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I prefer to use canola oil for dishes to make them healthier without compromising on the taste. As a cooking oil it is extremely versatile, has a high smoke point and a neutral taste that brings out the natural flavour of the ingredients making it ideal for Indian cooking. What’s more, being trans-fat free and low in saturated fat you can enjoy these traditional delicacies without guilt.

Paneer skewers

India’s favourite cheese, cottage cheese, once made in every home is gently rubbed with gram flour and yellow chilli powder before it is pan-grilled.

Ingredients: 250 grams of paneer (cottage cheese), 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 ½ teaspoons of turmeric, 2 teaspoons of ginger paste, 2 teaspoons of garlic paste, 4 tbsp of canola oil, 4 tbsps of besan (gram flour), 1 lemon, salt, 3 teaspoons of chilly flakes, 2 tbsps of garlic, chopped, 2 teaspoons of yellow chilly powder, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, 2 tbsps of green coriander, chopped, 1 teaspoon of  chaat masala, 12 wooden skewers.
Method: Cut paneer into batons 3 inches long. Sprinkle salt, half the turmeric, ginger and garlic paste. Keep aside in a warm place for half an hour. Drain water and keep aside. Heat canola oil and add besan. Cook on very low heat until besan lightly browns. Remove from fire, add turmeric and let cool. In besan, squeeze lemon, add salt, chilly flakes, chopped garlic, yellow chilly powder and black pepper. Marinate paneer in this marinade, skewer and keep aside for 15 minutes. Heat pan and drizzle canola oil; cook paneer on all sides until it browns. Sprinkle chaat masala, chopped coriander and serve hot with fresh salad.

Yield:  6 servings. Serving size: 2 pieces. 

Mutton rassa

A Maharashtrian pride, this delicacy involves use of good quantities of canola oil. As a benchmark, there has to be an inch of canola oil floating on the dish to qualify. 

Ingredients: 150 ml of canola oil, 10 peppercorns, 1 ½ cups of onion, chopped, 50 grams of ginger paste, 50 grams of garlic paste, 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder, 1 tablespoons of red chilly powder, 2 tablespoons of coriander powder, 500 grams of boneless lamb boti, 1 teaspoon of garam masala, 3 teaspoons of salt, 2 cups of tomatoes, chopped.

Method: Heat canola oil in thick-bottom pan and add peppercorn. Add chopped onions. Sauté until light brown; add ginger and garlic paste mixed with a little water. Add turmeric, red chilly and coriander powder. Cook until oil surfaces. Now add mutton, sprinkle salt and bhuno till 3/4th done. Now add chopped tomatoes and bhuno for another 10 minutes. Pour in sufficient amount of water and let it simmer until done. Sprinkle garam masala on top of the dish and serve hot. 

Note: The mutton rassa is a thin curry with oil floating on top. It is best had with pao.

Yield: 6 servings.

Moong dal payasam 

This pudding has the goodness of jaggery and the split yellow lentil flavoured with coconut milk. The use of canola oil makes it a light yet very palatable south Indian dessert.

Ingredients: 150 grams of jaggery, 2 teaspoons of canola oil, 150 grams of moong dal (green gram), 400 ml of coconut milk, 500 ml water, 2 teaspoons of cardamom powder, 15 grams of cashew nuts.

Method: Grate jaggery and keep aside. In thick-bottomed pan, heat canola oil, add cashew nuts and fry until light brown. Remove and keep aside. In same pan, add a little more canola oil and add moong dal; on low heat, lightly roast dal. Make sure dal does not burn. Add water carefully and cook until dal  is mashy. Add grated jaggery and cook for 2 minutes. Carefully add coconut milk and keep cooking for another 5 minutes. If payasam is too thick, then add a little water. Sprinkle cardamom powder and browned cashew nuts. Serve hot.

Yield: 4 servings.

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