Is home cooked food necessarily better?

11:52 AM

Recently a fellow blogger posted picture of “Palak Murgh” (Spinach Chicken) that they ordered as take out from a restaurant to just show how unhealthy Indian food can be…the picture is revolting enough, have a look.
This picture would prove the media just about right on how unhealthy eating food from outside can be, since the witch hunt is on on junk food, restaurant food and canteen food in most urban area in the country, fit is the new mantra, fibre the spear point that should lead the battle against flabby waist and high BMIs, TV is out, treadmill is in, Ghar ka Khana shall rule!

Or really? I mean that depends what your home cooked food looks like, for us the maid cooks DH’s meals because he likes his North Indian food so much nothing else will do in his tiffin, I for myself prefer a diversified menu on my plate and the same old dal/sabzi/roti just gets depressing, even if my maid cooks well.
The only flaw my maid has, is in her oil usage, no matter how many time we told her to go easy on the oil we end up with something always looking like this:



This was yesterday’s chicken, no question the spices were well balanced and the dish yummy, but look at the amount of oil that floated back to the surface! this is a chicken dish, but let me assure you that vegetables and even dal all receive the same treatment.
I generally don’t eat her food more than twice a week, and tend to avoid eating in the evening as much as possible. She keeps wondering about my eating habits, to her a diet of grilled meat, salads and no dinner past 8pm is not enough. Since the beginning she keeps asking for us to buy ghee, because chapatti, paratha, and idli all are much tastier with it, and I have put my foot down on that one, because I know that should I allow ghee to enter my kitchen she will pour generous dollop of it on every dish in order to make them “tastier”, the way the one time we bought green chillies for one specific dish we found ourselves almost wanting to call the fire department for a week afterward because she decided all our veggies and dal dishes needed green chillies in excess, and she just couldn’t get that in our couple DH is the one who tolerate the spices the least, he often find food I consider ok too spicy, after all he is the Indian in the house, so he should be the one loving the heat.
My maid is of that large section of the population that think oil brings flavour to a dish, and that food should be tasty, she wants us to eat only tasty food, beat herself if the dish turns out to be not all up to her standard in the end despite my liking it (she thinks I’m too nice to say her cooking was bad on these days).

So all in all, yes restaurant food might not be healthy, a lot of salt and starch are used in it, and yup oil, but that doesn’t mean that all the stuff cooked from scratch in your own kitchen is by default healthier. An oily dish is an oily dish regardless of where it comes from, and I bet a freshly tossed  salad with a side of garlic bread in a restaurant still is far healthier than the chicken dish I had in my kadai last night. 


  1. Hi Cyn, like you, I prefer to cook my own grilled chicken, salads and vegetables. I find the ridiculous amount of oil in the food and on the breads way too much for stomach to endure. I end up feeling bloated and sick and prefer to stick with simple foods.

  2. I got an interesting comment on that blog about how the oil was added like this in North India as a way of preserving food. Interesting concept that could be true. Doesn't make me want to eat it though lol. I'm like you, I love my grilled foods and I had much rather taste the food than oil.

  3. I still remember when I was living on my own in Switzerland, a one litre bottle of oil would last me 3-4 months, that's about how much oil I used for my cooking, when I was cooking Indian food myself before Ishita was born, a one litre bottle barely lasted a month, now with the maid cooking it lasts about a week!

  4. Kristy, I read the comment, makes sense, afterall in Europe fruits and herbs were preserved that way, but as you said, don't make me want to eat it! beside in Europe fruits and herbs were preserved raw, and people didn't drink the oil along with the content, the oil was used as a seasoning oil, I think my grand ma did a few fruit oil preserves in the days.

  5. Also the way indian food is cooked is fine if you have an active lifestyle, I mean field labourer burn the calories, my maid probably burns the fat too working as she does, but a big chunk of today's urban dwellers in India have a very sendentary lifestyle and such a diet should be discontinued because it's a killer.


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