I’ve been reminiscing lately about some amazing trips taken. I feel grateful to have explored numerous destinations, but being the healthy foodie that I am, a trip that stands out is the one I took to South Korea and Japan in 2016.
My wife and I explored everywhere from the cities to the mountains, and ate delicious food every step of the way. One dish we really enjoyed, which may surprise you, was tempura!
You may be thinking, “Hmm breaded deep fried vegetables? Tamer, that’s not healthy!” and generally you’d be correct. However, the tempura we enjoyed wasn’t just any tempura. It was Michelin Star rated tempura from a restaurant that was over a hundred years old. And what was really interesting to me, was the fact that it was cooked in high-quality sesame oil.
As you know, typical fried foods aren’t great for your health. But not all frying methods and not all oils are created equal. Cooking foods in high-quality oils with an appropriate heating point is much different than frying foods in low-quality refined oils derived from soy, corn, canola and cottonseed. These cheap oils are high in trans fats and other toxic by-products.
So the fact that the Japanese were frying their tempura in sesame oil made the deep fried vegetables not only delicious, but also nutritious.
Fat is an important component of cooking. If the oil is a heathy one and used properly, it can help to transport fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A,E,D ad K. Fats also help to bring the flavours of foods and spices together.
So as a healthy foodie, what kinds of good cooking oils should you have on hand? Well, here are my recommendations for 4 high quality cooking oils that you should stock in your kitchen.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Benefits: Contains heart-healthy omega 9s and anti-oxidants
Use it for: Mediterranean inspired dishes, sautéing, salad dressings
Smoke point: 325-375 °F
(Tip: Read my blog on how to source a good olive oil here)
Benefits: Contains Vitamin A, D and K2, omega 3’s, fat-burning CLAs
Use it for: French inspired dishes, roasting vegetables (like carrots), traditional baked goods (like pie crusts)
Smoke point: 300 °F
Benefits: Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, contains MCTs that boost metabolism and brain health
Use it for: Thai or Caribbean inspired dishes, stir-fries, stews, roasting, baking
Smoke point: 350-400 °F (Tip: Read my blog on all of the “fake news” on coconut oil here)
Benefits: High in anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants, contains Vitamin E
Use it for: Asian-inspired dishes like stir-fries and salad dressings
Smoke point: 350-400 °F
As you stock your kitchen with these good fats, you’ll need to get rid of the bad ones. Some to toss include: vegetable shortening, margarine, canola oil, soya bean oil, and anything labelled “vegetable oil” as they will contain a mixture of poor quality oils.
Start experimenting with these healthy cooking oils, and I can guarantee that you’ll not only feel better, but your food will also taste better.
P.S Are your kitchen cupboards in dire need of a makeover? Check out my comprehensive healthy foodie packagewhere you’ll learn how to identify “red flag ingredients” and get them out of your kitchen for good.
P.P.S Want to know more longevity secrets from Japan? I wrote all about them in a blog – click here to read.