Thursday, January 22, 2009
Lets enlighten ourselves with a short lesson in the healthy fat we have been blessed with.
The Fat Choices
What kind of cooking oil do you commonly use? Lemme guess if you are from the Mediterranean or Middle east, most probably you'd be using the healthiest oil of all, the one and only ,the Olive oil.As for the majority of others, the vegetable oils like peanut or sunflower or corn or canola ,occasionally coconut or sesame or soy bean or Palm oil are known as the only good cooking oil or rather easily available and affordable.In my quest for the best kind of cooking oil in terms of health benefits and flavor ,the Olive oil emerges as the ultimate winner.
The Divine oil
The Olive oil has been around for thousands of years.Olive oil was sacred to Prophets Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad(peace be upon them).Its sacredness and good health benefits is mentioned several times in the Holy books.
Get the facts
A look at the nutrition facts of olive oil verses the common cooking oil,its clear what separates the Olive oil from the rest is the high content Mono saturated and Poly saturated fats,an absolute essential for heart and skin health,reducing risk of cancers ,controlling inflammatory conditions like arthritis and asthma .Other good sources of these good fats are rapeseed oil , hazelnuts and almonds.
How did I discover the liquid gold?
Born and brought in a place where Olive oil was a luxury ,used only for massaging or beautifying ,a far cry from regular cooking oil,I was blissfully naive about the wonder oil . The timely move to US and my son's diagnosis with asthma and the hunt for nature's best foods finally lead me to the marvel. And thankfully for those us living in US, even though pricier than vegetable oil ,the Olive oil is available in abundance.
Which Kind Of Olive oil to chose?
Olive oil is sold in different varieties,Extra Virgin,Virgin or light, depending how is processed.The best kind is the extra virgin olive oil aka EVOO,which is processed without any chemicals and also in higher in Vitamin E(the anti-oxidant vitamin).And beware of the cheaper brands,they could be adulterated with vegetable oil.
Make the Change
Do not alienate this nature's best food if its readily available in your stores.For starters ,who are used to cooking with mildly flavored oils,mix it with your usual vegetable oil and slowly make the transition for insuring your family's good health,more importantly for those with(or under the risk) heart disease or common inflammatory conditions like arthritis,diabetes,cancer,allergies,asthma to name a few.I personally buy both vegetable and olive oil ,use half and half in most of the recipes except for deep frying.
How much is sufficient?
If its super healthy,doesn't imply one can drink it cup-a-day to get the extra benefits.Nope even olive oil in excess in not good,consumption of about 2 tablespoon of extra virgin oil a day is sufficient for adults.
Cooking with Olive oil.
Olive oil has lower smoking point and also loses its nutrients when heated to high temperature.Hence its ideal in salads,stir fries and shallow frying.
Olive oil,the Skin nourisher
The ancient oil with richness of vitamin E is not uncommon in beauty products.
A head to toe body massage with olive oil before bath is best way to pamper your skin and hair, linked with reducing hair loss and wrinkles.
Also read this interesting post about how olives are harvested,in the own words of the Mediterranean blogger(Organically Cooked) living in the Olive haven,Crete(Greece),which happens to be the world's largest exporter of Extra Virgin Olive oil.
Recipe Chickpeas Corn Vada
OK,I'm starving ! lets get to the spicy snack of the day with wholesome chickpeas and corn.
1 cup corn kernels,fresh or frozen,if using frozen ,thaw
and squeeze out excess water.
1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas,drain all water
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ginger,grated
2 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons chick pea flour(besan)
3 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive oil,little more if shallow frying
Process the corn in a food processor or blender until coarsely chopped.Now add in rest of the ingredient except oil and flour and process some more until ingredients are well combined. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix in the chick pea flour.
Preheat Oven to 350F.
Line the baking sheet with an aluminum foil,drizzle 2 tablespoon of oil all over.The mixture is going to be sticky to work with,so lightly grease your hands with oil and take spoonful of the mixture and gently press on your palm to form a patty.Lay them in the lined baking sheet,placing them in rows about an inch apart.Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown,for a crisp topping,now turn the oven mode to broil and let cook for another minute or two for crispier vadas.
To Shallow fry
Heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in large non stick pan on medium heat.Shape the patties just like above and gently lay in the heated oil,let cook for 4-5 minutes before flipping and cooking for another 3-4 minutes until golden brown .Fry in 2-3 batches.Serve warm with your favorite beverage.
Also check out Anudivya's HealthyBaked Masala vadai ,she uses the uncooked Channa dal(Split bengal gram/lentil) instead of cooked chickpeas and corn, I'll try those crispy fritters for next time I'm in mood to bake my vadai.
The Chickpea corn vadas are in for the JFI :Chickpeas and FIC: Yellow. events.
The refreshing Lemonade award
Lovely bloggers Navita,Arundati,Varsha,Ann and Hema have presented me the Refreshing Lemonade award.Thanks dearies,I'm delighted:)
I pass this to all the zesty food bloggers who take time to visit my blog and leave the nice comments ,please accept this token of appreciation,you really refresh my day with your presence:)