Invest In Non Stick Pans: It is important to have a set of non-stick pans to cook various dishes. You would require a very small kadhai or wok for tempering, a larger wok, a shallow frying pan and perhaps a deep saucepan for curried dishes.
A pressure cooker is essential to cook food fast and preserve vitamins. And by using pressure cooker use can cook dishes with little food.
Dry Roast: Instead of frying foods, you can dry roast or braise them. When tempering dals/beans you can either dry roast the tempering ingredients or use upto 1 tsp. oil to stir-fry them.
Similarly, while making curries, onions may be braised – just add a sprinkling of water or stock to lightly brown them, or cook them in a microwave oven, or even boil them to prevent a raw onion taste in the dish.
Alternatively,onions can be fried using very little oil in a non-stick pan. If you do not use onions in your cooking and are following recipes that use them, try tomato puree or roasted plain flour to thicken curries and gravies.
Coconut should not be used because it is high in saturated fats. So are items like nuts, malai, cream, poppy seeds etc.
Avoid tempering: To turn a high-calorie dish into a low-calorie one just requires you to think differently. Usually dal is boiled and then tempered (vaghar, tadka, etc) with fried spices. Instead of doing this, add your onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic (whatever you generally use) to the dal when you are about to boil it. Then the tempering can be made with very little oil, whether it is jeera, rai or even just red chilli powder.
Bake All kinds of koftas, which are fried, can be baked instead. Either you can bake the item in a pan and, when done, cut it into squares and put the curry on top or you can make roundels of the mixture, put them on a baking sheet or tray and bake.
Microwave Cooking: Some dishes can be more conveniently cooked in a microwave. In addition, of course you can make dishes in larger quantity and freeze them for later use (if you have a deep freezer). These can then be thawed and reheated in the microwave oven.
There are some products available in the West that can help you reduce the fat in your food. For instance, a cooking spray is handy for baked dishes and dry cooked dishes. Non-fat milk, fat and sugar free foods, low-cal margarines, egg substitute and other diet specific foods may add variety to the diet.
Use Skimmed Milk: Try and use skim milk if you don’t like the taste of reconstituted powdered skim milk. Heat whichever milk you get (cow’s milk has less fat content than standard or whole milk) and refrigerate it for 24 hours. Remove the malai from the surface, strain the rest of the milk and use. Curd, too, should be made from this milk. If you find the curd is on the thin side, thicken the milk with some skim milk powder.
Use Artificial Sweetener : When making sweet dishes, use artificial sweetener wherever possible. Or use part sugar and part sweetener. You can use the product you are familiar with, saccharin, aspartame, either liquid or tablets. In any case, it is better for health to avoid sweets: substitute with lots of fresh fruit which are healthier and lower in calories than say for instance halwa, ice-cream or other high calorie desserts.
Remember the greater the variety of food you eat, the more balanced a mix you will get and the healthier you will be as well.
We have many low-cal recipes for you to try. Happy dieting!