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Indian cooking with the help of Olive Oil – Must try recipes 

Olive oil is considered as one of the healthier options for cooking. The fact that olive oil is loaded with omega-3 monounsaturated fatty acids makes it super-beneficial for consumption. Rich in antioxidants, olive oil is made out of olives. The oil extracted in various stages gives its distinct aroma and colour. In other words, the different types of olive oil depend on the method of harvesting and processing.  

Extra virgin olive oil is considered as the superior of the lot. It is made with the cold-pressed method and exposure to high temperature is avoided. Extra virgin olive oil retains most of the flavour and aroma. The golden-green oil is best used raw in salads as a dressing or over pasta for a generous drizzle. Since it has a low smoking point, it is not advisable to use it for cooking purposes. It is the most expensive of the lot and low in acidity. 

Pure olive oil is the next in the rung. Contrary to the name, this oil is a blend of refined olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. This is a perfect oil for cooking, especially our Indian cuisine. With its smoke point higher than extra virgin olive oil, sautéing becomes easy. It is also excellent for body massages and preparation of beauty oils. It works well in haircare as well.  

Light olive oil is lower in terms of nutrition and higher in terms of acidity and smoke point. This type of oil has a light aroma or taste of the olives. it is best suited for baking or cooking over the flame. Since it has a neutral taste and aroma, cooking with it is healthy as it is not absorbed much. 

Pomace is the type of olive oil that has the highest smoking point. It is ideal for frying or any high heat cooking. It is extracted from the waste of olives and the pits that are already processed and squeezed for oil. The oil is blended with extra virgin olive oil to add in some nutrition.  

Though there are many types of olive oil in the market, one does not understand the utility of various kinds. It is a myth that olive oil can alter the taste and smell of the food, especially Indian cuisine. If we understand the nutritional value, aroma, taste and the smoking points of various types of olive oil, Indian cooking could even be enhanced by its use.  

Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

Chatpata Chana

Cook time: 10 mins  

Serves4 

Type: Salad 

Ingredients: 

Boiled white Chana: 1 cup 

Onion: 1 

Tomato: 1 

Cucumber: 1 

Raw mango: 1/2 cup chopped 

Green chillies: 1-2 

Ingredients for Dressing:  

Red chilli powder: ½ tsp 

Roasted cumin powder: ½ tsp 

Extra virgin olive oil: 4-5 tbsp 

Mint and coriander leaves: a handful 

Salt: to taste 

Method: 

  1. Finely chop the onion, tomato, cucumber and green chillies. 
  2. Take a bowl and throw in the boiled white chickpeas.  
  3. Add in the chopped veggies and raw mango. 
  4. For the dressing: Take a smaller bowl and mix in extra virgin olive oil, chilli powder, roasted cumin powder, mint leaves, coriander leaves and salt. (Reserve some mint and coriander leaves for garnishing.) 
  5. Toss the dressing into the boiled chana and the veggies. Mix well. 
  6. Check for seasoning and drizzle in some more olive oil and the rest of the mint and coriander leaves.  

(Tip: You can also add in some boiled and cubed potatoes and a dash of lemon juice.) 

Pure Olive Oil 

Paneer Chapatti Taco

Cook time: 40 mins 

Serves: 4 

Type: Main course 

Ingredients for Chapatti: 

Whole wheat flour: 2 cups 

Caraway seeds: 1 tsp 

Salt: to taste 

Pure olive oil: 3 tbsp + some to cook chapatti  

Ingredients for Paneer: 

Paneer: 200gms 

Onion: 1 finely chopped 

Tomato: 2 finely chopped 

Ginger garlic paste: 1 tsp 

Capsicum: 1 finely chopped 

Turmeric powder: ½ tsp 

Red chilli powder: ½ tsp 

Pav bhaji masala: ½ tsp 

Tomato ketchup: 1 tbsp 

Salt: to taste 

Pure Olive oil: 2-3 tbsp 

Method  

  1. Make a stiff dough with wheat flour, caraway seeds, salt, pure olive oil and warm water. Cover it with a muslin cloth and let it rest. 
  2. Take a frying pan and warm up 2-3 tbsp of pure olive oil. Add in onions and fry till they are golden brown. Add tomato and ginger-garlic paste. Sauté well.  
  3. Once the oil starts to ooze out of the masala, add in the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and pav bhaji masala. Cook well. 
  4. Add chopped capsicum into the prepared masala and sauté for a couple of minutes.  
  5. Crumble the paneer with your hands and add it into the pan. Season well and finish off with tomato ketchup. Cover and switch off the stove.  
  6. To assemble: Make lime-sized balls of the dough and with the help of a rolling pin, roll out thin round roti. Cook it on a hot tawa/flat girdle without oil. Once both the sides are cooked, place 2-3 tbsp of the paneer mixture on one half of the chapatti and fold the other half over it to make it an “Indian style” taco. While still on the girdle, smear oil on both the sides and cook well till it is crispy. 
  7. Serve the paneer chapatti taco hot and with some coriander chutney. 

Extra Light Olive Oil 

Begun Bhaja with a Twist

Cook time: 20 mins  

Serves: 4 

Type: Snack 

Ingredients: 

Aubergine4 big 

Rice flour: 2 tbsp 

Red chilli powder: 1 tsp 

Turmeric powder: ½ tsp 

Amchur powder: 1 tsp 

Roasted peanuts: 3 tbsp (well crushed but not powdered) 

Salt: to taste 

Extra light olive oil to cook 

Method: 

  1. Slice the eggplant/aubergine into ½-inch thick slices. 
  2. Take a plate and evenly spread the crushed peanuts. 
  3. Take a wide bowl. Mix in rice flour, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, amchur powder and salt. Toss in the sliced eggplants and coat them well. This needs to be done in small batches or ideally, individually. Once well coated, transfer the slice onto the plate of crushed peanuts and dab it well into the peanuts. 
  4. Heat up a flat girdle and smear well with extra light olive oil. Cook the slices in small batches or individually. Be liberal with the oil and cook on low flame.  Serve hot as a side dish or as a snack.  

Pomace Olive Oil 

Shahi Tukda

Cook time: 5 mins  

Serves: 5 

Type: Sweet 

Ingredients: 

White bread: 5 slices 

Pomace olive oil: for frying 

Full cream milk: 1 ltr 

Condensed milk: ½ cup 

Saffron: a few strands 

Sugar: ¼ cup 

Cardamom powder: ½ tsp 

Pistachios and almonds: 3-4 tbsp slivered 

Method: 

  1. The procedure is divided into four parts.  
  2. For the rabdi, bring the full cream milk to a boil and cook slowly till it reduces to half. This should be done on a low flame and with a lot of patience. Keep scraping the sides. Once the milk reduces, pour in the condensed milk and simmer again till the rabdi is lusciously thick. Add in the saffron strands and let it infuse for a couple of minutes. Take off the heat and let it cool.  
  3. The second step involves making of the tukda itself. For the tukda, cut out the sides of the bread. Cut the bread slices into triangles. Heat up the pomace olive oil and fry the bread triangles till they are golden brown.  
  4. The third step is making the sugar syrup of the right consistency. To make the sugar syrup, boil ¼ cup sugar with 3-4 tbsp of water. Make a single thread consistency syrup. Add in the cardamom powder and remove from the heat.  
  5. The last stage is assembling. Prepare a flat dish in which the royal dessert would be served up. Dip the golden fried bread slices into the warm syrup and place them on the dish to form a neat single line pattern. Spread the milky goodness of rabdi over the tukda. Garnish with slivered pistachios and almonds. 
  6. You can enjoy this warm or cold.  

(Tip: you can adjust the amount of sugar according to your taste.) 

The plethora of olive oils in the grocery store can make your head spin. But the point to remember is that olive oil is the “queen of healthy oils.” Used from starters to desserts, olive oil should be a permanent occupant in your pantry. Use of olive oil in the most creative and judicious manner can bring out the magic on your table. 

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