Flavor-infused olive oil can help turn a typical Indian dish into an exotic delicacy. Indian cooks have traditionally used groundnut or almond oil to add different flavors to their homemade dishes. Now olive oil is the rising star for creating more chic Indian fare.
Indian dishes are known for their liberal use of hot spices, herbs and other exotic flavoring ingredients. So flavored olive oils meet the needs of the traditional Indian cooks perfectly. Olive oil flavored with herbs like mint and thyme, or spices such as chilli and pepper, becomes so robust in terms of zest and zing, that it is no longer necessary to add extra spices to achieve the flavor and aromas chefs are after.
A variety of ingredients can be used to create flavored olive oils. Citrus fruits such as lemon or orange are the current favorites here. Popular herb-infused olive oils include rosemary, basil, fennel, sage, garlic, thyme and tarragon.
Flavored olive oil can be used to enhance vegetables, meats and baked dishes. Olive oil infused with lemon, garlic or other zingy ingredients is an excellent add-on for Indian salad dressings and marinades.
Flavored olive oils can be purchased at select outlets in the urban Indian markets. It is also possible to flavor olive oil at home. The simplest approach to home flavoring is the cold infusion approach. In this case, the flavoring ingredient is placed in a bottle or jar of plain olive oil for several hours.
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Renowned Indian chef and writer Sanjeev Kapur called the use of olive oil in Indian cooking a “no brainer.” In his latest book ‘Cooking with Olive Oil’ Kapur addressed the concerns of Indians regarding using olive oil as a cooking medium and he has shown how the most traditional Indian dishes can be made using olive oil with great results.