Most of our readers are already aware of the fact that olive oil and sesame oil, along with other poly and monosaturated oils are heart protective and offer multiple health benefits. But what good is that knowledge if you don’t know how to use it in your daily day-to-day cooking? We give you a few guidelines…
P.S: While these oils are healthy, they are loaded with calories too, so use them sparingly; no more than 2 tablespoons 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 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 best substituted for ghee in maalpuha, gajjar ka hakwa and panjiri. Although you won’t get the rich ghee taste you will gain health benefits too! Other dishes that do well with this oil are Rogangjosh and Biryani.
Rich in monosaturated fats and beneficial antioxidants, olive oil is best for sauteing, stir frying and for spritzing on salads. Try stir fried pepper chicken, paneer ki khurchan with it! Contrary to popular belief, olive oil goes perfectly well with Indian curries. The strong spices we use do a good job of covering up the oil’s tangy flavour, while letting it add its goodness and heart-health properties to Indian cuisine.
Choose brands that say refined, cold-pressed (a process of extraction that does not involve heat). This type is lower in acidity.
Nearly flavourless and colourless, this oil makes an appealing salad dressing ingredient because it doesn’t solidify when chilled (olive oil is a great oil for salads too). It also has a high smoke point and can be used when cooking at high temperatures for long durations.
Look for safflower oil that specifies that it is high in oleic acid, which indicates that it is higher in monosaturated, heart-healthy fats.
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 peanuts and sesame oils are high in monosaturated 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 traditional Indian vegetarian dishes.
Walnut and flaxseed oil
Both are high in ALA omega-3 fatty acids, but they don’t heat well. They are best used for salad dressings and light sauteing.
This is a good option for most Indian dishes. It may be used instead of sesame or corn oil. It is non-fragrant, neutral and non greasy. However, sunflower oil does not have the same heart-health benefits as olive oil, since it is more processed and tends to have a higher calorie count.
Rice bran oil
This is a relatively new entrant in the cooking oil segment in India. Oryzanol present in this oil has been shown to have cholesterol lowering properties. It is suitable for high temperature cooking, so it can qualify as good for Indian cooking.
Fish, chicken and baked cookies will turn out well with this oil.
High in polyunsaturated fats, it works best in aaloo methi, gobhi, karela and other side dishes