Water-sautéing is the secret to healthy cooking. Don’t despair — you can still use oil — just put it on after cooking. Heating oil can oxidize it, which leads to toxicity. Also, once the oil heats beyond it’s smoking point, it becomes toxic. This varies oil to oil. Cooking with oil increases the fat content of the food and causes weight gain. And of course, the less oil you use, the better off for your arteries.
I cook with oil sparingly. The only things I cook with oil require it — pancakes, for example. All my stir “fries,” curries, soups, etc. — I water-sauté. This method doesn’t necessarily forsake oil; you can drizzle it on the end, forgoing the heating process, and losing you some weight while you’re at it.
I rarely even drizzle oil after cooking anymore, relying instead upon herbs, spices, lemon juice, coconut milk, and or nut butter sauces to take us on a trip to flavor country.
I start with 1 cup of water in a large skillet on medium-high heat. I add longer-cooking veggies first, like onions, ginger, and potatoes, covered. When a fork goes through easily, it’s done. Most veggies take 3-5 minutes.
I like to sauté beans and tofu for 5-10 minutes and tempeh 30+ minutes to really cook it through. Add Bragg aminos / sea salt / tamari toward the end of cooking, along with spices, and allow to marinate as the water cooks into the food.
Keep a cup of water next to the stove and an eye on the progress. Add a touch more if needed, stirring.