WARM, delicious smells of spices frying in palm oil and ghee wafting forth from the kitchen herald the arrival of Deepavali as surely as the purchase of new, jewel-toned sarees and jippahs, and the tiny oil lamps that gleam to honour the Festival of Lights.
As you prepare for a bounteous, heavily-laden festive table this year, reach into your pantry for a little help. To create that coveted crunch for your pakoras or to tease a deeper-richer flavour from spices, frying is the keyword. And especially when it comes to high-heat frying, products made with palm oil are your best bet – this could be cooking oil or ghee, which is traditionally used in Indian food.
Palm oil has the comparatively high smoke point of 235˚C (the smoke point is the temperature at which an oil begins to degrade and give off smoke). This high smoke point means that palm oil can take the heat when you need to fry anything at high temperatures.
And because palm oil is also resistant to oxidation, food that is fried in it remains fresher and crisper for comparatively longer too.
A small amount of oil adds consistency and richness to non-fried dishes too, for a silky mouthfeel that coats your palate with flavour.
Culinary teacher Manju Saigal has come up with some delightful recipes for this Deepavali season, laced with both tradition and flavour. Enjoy!
These recipes were first published in Flavours magazine.