Say No To Oil, Try Hot Salt Frying Instead

Frying food in oil has long been a popular cooking method due to the crispy texture and delicious flavour it imparts to various dishes. However, research has highlighted the potential health risks associated with consuming fried foods regularly. Fortunately, there is an alternative cooking technique that offers similar results while being healthier: cooking food in salt. This method not only eliminates the need for excessive oil but also introduces a range of benefits that enhance the taste, texture, and overall nutritional value of the prepared dishes.

Hot salt frying is a cooking technique that has been commonly used in India for centuries and is also popular in countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, China and Sri Lanka. It’s often seen at roadside stalls where vendors use the technique to make puffed rice for dishes like Muri, or to heat peanuts and chickpeas as a warm winter snack. It involves heating a thick layer of salt in a kadhai or wok until it becomes extremely hot and then laying the various food items directly on the salt. Although it should be noted that this method only works for dried items, not for things that need to be battered or crumbed, it’s worth it for the distinct flavour and health benefits.

How Does Hot Salt Frying Work?

The process of hot salt frying begins by heating the salt over a medium-high flame until it reaches a high temperature. The salt acts as a natural heat conductor, distributing the heat evenly across the cooking surface. One of the significant benefits of hot salt frying is that it requires minimal oil. The heated salt creates a non-stick surface, reducing the need for excessive oil or fat for frying. This makes it a healthier cooking method as compared to deep-frying or pan-frying, where larger amounts of oil are typically used. By minimising the oil content, hot salt frying helps to reduce overall calorie intake and the associated health risks.

What Are The Benefits Of Frying In Salt?

Hot salt frying helps to retain the natural flavours and textures of the food. The intense heat quickly sears the outer layer, sealing in moisture and preserving the inherent taste of the ingredients. This results in dishes that are both flavorful and succulent.

Additionally, the hot salt used in this cooking technique provides trace minerals to the food. Salt is a rich source of essential minerals like iodine, magnesium, and potassium, which are necessary for various bodily functions. When food is cooked on a layer of hot salt, these minerals can be absorbed by the ingredients, adding nutritional value to the meal.

Hot salt frying is also a quick and efficient cooking method. The high heat of the salt allows for rapid cooking, reducing the cooking time significantly. This is particularly advantageous when preparing dishes with time-sensitive ingredients, such as seafood or delicate vegetables. The short cooking duration helps to retain the nutrients in the food, making it a healthier choice overall.

It is important to note that while hot salt frying offers several health benefits, moderation is key. Excessive consumption of salt can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure. Therefore, it is recommended to use hot salt frying as an occasional cooking technique and to balance it with a well-rounded, varied diet. But when practised in moderation, this technique can be a delicious and nutritious addition to a well-balanced diet.