Friday, July 17, 2015

The oily truth

Last Tuesday's Good Food (Sydney Morning Herald) had a well-thought out piece comparing the different oils presented to us in the supermarket isle or health food debates. From the humble vegetable oil to the I-have-never-heard-of cotttonseed oil, the article discusses smoking points and nutritional content, dispelling some of my personal prejudices or ideas about certain oils.

So after digesting all the oily details, here is what I am thinking is my plan of fatty action:

Salad dressings, roasting winter vegetables, bruschetta drizzling, breakfast omelettes or scrambled eggs, pasta sauces Meditteranean/Middle Eastern (eg Yottam recipes) - Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) that has not been sitting in my cupboard for over 12 months and definitely sourced from Australia. Cobram is a decent brand stocked in Woolies but there are many other local olive oils found in the farmer's markets or health food shops.

The article suggests EVOO to be one of the healthiest oils and with a smoke point of 200-215 degrees making it suitable for roasting, cooking and baking.

Kerala cooking (vegetables, curries) - extra virgin coconut oil (can be found in independent grocers) and these are usually imported from Sri Lanka

Special event-luxurious Indian cooking like Biryani or melt-in-your-mouth Ghee biscuits (next to Gingerbread people in the picture) - Good ol' clarified butter (pure cow's Ghee).Love it for its flavour and have to ignore its high fat content (hee hee). The article did not discuss Ghee.

Chinese stir fries - Peanut oil (make sure none of your friends are allergic if its not the refined type)

Chinese cooking drizzles - Sesame oil (only a little and after cooking is over)

Malaysian cooking (nasi lemak sambal) - Rice bran oil is nice and neutral for this.

Baking - a good quality vegetable oil if the recipe calls for it. Its great for its neutral taste and gives the cake an unbelievable softness. While the article suggests its sweetness is good for cakes, I personally dislike using coconut oil in recipes (other than a coconut cake) because I find it overpowers the flavours of anything else in the cake).

Other dilemmas: Butter over margarine used in moderate portions feels more natural and less processed while in-season avocado for spreading on breakfast toast can't be beaten! (Interestingly, reading the ingredients list closer on most "spreads" in the butter/cheese supermarket isle will reveal even the most expensive olive oil spreads only contain about 20% of olive oil, the remaining being other plant or vegetable oils.) My choice of spreadable butter is Mainland Buttersoft (I believe its  a New Zealand product).

What oils won't I be using?

Macadamia and avocado as they are not budget-friendly.
Refined/Hydrogenated coconut oil (as opposed to extra virgin coconut oil),
Vegetable oil that has over 20% saturated fat per 100 grams
Re-using oil - oil should be not be re-used because its smoking point falls making it unfriendly to our bodies.

The greasy end

One thing is certain, oil makes our food palatable and delicious and choosing a healthy oil can certainly have some nutritional value.

PS. Fun fact -  Canola oil from the canola plant bred in Canada gets its name from the phrase "Canada oil low acid".

Thank you Good Food for some valuable information, looking forward to the next issue.

"Simple joys of meals, grateful am I indeed Never worry how next it comes But always hope for a delicious feed"

1 comment:

  1. Everytime i see EVOO, I think of the Mitsubishi EVO Series. Anyway, "smooth" summary of the article. So...when you cooking me something with the Mitsu...I mean EVOO oil??