cream substitute to top baked potatoes, and as an ingredient in a variety of dishes including cheesecakes, dips, salads and sauces.
UK cornflour is the same as US cornstarch. Potato flour, despite its name, is a starch, and cannot be substituted for regular flour. It often can be substituted for corn starch and vice versa. In the US, corn flour means finely ground cornmeal. If in doubt about which type of cornflour is meant in a recipe, ask the person who gave it to you! A couple of rules of thumb-in cakes, especially sponge cakes, it's likely to mean cornstarch-as a coating for fried okra, it's likely to mean finely ground cornmeal. Cornmeal or polenta is not the same thing as cornstarch or cornflour! What one can buy labelled 'polenta' really looks no different to cornmeal though, so hey, lets not panic too much. Polenta is commonly used to describe cornmeal porridge but may also be used to mean plain cornmeal. Beware. If you don't have cornstarch/corn flour, you can use twice the amount of all-purpose/plain flour. However, unless whatever you're adding it to is allowed to boil, the result will taste starchy.
UK castor/caster sugar is somewhat finer than US granulated sugar. There is a product in the US called superfine sugar, which is about the same as UK castor/caster sugar. Usually, you can use granulated sugar in recipes calling for castor/caster sugar and vice versa, but I've gotten reports of times this didn't work so well! As usual, give the recipe a trial run with the substitute some time when it doesn't need to be perfect. (US) Confectioner's sugar is (UK/Aust/NZ) icing sugar. Sometimes these are marketed as mixtures containing about 5% cornflour.
Corn syrup is common in the US but not always elsewhere. Sugar (golden) syrup can be substituted. Corn syrup comes in two flavors-dark and light. Light corn syrup is just sweet, dark has a mild molasses flavor. Some people have substituted dark corn syrup for golden syrup in ANZAC biscuits and found it successful. A common US brand is Karo.
Golden syrup is a thick, golden brown (fancy that) byproduct of cane sugar refining. The taste is mostly sweet, although there is a slight acidic, metallic component. Lyle's is a common brand. The New Zealand brand name is Chelsea. If desperate, a plain sugar syrup may be a possible substitute, boil 2 parts sugar, 1 part water. This could be messy. You may want to thin it out with water. Again, you may want to try this out on your own before making something for a special occasion.
Black treacle and blackstrap molasses are similar but not identical.
A "stick" of butter or margarine weighs 4 oz and is 1/2 cup US, approximately 100 grams. Each 1/4 cup or half stick butter or margarine in US recipes weighs about 50 g. There are 8 tablespoons in 1/4 pound butter
Shortening is solid, white fat made from hydrogenated vegetable oil. (A popular brand name is Crisco, and many people call all shortening Crisco.) It is common in the US, tougher to find in some other parts of the globe. In my experience, you can usually but not always substitute butter or margarine for shortening. The result will have a slightly different texture and a more buttery taste (which in the case of, say, chocolate chip cookies seems to be an advantage!). Sometimes this doesn't work too well. Not to sound like a broken record but-try it out before an important occasion.
Copra is a solid fat derived from coconuts, it is fairly saturated and used in recipes where it is melted, combined with other ingredients and left to set. Lard can be successfully substituted in some recipes, for example it makes very flaky pastry.
Deep frying requires fats/oils with heat-tolerant properties. Butter and margarine, for example, are right out, as are lard and olive oil. Corn and peanut oils are both good.
If you don't have unsweetened baking chocolate, substitute three tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder plus one tablespoon of fat (preferably oil) for each one ounce square. US dark chocolate is the same as UK plain chocolate, that is, the darkest and least sweet of the chocolates intended for eating (also called bittersweet). What is called milk chocolate in the UK is called milk chocolate in the US, too, but many people simply refer to it as "chocolate". The stuff called "semi-sweet chocolate" by some folks is the US dark or UK plain. "Bitter chocolate" is, apparently, the UK term for high quality plain chocolate. Some manufacturers apparently distinguish between "sweet dark," "semi-sweet" and "bittersweet" (Sarotti is one), but they seem to be minor variations on a theme. Chocolate chips are not necessarily a substitute for bar chocolates, because the chips have something added to them to slow down melting.
The rec.food.cooking FAQ and conversion file as of September 4, 2000, available in rtfm.mit.edu FAQ archives as /cooking/faq
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50 Fundamental Recipes
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