No sugar, no oil
If you swear by your 'tadka' and 'chhauka' then here's something interesting for you. I learnt how to make a complete main course dish without a drop of oil or butter! I met Chef Glen, the executive chef at the Leela Palace, Delhi and together we made a fantastic vegetable sweet and sour with no oil, no processed sugar. The sweetness of the sweet and sour came from the ingredients we put.
Into a hot pan went some tomato sauce. Direct, no cooking medium required. As the sauce simmered we put some apple puree and white wine. The fructose or the 'good sugar' in the apple puree gives the sweetness to this dish and completely eliminates the need to add the white or the 'bad sugar'. Next we put some garlic, and reduced the puree. We then tossed the veggies in - carrots, black mushrooms soaked in sherry, broccoli, onions (finely chopped), slow pea pods, some lettuce and fennel leaves.
The sour element of the dish came in from fresh pineapples. We then added some tofu, salt and pepper and within minutes we had piping hot-n-healthy sweet and sour ready to be devoured!
Now because this was such a quick cooking dish, the vegetables actually retained their crunchy texture and their nutrient value. Often cooking at home, we end up using so much masalas and oil that the real taste of vegetables gets lost. I could taste the distinctive flavour of each ingredient in Chef Glen's dish.
This was such hassle free cooking and the preparation time can be halved if you keep some pre-prepared sauce in the fridge. Just add the veggies when you wanna eat.
There are other ways to cut back on calories from your food. Here are 3 tips that I've discovered:
1) Cook in olive oil instead of refined oil or butter.
2) Use not more than a coin size circle of oil in the pan. Remember, it's not the oil that makes the food tasty.
3) Apples are a great snack. Use actually burn calories digesting an apple! There are more such foods that burn more calories than they offer. They are called negative calorie foods, some that you can easily get your hands on are carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, onions and apple.
Do share your tips on cutting calories. Will look forward to interesting recipes too, perhaps we can cook them together! Until next time, keep it healthy and don't forget to drink lots of water!