Oil is an essential ingredient in the kitchen. Even if you are an adherent of steamed dishes and are afraid of fried food like fire, manufacturers have long learned to make "vegetarian" counterparts to heavy cooking oils. Avocado, chamomile, rapeseed, coconut - and this is not the whole list of tempting alternatives. Of all the abundance, you can choose any, but keep in mind that the preparation method and properties of each oil are individual things. That is why it is very important to know exactly what dish to cook in what oil, so as not to leave yourself and loved ones without dinner. Our quick guide is here to help you.
How to choose cooking oil?
Before deciding on the type of oil, take into account three important parameters that will greatly facilitate the choice: burning point, taste and price. The so-called smoke point indicates the temperature at which the oil starts to burn. It is this indicator that determines the scope of application: for frying or as a salad dressing - this is indicated by the burning point. But even if you inadvertently fry the cutlets in oil that is not intended for this at all, you will immediately feel it by the unusual smell or, in the worst case, by the taste of the dish. In this regard, we remember: if we cook at a high temperature, we buy oil with a high burning point, for a low cooking temperature - exactly the opposite.
What and why?
However, chefs also recommend focusing on specific top lists of oils recommended for a particular cooking method. Here is the most convenient and complete - below:
- For salads: light olive, vegetable, extra virgin olive oil, rapeseed oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil, sunflower, sesame, hemp, nut oils;
- For baking: light olive oil, peanut, corn, coconut, vegetable, rapeseed, grape oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil;
- For frying: peanut, palm, corn, vegetable, rapeseed, grape oils, avocado oil;
- For the marinade: canola oil, sunflower oil, grape seed oil, peanut oil, olive oil, avocado oil;
- For easy roasting and heating: vegetable, grape, sesame, peanut, corn, sunflower, palm, rapeseed, coconut, light olive;
About the types of oils - in detail
1. Vegetable oil
This oil has a burning point of between 400 ° and 450 ° and is a great option for deep frying. It is classified as a neutral oil (it does not give off a side odor and a peculiar aftertaste): containing such ingredients as soybeans, sunflower seeds, rapeseed, sesame seeds, it helps to achieve a spicy crispy texture of the dish.
2. Canola oil (rapeseed oil)
This is another neutral oil that is great for baking, roasting, frying, moistening, and also great for salad dressing. The burning point of this oil reaches 400 °. Rapeseed itself is a plant variety that was bred in 1960 through artificial crossing. Attention: it is better to store rapeseed oil in a cold place and no longer than a year.
3. Olive oil
After temperature, the next most important criterion when choosing a cooking oil is taste. Some oils are great because they can add new flavor to a dish. Among them, the first place is occupied by olive - with a rich palette of flavors, textures and color characteristics. Extra virgin olive oil has one of the lowest burning points (starting at 325 °), while virgin oils and light olive oils start at 420 °.
4. Coconut oil
This oil remains solid at room temperature, so it is completely unsuitable as a salad dressing. Coconut oil is often used in baked goods because of its special flavor. Today, this product has become a regular in the beauty industry and is more often applied to the surface of the skin than it is used in the kitchen. But if you do decide to try it as a culinary base for baking, then remember that its burning point is 350 °.
5. Avocado oil
This type of oil is rich in healthy fats and has one of the highest burning points (also read: "The Aztec Fruit: Why Avocados Are Considered A Source Of Health And Beauty"). Just like canola oil, avocado oil should be stored in a cool, dark place. A huge bonus: It can be used for almost any cooking method, from baking to intense frying.
6. Hemp oil
But with this oil it is better to be careful: do not heat it too much and prefer to use it at the final stage of cooking. This is one of the few oils that should be refrigerated.
7. Palm oil
At room temperature, it has a semi-solid texture, but this does not prevent it from serving as an excellent base for all types of frying.
8. Peanut butter
Never use peanut butter for frying and limit yourself to buying a small amount of this product: firstly, you won't need much of it, and secondly, peanut butter spoils very quickly. In this case, less is better.
9. Corn oil
The best oil for making french fries at home is by far the best oil. It is also suitable for roasting cheese sticks, meatballs and other guilty pleasures.
10. Grape seed oil
Most often this type of oil is used for salads and vinaigrettes. It has a pleasant texture and does not overpower the taste and aroma of the herbs and spices you add to the bowl with the vegetables. We also recommend trying it in combination with grilled vegetables - an interesting duet for real gourmets.
11. Truffle oil
The taste and smell of a real truffle is very difficult to translate into other products based on this aromatic mushroom (read also: "At the highest level: the best recipes with truffles"). Moreover, truffle oil, which is often used in cooking as a seasoning, is most often made using a synthetic component, so it is quite difficult to find a high-quality oil based on real truffles, and it is not cheap.
But the game is definitely worth the candle: the spicy nutty notes of this oil, provided that you do purchase a quality product, can turn an everyday meal into a true gourmet pleasure. In cooking, truffle oil is used as an ingredient in salad dressings, sauces, baked goods, snacks and even soup seasoning. Be sure to try it with red fish and shrimp - with this combo the success of the dinner party is guaranteed.
How harmful is cooking with butter?
When you think about which fats are the safest, it comes down to general guidelines that have changed little over the past decade: unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are healthy alternatives, but saturated fats and trans fats are best avoided.
The World Health Organization emphasizes that the consumption of oils such as nut, rapeseed, olive, peanut, avocado (and others) is absolutely safe for health (the reason for this is healthy fats), but only if they are present in the diet in a reasonable amount. But what is a "reasonable amount" specifically for you - it is worth discussing with a nutritionist or nutritionist in order to fry and bake your favorite dishes without reproach.
Photo: Getty Images
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