Best Cooking Oil – Buying Guide
Cooking oil remains the most important ingredient in Indian households for cooking dishes. From cooking your regular curry to making parathas, frying pooris, or preparing any other delicacy in the kitchen – the use of cooking oils in the Indian household is widespread.
Different kinds of oils are available throughout the markets that are marketed under various brand names. The kind of oil that you want to choose for regular use depends upon a variety of factors.
Different Types of Oils and Their Benefits
The use of cooking oils in India is not restricted to merely one kind. The markets are flooded with different varieties of oil.
These cooking oils come with different compositions in terms of their stability, smoke point, taste, properties, etc. Here are the four most common types of oils that are also touted as the healthiest ones:
You must have heard the mention of extra-virgin olive oil from the top chefs while preparing dishes in their kitchen. Olive oil is counted among the healthiest oils and comes with many benefits. This oil is rich in monounsaturated fats because of which it encourages heart health. Doctors usually recommend the maximum use of olive oil to heart patients as it also aids in the management of diabetes.
Sesame oil is rich in Vitamin B, Vitamin E, fiber, antioxidants, and various other important nutrients. The regular use of sesame oil is good for your overall health. As sesame happens to be a plant-based protein, its oil also promotes better digestion, bone health, and helps to ward off inflammation. Furthermore, the aroma of sesame oil makes your food smell heavenly.
Another type of cooking oil that smells heavenly and tastes amazing is peanut oil. Peanut is a rich source of protein and therefore its oil too comes with uncountable health benefits. The smoking point of peanut oil is very high. Thus, you can use it for deep frying your snacks. Peanut oil is a good alternative to soyabean oil or palm oil which are otherwise not so healthy for your family.
The richness of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the Canola oil makes it one of the healthiest oils to opt for your regular cooking sessions. Canola oil is good for heart health and it comes with a low saturated fat content. Thus, even when you are put on a special diet, you can use this oil for your good without feeling guilty. The subtle flavor and high smoking point of canola oil make it a go-to option in many modern kitchens.
The role of different oils for different types of cooking
You cannot use a single type of oil to fulfill all your cooking purposes. Different kinds of oils come with different properties. Thus, an oil that has a high smoking point cannot be used for dressing your salads and vice versa. It is therefore very important to understand the role of oils in your cooking experiments.
For example, if you want to use your oil for frying food, always choose an oil that comes with a high smoking point. The smoking point of the oil should not be less than 220-centigrade to offer the perfect frying of food. For this purpose, you must make the use of peanut oil, canola oil as well as sunflower oil as they all have higher smoking points.
On the contrary, if you want to dress your salads or any other dishes, it is important to choose the oil that is refined and light regarding its composition. In this case, choosing an oil with a high smoking point is a big no. Go for lighter versions or refined versions of oil such as extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, etc. Both these oils have antioxidants that protect your immune system without making you feel heavy. Coconut oil has a sweet subtle taste and it sure makes the best choice for dressing salads.
Refined oil also makes a perfect choice for baking and sauteing. As refined oil doesn’t have a high smoking point, you can use it generously to saute or bake your dishes. Refined oils don’t burn and therefore the food so cooked doesn’t give out a burnt aroma or tastes overcooked. You can explore from among the variety of refined oils such as safflower oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, etc. to bake and saute your food. When it comes to baking, canola oil makes a perfect choice.
Lastly, if you are looking forward to roasting your food, always choose olive oil to obtain the much-needed crispiness in your dish. Olive oil helps to maintain the unique flavor, crispiness, as well as aroma of the food even after roasting. Alternatively, you can use clarified butter or ghee to roast the food.
Pro tip – When you look at the contents of the oil while shopping, never choose an oil that comes with high saturated fat. This is because high saturated fats are directly linked to increased chances of heart diseases. You can always go for monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats as they fall on the healthier side of the line.
The use of raw ingredients
The composition of oils mainly includes legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, etc. Before buying any cooking oil for regular use, you must check for the quality of these ingredients. The quality of the ingredients directly affects the quality of food as well as your health.
The concept of organic oil has hit the market and a majority of people are following the same. Organic oils mainly include unadulterated ingredients. This means that these oils are made straight from farm-grown ingredients and they do not harm your health. Organic oils are a little costlier than the non-organic brands and experts suggest you to invest in the former as you must never compromise in terms of maintaining your health.
Furthermore, you can always rely upon the brand name of the product. A reputed brand would never dupe you. Do not opt for generic cooking oil as it is the unhealthiest version of cooking oil that you would ever come across. Always make sure that you shop from a reputed name to obtain the utmost health benefits.
The best cooking oil includes all the above-listed factors and it must tick every box when you shop for the same.