In a town where people follow traditional cooking methods involving lavish use of saturated fats, a cardiologist and a team of chefs whipped up appetising dishes without using a single drop of oil.
The occasion was a health camp here Nov 2-4 to promote a healthy diet for the prevention of heart disease.
"There is no need for oil in food items. Nature has given the required percentage of oil in each vegetable that a human body requires," said cardiologist Bimal Chhajer, a former consultant at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi.
"Out of five people, one is a heart patient now. The ratio would soon be 4:1. People should ban oil from their daily lives. It is not that one can't have tasty foods without oil. No oil intake keeps the body easily movable and stress-free," he added.
To prove the point, a team of chefs served more than 100 vegetarian items to about 200 participants and guests at the camp at Balasore, 200 km from the state capital.
"We cooked a variety of foods including yellow dal, mixed vegetable, kumda, tomato kadi, chowmein, mirchi lunji, samosa, suji halwa and mithai. This apart, we can cook more than 200 items but all are vegetarian items," said chief chef Narasingh Maharaj.
"A number of Chinese items can be prepared without oil. Sweets like jalebi, bundi ladoo and rasagulla can also be prepared. While we prepare samosa in an oven, hot water is used for the jalebi and bundi," said chef Sibu Ray.