Custard powder substitute

Interestingly, custard powder was invented in 1837 by Alfred Bird because his wife was allergic to eggs and couldn’t tolerate real custard. Till today, Bird’s brand is one of the most popular brands of custard powder, and probably the only brand you’ll find in Singapore supermarkets.

As I noted here, commercial custard powder is basically full of nasty additives you’re better off avoiding. In this recipe which called for custard powder, I simply substituted some cornflour instead. Interestingly, many dim sum recipes call for custard powder — the British colonial influence on Hong Kong food, perhaps?

Recently, in Brown Rice Paradise, I saw a natural foods version of custard powder, which contained cornflour, yellow colourings (annatto and a turmeric-derivative) plus vanilla. However, while annatto is naturally-derived, it is the only natural food colouring “found to cause as many adverse intolerance reactions as artificial colours and to affect more consumers that artificial colour” (read here).

Anyway, this natural-foods version of custard powder shows that aside from the yellow colour (which isn’t all that important), you can pretty much duplicate the function of custard powder with some cornflour and vanilla essence. Yay (^_^).


5 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for this substitue for custard powder. I’m making a chocolate cheesecake which calls for custard powder and we could not find it anywhere, but we did find your substitute at the market. so again thank you!

  2. WOW, thank you heaps. I was making jam drops out of a cookbook and didn’t have custard powder. Luckily you put your substitute up which was sitting right in the kitchen cupboard. =)

  3. Thank you!!!! So glad to find a replacement that is not “vanilla pudding mix”. Simple ingredients that I have and can pronounce :)

  4. Very interesting post thank you for sharing I have added your site to my favorites and will check back :) By the way this is off topic but I really like your blogs layout.

  5. Thanks for confirming that custard powder can be substituted with cornflour! I saw some custard powder at the shops and was disappointed to see it contained a list of additives :(

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