We love Pakistani food— it is rich, spiced with diverse flavours and packs a punch. But the stereotype that it can be oily is also very much true.
In a local household, layers of fat equate to high taste quotient; a plate of nihari appears lackluster without some sheen atop and slow-cooked, earthy daal, the ultimate Pakistani comfort food, got nothing on a simmering, oil-based lassan ka tarka.
Unsurprisingly, we are the same people who are constantly Googling shortcuts to lose a pot belly.
Exactly how many times have we been told to eliminate oil from our diet altogether to shed a few pounds? Edible oils are commonly dubbed unhealthy, fattening and low in nutritional value but is it really that easy to cut them off?
Living in an age where lots of information runs rampant and health consciousness is on the rise, we think a little clarification is in order.
Here are us debunking top 5 edible oil-related myths to help dissect our love-hate relationship with cooking oils and maybe make things a little less complicated:
Myth no.1: Oil is unhealthy and makes one fat
Oils are basically fats and while fats are generally deemed unhealthy and dangerous fatteners, in truth, they are an indispensable part of our diet alongside carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, and water.
Among their many functions, the vital ones include fats as an essential source of body energy, they support cell growth, help protect organs and keep us warm.
Since fats are such a crucial nutrient, the overall goal for healthy eating should not be to go completely oil-free but reduce the amount consumed. Yep, those parathas would taste just as good with a little less oil!
However, the quality of the oil is the most important factor; it is important the oil in use is cholesterol and transfat free and contains polyunsaturated fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6 which are regarded as essentials for our body.
Since our body cannot produce them on its own, it’s advisable to opt for vegetable oils like Eva Cooking oil which not only keeps one’s heart health in check but also keeps the food taste intact to keep the Pakistani taste buds satisfied.
Myth no.2: Every oil is suitable for frying
It’s drizzling and pakoras can’t wait?
You might want to ensure you’re frying in the right oil first.
Whether oil is suitable for frying depends on its type and production process – the resulting fatty acid composition determines the smoke point of the respective oil.
When oil is heated beyond its smoke point, the fat content starts to break and produces smoke.
So, edible oil for frying must be heat-resistant and able to withstand high temperatures.
For deep-frying, it is recommended to use Eva Sunflower oil, as not only it boosts immunity and is heart-friendly, it can also withstand frying temperatures of almost 440° F, making it a befitting choice for guilt-free frying.
Now bring on the pakoras!
Myth no. 3: Reusing oil multiple times is not dangerous for health
Oil prices might be skyrocketing but it’s still not a good excuse to reuse an oil, again and again, ammi ji.
Irrespective of the type of oil used and its cooking purpose (frying, sautéing, etc), reusing cooking oil several times is not a safe practice. Unfortunately, people still tend to do it before disposing of it.
It’s unadvisable because burning the same oil, again and again, creates free radicals, which in turn may cause cancer. In addition, overheating and repeated heating of cooking oil is detrimental for health as it causes issues like acidity, heart diseases, irritable throat, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Trust us, disposing of any cooking oil after one or two uses would definitely save you a lot of money on hospital bills.
Myth no. 4: Frying in olive oil instead of cooking oil is good for health
Love yourself some fried fish but only cook it in olive oil? We’re looking at you, clean-eaters.
While olive oil is deemed good for heart health thanks to the generous amount of omega 3 fatty acids present, it is still unsuitable for frying purposes. You may use it on hummus or as a salad dressing but fish frying is a no-no.
This is because olive oil has a low smoke point; since it starts breaking down beyond this point, it is not considered suitable for frying. As an alternative, vegetable oil like Eva Canola oil can be used for deep and shallow frying and sautéing, as they are healthier choices and have a higher smoke point too.
Myth no. 5: The oilier, the tastier
As aforementioned, the South Asians’ affair with everything oily goes way back. Men in the family are often seen requesting for an extra layer of gold on top for added flavor and it is believed the moisture brings out the best in the dishes.
The fact is using more oil to cook causes the food to overcook and lose a lot of nutrients. What’s more, is that consuming oily food daily increases the risk of health complications.
When it comes to cooking with oil, a little goes a long way. It is possible to reduce the amount of oil used without compromising on taste; since one tablespoon of cooking oil contains 120 calories, this would save you from consuming tons of calories in just one go.
The gist? Eating oil is no dietary sin but moderation is the key. You can thank us later!