To a lot of people cooking without oil could sound blasphemous – what would happen to the taste? It will not make much of a difference, let me assure you – but yes it would certainly mean you have to do without the much loved puris, pakoras, samosas, kachoris and the other deep fried goodies that form an integral part of an Indian menu. But when you compare this so called ‘loss’ against the plus points of banishing oil from your kitchens, it really is negligible.
For you see though we have not used any visible oil or ghee or cream or even certain ingredients with high content of fat in them, we must take note of the fact that most ingredients have a certain degree of fat in them. Be it wheat, pulses, vegetables, fruits, skimmed milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, cloves, cinnamon, sesame seeds and even the miniscule single mustard seed! So if we do eat a variety of foods each day, formatted in a variety of menus, balancing the carbohydrate and protein intake, all invisible fat included in this way is just perfect for a healthful diet. My point here is that no oil doesn’t mean that the food is totally free of lipid content. Furthermore great care has been taken while formulating these recipes to ensure that the taste has not been much affected.
While doing the trials, ‘Chholay Biryani’ posed us the biggest challenge. How does one brown the onions for the ‘birista’ without oil? And how does one keep the biryani moist without any oil or ghee? It was yogurt that stood us in good stead here. And the end result was so brilliant that it was made a second time so that all of us could satiate our palates. Same thing happened while making the ‘Dhania Pudina Parantha’ – it was after a few trials that we arrived at the perfect ending – a parantha which was ever so flaky that it almost melted in our mouths. And all this was achieved without a drop of oil and once again yogurt did the trick. It was also very difficult to imagine a ‘Risotto’ without cheese…it tasted different alright, nevertheless it was absolutely delicious. And while we had earlier been thinking of calling it by some other name we decided to name it ‘No Cheese Risotto’