It’s monsoon season; how many of us have dreamed of a hot cup of chai and a plateful of hot pakoras or samosas to enjoy during the rains? Fried food is our notion of bliss. Yet, it comes with a health cost. With our usually sedentary lifestyles, how many of us can afford to indulge in fried food all the time? Enter – the humble oven to the rescue. Many of our deep-fried snacks can taste equally delicious if they are baked. Here are some to whet your appetite. Your taste buds can be appeased and your heart will surely thank you.
Yes, that uniquely flavourful triangle of pastry folding a combination of delicately-spiced potatoes and peas, or meat, can definitely be on your baking menu. Cutting out the oil makes it less guilt-inducing to indulge, doesn’t it?
Remember when your mother cut those tender brinjal rounds, dipped them in besan combined with spices and deep fried them? Yum! Well, if you want to indulge in the same taste, without worrying about the excess oil, you can. Cut the eggplant into round slices, spritz them with olive oil and sprinkle your blend of spices. And roast them in an oven until nice and crisp.
Remember the slogan from Lay’s – ‘No one can eat just one!’? Well, that’s so true. How about baking them instead? Cut potato slices as thin as you can make them. Douse them with cold water, drain and set them to dry on paper towels. Toss with a couple of spoons of olive oil and sea salt (and spices if you prefer), and then bake in a single layer for about 15-20 minutes.
Craving something sweet? Well, you can’t beat deep-fried choux pastry sprinkled with cinnamon sugar for taste. Only, you can – just bake them instead. Pipe out rows of choux pastry and bake for about 10-12 minutes until slightly puffed. Then turn on the broiler and watch while they turn golden brown. Remove, cool slightly and roll in cinnamon sugar.
Deep-fried yeasty goodness becomes more awesome when you cut out the grease. Get yourself some doughnut pans, spoon in the thick batter into them, and bake for about 5-7 minutes. Cool slightly and decorate with glaze or shake them in a Ziploc bag with plain, cinnamon or vanilla sugar.
Do you like this Mediterranean delight? Now there’s a healthy way to make it in 30 minutes or less. Serve with pita bread, hummus and a pile of greens for a heart-healthy food which is also tasty. Pro-tip: brush the baking tray generously with olive oil to get that ‘just fried’ taste with minimal oil.
When your toddler wants French fries and screams “Potato is a vegetable!”, what can a parent do? Well, bake them instead – and perhaps you can get some sweet potato and carrots as well into your little tyrant. Cut these vegetables into long fingers. Toss with olive oil, sea salt and spices (optional). Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for about 45 minutes to get crisp, tasty fries to suit the most demanding palate.