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How to choose the right cooking oil

Our grocery shopping list usually has products that we’re used to. We buy what we know. We don’t often think a lot about what actually goes into the products that we use to cook. A decision like ‘which oil to cook with’ doesn’t usually cross our minds. But this year, people started cooking at home more and started to look at grocery shopping differently. So. How does one actually pick the right ingredients, for the right recipe that’ll give you the right taste? 

Oil is a basic ingredient that you cook almost everything with. Usually, the less you can taste the oil in your food, the better the oil is. You can make almost any dish by choosing any oil on the market. But what constitutes the flavour of these oils and how it affects the taste of the dish is key. Choosing the right cooking oil can enhance a nutritious dish, but the wrong one can totally ruin it or burn too high. Different oils produce different results depending on what you actually do, to the dish. Oil reacts differently to baking, broiling, grilling, roast and frying. Knowing the difference and understanding the components of the oil can absolutely transform your cooking. 

The choice of oil depends on a few contributing factors, according to experts. There are different types of oils that can be used in different ways. To understand how to make the choice, you need to look a little deeper into how all these oils are different or similar. These factors will help you to decide what type of oils to buy for home cooking. 

  1. Oil Stability

The first thing to consider is the stability of the cooking oil. Good quality oils remain stable, even at high temperatures, thus allowing the food to be cooked evenly. How quickly and easily the oil oxidises, meaning how it reacts to oxygen to form free radicals determines the stability of all cooking oils. The relative degree of saturation of the fatty acids present in the oils determines the oxidation of the oil. There are three basic types of saturated fats. 

  1. Saturated Fatty acids – found in coconut oil,  butter and ghee, ideal for deep frying
  2. Monounsaturated Fatty acids – Found in  peanut oil, sesame oil and olive oil can’t sustain high heat cooking, making it perfect for baking 
  3. Polyunsaturated Fatty acids – Found in rice bran oil and sunflower oil, perfect for high heat, making it ideal for daily cooking
  4. Smoke Point of the Oil

The second thing to consider when choosing an oil is the smoke point of the oil. The smoke point is literally the temperature at which the oil stops heating naturally and starts burning. Also known as the burning point, when oil reaches that temperature bluish flames start appearing on the surface. The highest smoke point is found in the most stable oils. Once the oil reaches its smoke point, it doesn’t still retain its nutrients, hence it’s important to pick a stable oil so it can sustain the cooking without ever reaching a smoke point because the stability decides the smoke point. For example, Rice Bran oil is a type of oil that is known to have one of the highest smoke points of any other oil available, making it an excellent choice for household cooking. 

  1. Refined vs. Unrefined Oils 

The next thing to consider is whether the oil is refined or not. 

Non-refined cooking oils are oils that are found in their exact natural state. Through a process of some mechanics, they are extracted from the plant itself and left undisturbed, as is, to preserve them in an untouched state. These natural oils have lower smoke points and can be used for baking, for the most part. Mustard oil, for instance, is an unrefined oil that can be used for sauteing food that needs to be cooked slow and low. 

On the other hand, refined cooking oils undergo a very intensive and long process that involves some degree of mechanical and chemical processes. As a result, it is ideal for cooking at any temperature.

  1. Fortified Oils

Fortification adds nutritional value like adding vitamins and minerals to the cooking oils, making them healthier and more useful than their counterparts. This makes it the perfect selection for daily use because it can withstand heat and it’s good for you. 

There are several different things to consider when buying a cooking oil for your household, as mentioned above. More importantly, it’s about finding a product that is affordable, accessible and that has your nutritional health covered. One such oil is Emami’s New Healthy & Tasty Smart Balance Oil which is India’s first cooking oil with 5 immunity-boosting nutrients. This oil is a blended edible oil with 75% Refined Soyabean Oil & 25% Refined Rice Bran Oil. This oil has immunity-boosting nutrients like vitamin A, C, D, E and omega 3. It cooks well with EVERYTHING because it is colourless and odourless. The vitamins and nutrient content alone is enough to make it a top pick for your kitchen. Vitamin A & D are known to help strengthen immunity. Vitamin C is known to help fight cold symptoms. Omega 3 is known to help maintain normal blood Cholesterol. Vitamin C & E help improve antioxidant levels, which in turn help your immunity function the way it is supposed to. 

You now know so much about oils! The decision rests only with you. Choosing the right oil goes a long way in making sure your family is eating food with the best quality ingredients and now you can be assured of that. 

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