` Olive Oil Finds Its Way in North India’s Kitchens - Olive Oil Times

Olive Oil Finds Its Way in North India’s Kitchens

Nov. 9, 2011
Vikas Vij

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Olive oil appears to be mak­ing inroads in the kitchens of one of the most mod­ern cities in North India, Chandigarh. The tra­di­tional break­fast meal in many North Indian house­holds is the paran­tha’. This is an Indian bread stuffed with pota­toes or other mashed veg­eta­bles, cooked in lib­eral quan­ti­ties of but­ter. However, an increas­ing con­scious­ness about weight con­trol and healthy cho­les­terol lev­els is encour­ag­ing many fam­i­lies to replace but­ter or refined cook­ing oils with olive oil.

Unable to con­sider cere­als and toast as a break­fast alter­na­tive, a major­ity of North Indians are keen to stick to the tra­di­tional fare, but with extra vir­gin olive oil as a health­ier option to other refined oils and but­ter. This switchover in the kitchens of Chandigarh is increas­ingly vis­i­ble. Ram Krishna, a gro­cery store owner in Chandigarh said, Earlier, there would be one odd request a week to stock on olive oil but now, I sell at least three to four litres in a day.”

The price of olive oil is rel­a­tively steep at Rs. 450 ($9) a liter, where as refined oil is avail­able at nearly one-third the price. However, the price does not seem to be a deter­rent for the house­holds in Chandigarh. Neha Mahajan, a kinder­garten teacher, said, It’s all about how you cook. Since I do all the cook­ing myself, a liter lasts us long, some­times all through the month.”

The chang­ing pref­er­ence towards food cooked in olive oil is reflected in the fact that Ankit Sharma, the Chef de Cuisine at JW Marriott’s new Indian restau­rant, Saffron, in Chandigarh has intro­duced olive oil based dishes. We use olive oil for stir-fries as guests are increas­ingly aware about its health ben­e­fits and also to show­case that Indian food can taste the same with less oil or health­ier alter­na­tives,” summed up Sharma.

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