It rather shocks me that I have not written a post about cooking without oils. Oh sure I have lots of recipes but an actual discussion about how to cook without oils had yet to be posted. I suppose this is because it’s such an intrinsic part of my existence I never really thought about it before.
I know that there are people who can’t eat most (or all) fats. I don’t have a lot of no fat cooking tips but here are the few I do know:
- When cooking steak I use a stainless steal pan and heat it up hot enough to sear. The steak always sticks to the pan but this is no problem because while the pan is still hot I then deglaze it with water or chicken broth to make gravy. It also has the added benefit of cleaning the pan.
- People often add oil to marinades but I find that chicken broth works better than oil any day. It penetrates the meat much better than any oil or brine and makes it super tender and tasty.
- When baking it is possible to use applesauce or pear sauce in muffins or cakes in place of fat. This does nothing for helping prevent said cake from sticking to the pan but I have found that silicon muffin cups don’t stick ever. No grease required. So I imagine the larger silicon bread pans and other mats would work the same way.
- I often make broths and soups. This kind of food is easily made without oils or fats although I notice that many soup recipes add fat at the end.
- Steamed vegetables are delicious and I am interested in trying to steam stuffed breads like dim sum and pot stickers. Using steam to cook rather than fat or oils would be a great way to cook without fat.
Because I have found animal fats that do not bother my system, I do not cook without fat that much. There was quite a trend for low fat or no fat cooking when I was a child so I imagine there are quite a few recipes, tips and blogs out there on the web. If you have any practical tips you care to share in the comments about cooking without fat that would be great. I know that many of my readers will be appreciative.
How do I cook without oils? First of all I still have plenty of fats to cook with. I can cook with butter, lard, tallow, duck fat or chicken fat, all of which are fairly easy to substitute one to one for oil when I cook. Obviously each of these fats are better for different things.
Lard and duck fat are my choice fats for frying. Not that I cook on high heat that much, but even on lower heats these two fats contain less water and impurities and thus spit less. I will use tallow when I am making a beef stir fry. Tallow has a strong enough flavor that I reserve it for foods that will actually contain beef. It would be great for a beef pie crust for example but not for a coffee cake. So even though lard and duck fat are good for frying because of their relatively unobtrusive flavor they also are great for baked goods.
I have found that butter is a wonderful all around fat. It tastes lovely in baked goods and works for pretty much every type of cooking except high temperature frying. I even melt it for salad dressing. It tastes awesome on greens. The only reason I don’t use it exclusively is that it is expensive. Lard and duck fat are also expensive but a little less so. My chicken fat and beef fat are usually free fats that come off of roasts and other meals. My local co-op has started selling tallow and lard in jars although its still cheaper to buy the duck fat that they sell. Due to the strong flavor of chicken and beef fat I try and use them up in more savory dishes such as gravies, casseroles and stir-fries. It saves money and wastes less.
I hope this is helpful for those of you out there trying to cook without oils and you are all having a wonderful Memorial Day.