The Cooking Oil Crisis
Whether crude oil or cooking oil, less the better. While reduced consumption of crude oil leads to a healthier environment, reduced consumption of cooking oil leads to a healthier person. As home care begins, I thought it appropriate to address cooking oil concerns and leave crude oil to executives for now. I’m not a doctor or nutritionist or nutritionist who usually gives advice that, in most cases, is easier said than followed. I have an even more important position as my family’s chef and a large part of my family’s health is my responsibility.
As much as one may say, fat is not good, but some fats are essential for the body. It is also said that you need fat in order to metabolize (burn) fat. The “good” fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, while “bad” fats are saturated fats and trans fats. While fats should always be consumed in moderation, the latter are best avoided. For your shopping basket, this means that oils like olive oil, rapeseed oil (also marketed as rapeseed oil in the UK), peanut oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil and flaxseed oil are considered healthier options than other oils, mainly because of their high polyunsaturated and monounsaturated content unsaturated fatty acids.
However, olive oil is quite expensive and for this reason. Canola is sometimes thought of as poor man’s olive oil. It is important to remember that oil properties change with temperature and oils that are good at room temperature produce harmful toxins when heated. Olive oil is not considered very good for cooking at high temperatures for this reason. I use rapeseed for regular cooking and once tried deep frying but the food smelled more like fish. Then I realized that canola isn’t generally suitable for frying either. My choice is canola for normal cooking and peanut oil for deep frying. If you have a nut allergy, sunflower oil is also a good option. Coconut oil is generally considered unhealthy due to its high saturated fat content, but this is controversial. Now that I understand which oil is better, here are some everyday tips I follow to reduce oil intake.
1. Instead of pouring from a bottle, use a spoon so you know how much you’re adding. Once I started using this, I found that I felt uncomfortable every time I exceeded two teaspoons, when I would have liked to have added that amount before measuring.
2. Understand why oil is needed. Only for tempering or for roasting or deep-frying? The amount of oil and cooking temperature will vary depending on what you need the oil for. Some say that stir-fries should be made close to the smoke point of oil, but we know that heating oil in bulk isn’t very good for your health. Some dishes like Indian pickles are quite dependent on oil and just need a lot of it, but there are other dishes that use oil to ‘enhance’ the flavor and texture that can very well be compromised.
3. Don’t estimate how much oil will be needed to cook a dish, add the oil gradually. I’ve seen Spanish aubergines sometimes cook easily in very little oil, while sometimes I have to dump vast amounts of oil to make them edible. Go with the flow.
4. Try to let the food cook in its own moisture. Add some salt so the vegetables will drain their water and cook inside. Alternatively, frequently sprinkle in water instead of adding oil. For some dishes I sprinkle tamarind water so it enhances the flavor of the dish and also reduces oil.
5. I’m no saint and I’m not saying I can always resist chips and other fried foods. One should keep the consumption of such dishes occasional and minimal. Also, on those indulgent days, try to reduce fat intake in other meals so that dietary balance can be maintained.
As I said, I am the chef and practitioner of all the above tips. I try to take some time to share my recipes (including low-fat, healthy, vegan, and indulgent recipes) on my food blog. Eat healthy and enjoy life!
Thanks to Veena S