PACK A PUNCH: Spices are a great way to inject flavour into food.
PACK A PUNCH: Spices are a great way to inject flavour into food. Cade Mooney

Ways to flavour food without oil or butter

MASTERCHEF may have instilled the idea that fat is flavour in many cooks' minds, but in truth there are many ways to inject a tasty hit into meals without adding oil or butter.

Ingredients such as herbs and spices as well as certain cooking methods can help ensure every mouthful is satisfying.

Emma Coutts, head chef at Warwick RSL Memorial Club, has shared her top tips for home cooks looking to add flavour without expanding their waistline.

1. Infuse flavours through steaming

Mrs Coutts suggested steaming fish or chicken alongside tasty ingredients to add flavour to the meat.

"At home you could wrap fish in paper and steam it with different herbs, you could do the same thing with chicken," she said.

Wrap the meat with salt, pepper, garlic, lemon, onion and herbs such as dill.

Place the parcels on a baking tray and place in the oven with a second tray on the bottom shelf that's filled with water.

2. Cook red meat on a super hot surface

Mrs Coutts did not recommend steaming red meat, but instead cooks could place the meat on a very hot non-stick pan or hot barbecue.

The intramuscular fat will act as a natural flavouring agent, and adding salt and pepper on both sides is a must.


"You can do that with the fattier cuts of meat, even pork or lamb cutlets as long as the pan is hot," Mrs Coutts said.

3. Use citrus in salad dressing

Oil is typically used as the base of salad dressings, but there are tasty ingredients that can be used as a substitute.

Mrs Coutts said a simple dressing of salt, pepper and citrus, such as lemon, lime or orange, would do the trick.

"You could also puree some shallots with some tomatoes, lemons and garlic and make a drizzle," she said.

4. Make the most of spices

Spices are nothing to be afraid of according to Mrs Coutts, they're all about having fun.

Nutmeg can be sprinkled on baked vegetables or seeded mustard smothered on roast beef.

"It gives the meat a nice flavour or even if you throw some mint on your roast lamb and mixed herbs on beef and pork," Mrs Coutts said.