Top of the shops – Cooking OilJul 27, 2017
Top of the Shops
Who doesn’t love lists? And most importantly, lists of useful tips that you can apply when food shopping?
Cooking with fat needn’t always be a sordid guilt-ridden deep-fried affair. The type of fat you use can affect the taste of the dish, depending on the source, and nutritional content through providing important saturated (yes, you heard right!) and unsaturated fats of different kinds.
The oils are presented in order of their smoke point; the higher up the list, the more cooking options you can use it for.
- Ghee – Vegetarian – 450°F/230°C
Derived from milk and used heavily in Indian dishes, don’t let that stop you from trying it out when sautéing your veggies or making omelettes. Providing mostly saturated fat, the type of milk used also affects the quantities of poly and mono unsaturated fats in it – always go for brands derived from grass-fed, organic milk, or trying making your own!
- Peanut Oil – Vegan – 450°F/230°C
A great favourite with Chinese dishes, it adds a grainy and nutty flavour to dishes, so it’s best used in stir fries. It also contributes a significant amount of polyunsaturated fats! Depending on the process the oil go through, people with peanut allergies may be able to partake in it safely if all the allergen proteins are removed, but it’s best to avoid for serious sufferers.
- Canola Oil – Vegan – 400°F/205°C
Getting a bad rap for a long time, it’s now making a comeback as a decent source of poly- and mono-unsaturated fats, with almost no saturated fats. Best used for frying, although watch out for repeat use of the same batch, to make sure that the fats don’t degrade and turn dangerous.
- Beef Tallow – Non-vegetarian; Paleo – 400°F/205°C
While it needs a bit of processing at home to get the fat out from the animal parts, tallow as a solid fat is fast being seen as a nutritious alternative to margarine and shortening, that stays stable through high heat cooking and provides fats into the diet that are not as damaging as trans fats found in processed solid fats. Shallow frying a protein in this fat or using it as a Paleo spread alternative to butter will be an easy way to add it to your diet.
- Virgin Avocado Oil – Vegan – 375-400°F/190-205°C
Avocado oil is good for the skin as well as cooking! It provides a high amount of vitamin E and its fat content is mostly monounsaturated, so it’s a good choice for salad dressings and to drizzle on dishes.
- Duck Fat – Non-vegetarian; Paleo – 375°F/190°C
Chosen for its unique flavour, ties to the history of fried potatoes and decent provision of monounsaturated fatty acids, duck fat has been used in cooking to provide paleo eating enthusiasts with dishes that have a silky mouth feel, propensity for deep browning and delicate savory flavour.
- Leaf lard – Non-vegetarian; Paleo – 370°F/185°C
Leaf lard is considered the highest grade of lard because it has minimal pork flavour, and is sourced from the visceral fat deposit surrounding the kidney and loin. Lard is an incredibly versatile fat, which can be used for roasting vegetables, as it leaves the vegetables crisp, surprising people who prefer to use olive oil.
- Coconut Oil – Vegan; Paleo – 350°F/175°C
If you don’t like the taste of coconut at all, even the oil is no help, as it leaves a strong taste of coconut in anything it is used in. But if you can be strong and overcome, you will be rewarded with consuming a rare but viable source of lauric acid, a medium chain saturated fatty acid that is used almost immediately for energy when consumed, leaving less to be stored in the body as excess fat.
- Butter – Vegetarian – 350°F/175°C
Perfect for baked goods and adding flavour to steamed veggies and sauces, butter is seen as a delicious sin, but can really be healthy depending on the milk it is made from. Butter, when sourced from free-range grass-fed cows, is full of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid with strong links to reducing cancer when consumed in decent amounts.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Vegan – 325-375°F/165-190°C
Truly speaking, olive oil should be used for dips, salad dressings and to drizzle in cold dishes, but in dishes with a short cooking time, olive oil can be substituted in to provide omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, which is beneficial for hair and skin health, as well as its anti-inflammatory properties.