Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Live it Up with Olive Oil

Did you know EVOO is suitable for deepfrying?

Is olive oil an oil or a fruit juice?

What is Olive oil?
Olive oil is extracted by crushing of olives which are fruits of the olive tree and thus olive oil is actually a fruit juice. The olive trees are traditional crop of the Mediterranean basin - which has rainy winters and hot dry summers. The oil or juice of the olives is thus widely used in Mediterranean. 

The olive fruits are small and are plucked /harvest when in the green or purple stage and crushed to a fine paste. The juice /oil extracted from this paste with almost no chemical treatments or high heat/temperature (known as cold pressed) is Extra Virgin Olive Oil or EVOO. After separating the EVOO,from the remianing olive paste we can get other varieties or grades of olive oil like Virgin/Pure/Refined Olive oils, lampant oil or Pomace oil. Lampant oil is used for lighting lamps and other such non edible purposes. Pomace olive oil is the oil obtained from the leftover pomace paste using chemicals and mixed with little EVOO and made edible but very cheap.We usually prefer the full bodied taste of the EVOO.But how is olive oil with Indian cuisine?

Olive Oil and Indian Cuisine
Earlier studies conducted by researchers found that the mediterranean people have high resistance to heart diseases and a good increase in Good Cholestrol. They found this was due to the use of olive oil as an important part of their cuisine.

Several saturated fats(fats that are solid at room temperature)  are part of the rich Indian Heritage. Ghee sort of defines taste and richness for us. Right from infancy we are brought up on a wonderful fat laden diet which continues till we find ourselves suffering from high Cholestrol,clogged arteries,diabetes etc. But then again we continue the same by popping several pills before,between  and after food or try to cut down other things which we think may help us control or medical problem but in fact which are essential for us. To be honest I too love a rich pulaos -rich usually stands for Ghee here- or Ghee fried malpuas topped with thick rabdi. Its surely heaven. How does EVOO help here?

Why EVOO or Olive oil in General?
Have you ever tried Deep frying in olive oil - EVOO to be precise?

Do try as it is much better than your regular cooking oil like soy,safflower,rice bran etc.


EVOO has got high smoking point at about 500F and so it is perfect for deep frying. Usually smoking point is where the oil/fat breaks up into fat molecules giving rise to transfats. A high smoking point  ensures that there are no transfats and makes it perfectly reusable after deep frying. EVOO has high Mono unsaturated fat content which ensures that it is enhances the good cholestrol and reduces the bad cholestrol of the body. 

Normally we are in a dilemma whether to reuse the oil left from cooking,but EVOO solves the problem for us. Also those familiar with deep frying in EVOO or Olive oil in general can vouch for the fact that the dish/fritters absorb less oil - we can see that most of the oil is left behind in the pan  and that the EVOO enhances the taste. 

Ofcourse we try EVOO in salads,sauces,pastas etc but do try for deepfrying. You can understand yourselves the above mentioned facts and also be in good health and am sure you too will be fans of the 'Liquid Gold' as Homer puts it.

Olive it Up Campaign
OliveitUp is a three year campaign financed by European Union, in collaboration with Italy for the promotion of European Olive oils in India. Italy,Greek and Spain are formost in Olive oil productions and Crete in Greece was supposed to be where the Olive crop was harvested first.

Consortium of Guarantee of Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which produces the campaign which has recently completed its successful first anniversary, provides an array of activities and workshops and training activities to impart the correct knowledge about the EVOO and also encourage people to use EVOO in the traditional /daily Indian  cooking. 

I have recently been a part of an event organized in the Oberoi, Bangalore along with other Bangalore Food bloggers and also went through the nuances of finding the right oil. We had a tasting session conducted by Michele Labarile, an expert in oils and also a health talk by nutritionist Ishi Khosla who enlightened us on how Indian cuisine can actually benefit from the use of Olive oils especially  EVOO. As per the oil expert, olive oil is not an oil,but a fruit juice as olives are considered fruits.You can get an idea about oil tasting with the expert here You can find more about the campaign in its website Olive it Up.

We also were given a short demo on EVOO and Indian cuisine by Chef Vicky Ratnani who enticed us with his Root and Vegetable Tikkis and spicy,fruit Peach, bell pepper chutney/relish/dip. But more on that later as it is already a big post. I am adding a pic of Vicky's Tikkis for you to drool over and think about the health benefits of EVOO. 

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