Oiling the Machine

Mallika Basu - Oiling the Machine

Posted 26th September 2006

Sorry for the slightly cheesy title, but cooking oils are an important part of Indian cooking.

Many people who love Indian food don’t cook it at home because they think it’s fatty. It doesn’t have to be. But you can’t really cook Indian food without oil. This is because most recipes need you to start with frying onions or masalas. Most of my recipes use a moderate amount so they are low in fat without being ineffective.

The main oils are as follows:

  1. Sunflower/Vegetable oil – We use this to do most of our cooking at home in India
  2. Ghee – Clarified butter. V fatty. Only used in moderation to add flavour
  3. Mustard oil – Bengalis cook with this a lot. It adds a lovely pungent taste to food

It’s not authentic to use olive oil to cook Indian food, but becoming increasingly fashionable. It is wrong on every possible level and too expensive to get lost in a crowd of masalas.

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