Footloose and oil free

I was very disheartened when the doc saw my cholesterol reports and said I would have to go on life long medication. I could see my budding career as a food writer getting nipped in the bud. Strangely enough, our family doctor seemed even more upset and he stood up and said ‘I am really sorry to be the one to write this’. No, not an arrest warrant for gluttony, he was writing my prescription.
So I prepared for my new life. The next day at a five star buffet work shop lunch my plate was full of never seen before things like lettuce, broccoli, ladies finger, daal and rice.
That night I made a completely oil free Bengali Chicken curry. Here’s how:
My secret ingredient was onion paste. I put onion paste in the pressure cooker and heated it till it became brown. I did not require oil as I used paste. I then added a bit of ginger and garlic paste and sautéed it. I then added some tomato paste. When this was cooked I added 2 chicken legs (chopped into two & marinated with a tea spoon each of haldi & jeera and half a tea spoon each of red chilly, pepper, garam masala and a table spoon of milk). I added two halved potatoes. I stirred this till the chicken began to become a bit dark. Then I shut the pressure cooker and put the flame on high till there were 3 whistles. After this I let it simmer on a low flame for 12 min, shut the flame and opened the cooker when the steam was gone.
The result a fairly authentic, spicy curry which was oil free. I can bet that no one would have known if I hadn’t said it was oil free.
I made a couple of other oil free dishes too which tasted quite good.

Grilled fish:

I marinated some rawas (Indian salmon) fillets with ginger paste, smoked barbecue sauce, chopped olives, lemon grass stalks, a pinch of oregano, salt and pepper in a micro plate. I also squeezed the fish with my hand to ensure that it did not give out water. I then bunged the plate into the micro. Cooked it for 4 minutes, put it on combi (cook plus grill) for 6 minutes and then turned the fillets and put them on grill for 3 minutes. I was quite happy with the result. There was a slight, thick sauce and the fish seemed like it was sautéed in a bit of oil as it was quite firm. Mind you, there was no oil used in reality.
The last dish was vegetarian. I took some lemon marinade sauce in a pan and heated it. To this I added about 300 grammes of chopped button mushrooms. I had squeezed the mushrooms before putting them in but some water still came out. I let this dry on a high flame and then added parsley which I ground in the mixer. I stirred this and added a pinch of chilly flakes and salt. I then added some cherry tomatoes and stirred. This dish had the mildly, sweet, timid taste of mushrooms which gave a good taste break to the fish which had a sharper taste. I liked the juicy bites of the cherry tomatoes though the wife did not care for it much.
PS I did one more cholesterol test before starting the medications. This time the scores were much lower though still above the limit. I guess the Christmas and NY excesses had hiked up the first scores. The doc was most happy to see the scores. He shook my hands and said that I needn’t start the medicines. I was really touched by his concern though. So I heaved a sigh of relief though I guess my experiments without oil will continue.


Kalyan Karmakar said…
I must warn readers that i have been down with food poisoning after this dinner. Don't know which was the culprit, the fish or the mushrooms though
Anonymous said…
Yes, chicken and fish can be cooked without a drop of oil. The other trick is to add ginger, garlic, tomato and onion paste together and let it simmer for a while.

I made a mustard and doi mach where the fish is marinated for about an hour in a dahi marinade to which mustard paste( mustard, green chilli and garlic pods) is added. Add a few onion rings. Cook on slow fire for 15/20 minutes or till fish is done. Proportions would be for two cups of dahi add about two spoons of the mustard paste. You have the options of finishing it off with mustard oil and dhania patta.
Happy Eating!
Kalyan Karmakar said…
looks yum...will try it...I've made bhapa eelish without oil, where I marinate the eelish in chilly paste (2 greens), mustard paste and a tea spoon of mil/ cream and sal. I put this in a tiffin box and float that in a sauce pan with boiling water...comes out q tender after 10-15 min
Anonymous said…
This looks so delicious. Thank you for the idea.
Kalyan Karmakar said…
you are most fact I've tried the chicken curry quite a few times and it tuns out quite well...the magic ingredient is the onion paste. In fact at times I've been lazy and pasted the tomato and ginger and garlic with the onion