You already know that olive, peanut, sesame and other poly and monounsaturated oils are heart protective, indeed offer multiple health benefits. But what good is that knowledge if you do not know how to use these wonderful oils in cooking? Here, we give you a few guidelines. Just remember, even health oils contain lots of calories so use them sparingly – not more than three teaspoons a day.
Mustard and Rapeseed (Canola) Oil: These work well in salad dressings, plus can withstand higher cooking temperatures before they begin to smoke. Canola oil has a more neutral taste than does mustard oil and also includes a moderate amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is the plant version of omega-3 fatty acid. Because of its mild flavour, canola can be substituted for ghee in malpuas, gajjar halwas and panjiri although you won't get the rich taste of desi ghee. But what you lose in taste you gain in health benefits.
Myth: Canola oil is toxic
Ignore those scary rumours about canola oil that continue to circulate. The oil is not toxic, not does it cause everything from heart disease to multiple sclerosis. It comes from a special type of rapeseed plant bred since the 1970s to remove any toxic components. The US FDA and other agencies all agree that canola oil has no adverse effects. In fact, far from causing coronary artery disease, the oil is rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fat – notably alpha-lionlenic acid (an omega-3 fat).
Peanut and Sesame Oil
These are great stir-fry oils, as they have high smoke points and they give your stir-fry a nutty flavour especially dark sesame oil. It's good for pickles too. Both peanut (groundnut) and sesame oils are high in monounsaturated fats.
Peanut oil is good for cooking because it doesn't absorb or transfer flavours. Its smoking point is slightly lower than corn or safflower oil. You can use it in sabzis also.
This is an excellent all purpose oil. It stores well and may be used instead of seasame or corn oil. It is non fragrant, neutral, and non greasy.
Rich in monounsaturated fats and beneficial antioxidants. Best for sautéing, stir-frying, and for spritzing on salads. Try stir fried pepper chicken. Because of its rich flavours, olive oil may impart its own aroma into the dish, so it's best avoided typical spicy curries. Choose brands that say refined, cold-pressed – a process of extraction that does not involve heat. This type of olive oil contains lower acidity.
High in polyunsaturated fats. Use in aloo methi, cabbage, bitter gourd, and other side dishes.
Nearly flavourless and colourless, this oil makes an appealing salad dressing ingredient because it doesn't solidify when chilled. It also has a high smoke point and can be used when cooking at high temperatures. Look for safflower that specifies it is high in oleic acid, which indicates it is higher in monounsaturated, heart-healthy fat.
Walnut and Flaxseed Oil
Both are high in ALA omega-3 fatty acids, but they don't heat well. They're best used for salad dressings, light sautéing.
Rice Bran Oil
This is a relatively new entrant in the cooking oil segment. Oryzanol present in this oil has been shown to have cholesterol-lowering properties. Rice bran oil is suitable for high temperature cooking, so it can qualify as a good oil for Pakistani cooking. You can fry fish and chicken, and even use it in baking.
|HEALTH AND FITNESS