Saturday, 25 February 2017

Mayonnaise 101 - the What, How & Why

Clean & Delicious Part 5 - Why you should never buy mayonnaise from markets. 

What do you mean by eating clean? ‘Clean’ and ‘calories’ are 2 different words with different meanings. Eating clean doesn’t mean cutting calories out of your daily food intake. Eating clean is trying to put in as much of raw nutrients in your meals, as you could afford to. Obviously a home grown salad with a hung curd dressing is an epitome of eating clean. But I am being ‘me’ in accepting that I can’t eat salad regularly as a meal. I love my roti and daliya far too much to let go completely. Even rice for that matter. I need it just once or twice a week, but I do need it.. So as I look at it- eating clean is an ambition that everyone needs to put forth for themselves, understanding their bodies and mind correctly.

I will take me as a case study; and write about the changes I have done in my life to achieve the clean eating goal. I am not saying that I am any expert in this field. But friends in general have always marvelled at the fact that you make ‘healthy’ so easy to understand that you should educate others on the same. I am just following that line of thought, hoping someone else gets benefitted from my blogging. After all, what use is knowledge if you can’t pass it on to others?
Rule 1- understand your body.
The first important task is to understand your own body. It’s a bit of a difficult process, but can be easily achieved by some thorough observation. How often do u get unwell? What is the most common problem? Ask a few of these relevant questions, and think about the answers. My biggest health problem has undoubtedly being BP related. Contrary to all my family members who have a problem of high Blood Pressure, I have extreme low BP, which at times effects my body a bit too much and leaves me weak and energy less. My shift from a seas side of Mumbai to the barren lands of Gurgaon hasn’t helped the situation at all. As my atmospheric salt levels have dropped, my body faces a salt imbalance which triggers such low blood pressure very often. So salt, sugar and caffeine are extremely important for my consumption. That’s why I cook with sugar, though low in quantity, but I don’t treat it as an enemy at all.

Rule 2 – making an accurate lifestyle assessment.
Understand your weaknesses. And make it a part of your lifestyle. These 2 statements are the most important things to remember. Don’t try to cut out something from your diet, it doesn’t help at all. Alternatively, try and find a balance with that ingredient in your diet. Negotiate with your taste buds. And keep that negotiation alive. If you like to indulge in sweets, then don’t restrain. Eat it right in the morning as your breakfast. And have nothing along with it. Find the balance where your body in itself rejects that ingredient of your choice. And trust me, it does take practice, but it isn’t impossible at all.

Rule 3 – restrict grocery shopping.
I am a spendthrift in a supermarket. Come with me to one of these places and you will see me going nuts at the jarred sauces, condiments, fresh fruits, vegetables, meats etc etc etc. I love to splurge every week on grocery. And with the advent of the more recent mobile apps, grocery shopping/browsing is the perfect time pass. I think mostly I was browsing the Big Basket app on my mobile, when the team called me to write about my experience on the site. Obviously I have been using the app for more than a few years, and I love it. The convenience of getting my grocery delivered at doorstep with trained professionals handling and portioning it, I ask what is there not to like? But while shopping for groceries, you as a consumer need to be careful. Read the ingredient list of any of those jarred or packaged products you are buying. A bottle of mayonnaise should contain just three pasteurized ingredients, as opposed to so many on the list below. All the words that sound a bit unknown to you, are bad for you. And going clean, would be to eliminate these chemical stabilizers and preservatives from your diet wholly and fully. I have done it. Even with a family and a start up to look after. I think you can too…

So empowered with the insights I got from my strawberry Jam ‘making and using’ recipes, I bring to you another breakfast staple of our homes, Mayonnaise. I am making the actual mayo from scratch. I did it 2 ways, one in a tiny food processor and the other in a bowl with a simple balloon whisk. Both results were remarkably similar but intrinsically different from that jarred stuff we buy from the markets. I have tweaked a classic recipe to suit my requirements better. When the French made mayonnaise, that time they didn’t know of any viral problems affecting poultry. Today we do, so completely uncooked and raw could pose some problems. So in my home I pasteurised the egg yolks, by using oil which was heated to the right temperature, and eggs that were bought really the day I made this sauce.

2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
3 egg yolks
A few drops of vinegar
A heaped tbsp. of mustard sauce, I added the Indian variety- ‘Kashundi’

In a small food processor, or a clean steel whisking bowl, add in the yolks, mustard sauce, and a pinch of salt, sugar and pepper. Blend it well to combine.

Add the vegetable oil to a small saucepan and heat it till the first little fumes permeate out of the surface of the oil. It should be just over the body temperature, but not so much that you can’t stick your finger into it without burning yourself. Pull it off the heat just then and there.

Once off the heat, whisk in the cool EVO to temper the oil and slightly cool it too.

Now slowly drip in the oil on your yolk mix, and whisk vigorously. You need to whisk nice and strong, without letting the hot oil sit on the yolk for over a second. If you do, then you may end up with scrambled eggs- tasty but not mayonnaise. So try to do this in a mixer which would help in emulsification better.

After the first 3 drips of hot oil, now pour in a tsp of white distilled vinegar and whizz away. You will see the emulsification happening instantly. Now you can pour in a bit more oil, without any fear of cooking at all.

Keep a few tasting spoons handy as you would mostly be required to taste as you go. Adjust salt sugar and vinegar upon your taste and keep whizzing till you get a gloopy mayonnaise.

This is my version of a classic French sauce. I made the French visit Kolkata and back. Kashundi is such a refreshing taste in this mayonnaise and adds lots of flavour. If you do another spin on this recipe, let me know in a comment below.

More than a recipe, it’s the technique which is important. We pasteurised our fresh egg yolks to eliminate possibility of any unwanted guests in our finished product. In the process, we actually make sure of giving our bodies the vegetable fat in a form which can be easily digested, rather than trying to digest a genetically modified oil in raw. Though I am not saying it is a healthy or clean habit to consume vegetable oil, but traditionally mayonnaise is made with vegetable oil only. Olive oil may become a bit too strong in flavour. And if you notice, it is 1/3 cup oil to 1 yolk ratio. It’s the emulsification which renders a creamy after product called mayonnaise. Try it once with EVO oil or coconut oil if you may and let me know how that turned out to you. If nothing, then just add a crushed garlic in to your olive oil mayonnaise and it should work as a flavour profile.

This can be refrigerated till 2 weeks in a clean glass jar. So make a batch as and when you need it by simply adding a few ingredients in a blender and whisking it all up together. The vinegar will help retain the freshness for a fortnight.

All of these items can be ordered fresh from Big Basket app. They deliver almost everywhere in India. If you are still not a big basketeer, then become one ASAP.


This post is brought to you in association with Big Basket. The recipe and picture are IP of the author herself. 

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