Saturday, December 12, 2009

Who doesn't love butter?

In Subcontinental gastronomy, ghee (clarified butter) is considered to be a prize ingredients. In Ayurveda, it is revered as an elixir; credited with promoting physical beauty, health, vitality and longevity. It adds a rich flavor and a nutty aroma to food and basically makes any dish a better version of itself, as Julia Child would agree. However, sadly, in our age of information and education, we can't ignore the fact that saturated fats have a strong link to high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. Luckily, there are a number of delicious alternatives.
My basic choice is olive oil but I also use mustard and grape seed oil. Another favorite is coconut oil. This is again high in saturated fat, however, it has a number of health benefits and a high smoking point so useful for frying. Interestingly, civilizations that eat a diet rich in coconut oil have shown no significant incidence of cardiovascular disease.
All this being said, I still like to keep ghee in my diet as I believe in it's beneficial qualities and, like anything else in life, believe that balance is key. I incorporate it by adding a teaspoon to whatever oil I am using for the baghar/ tempering oil in the recipe.
A word of caution: heated oil should not allowed to smoke for a period of time. It is the point at which degradation of flavor and nutritional value begins. At first sign of this happening, add the ingredients and start cooking. Fumes inhaled from smoking oil are injurious and it is important to cook in a well-ventilated area.

No comments:

Post a Comment