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Are some cooking fats healthier to use than others?

The average diet contains 40 percent fat, of which a large percentage is saturated. It is now recommended that not only should we reduce our intake of fat, we should aim to replace saturated fats with healthier fats known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. One good way to do this is to use olive, canola or peanut oil instead of butter for cooking.

Most vegetable oils are high in polyunsaturates, while olive, canola (also called rapeseed) and peanut oils are high in monounsaturates. Both these types of fats are considered healthier than saturated fats. Coconut and palm oils are high in saturated fats.

Today, margarine spreads are usually made with mono or polyunsaturated vegetable oils, which make them lower in saturated fat than butter. However, some margarines, particularly the harder block varieties, may have animal fats added, so if reducing your cholesterol and saturated fat intake is a concern, read the labels carefully before use.

12:06:30 on 11/12/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

How long can meat dripping be kept in the fridge?

Like many fats, dripping will turn rancid if it is kept for too long. If you collect the dripping fat from a roast, pour it into a suitable glass or china container; do not use plastic. Allow it to cool, then cover and put it into a refrigerator. Fresh dripping may be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and may be frozen for up to six months.

Do not add the dripping taken from one roast to that from another. It will spoil the taste. Pour the second lot into a clean container, label it and store as before: this prevents any cross contamination and lets you keep track of how old the dripping is so there is less danger of keeping it for too long.

11:26:46 on 11/12/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Which fat has the finest flavor?

Fats make many foods more palatable because they add flavor, texture, a smooth richness and variety. Goose and duck fat collected from a roasting bird will enrich any roast or fried dish, especially roast potatoes. Chicken fat is popular in traditional Jewish dishes. Beef dripping will add extra flavor when roasting meat or making Yorkshire pudding. Lamb dripping has a very strong flavor and may leave a noticeable and undesirable aftertaste when it is used to fry other foods.

Lard is the rendered version of pork fat; however, unrendered pork fat has a better flavor and is used in charcuterie, pates and for barding roast meat.

Different brands of butter, margarine and ghee have their own flavor: use the one you like best. Copha is a hard white fat made from coconut oil. It is useful for curries and confectionery.

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09:20:11 on 11/12/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -