You will notice that many of the recipes which involve frying off spices, particularly the Indian recipes, involve a large quantity of oil.
Despite your health-conscious instincts, please do not cut down on the quantity of oil! It is essential to release and carry the flavours of the spices. Once cooked, any excess oil will float to the surface and can be skimmed off. Alternatively, use an oil which is low in saturates and high in polyunsaturates, such as rapeseed oil