Using the correct oil for cooking goes a long way in overall well-being. Accordingly, when it comes to Mustard Oil, the question that often arises is, "Is mustard oil the best cooking oil in India?" Let's delve into the qualities and considerations that make mustard oil a popular choice in kitchens around the world.
Importance of High Smoke Point for Best cooking oil in India
An essential consideration in cooking oils is their smoke point—the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke and break down, producing harmful compounds. Mustard oil boasts a relatively high smoke point, approximately 480°F (250°C), making it suitable for various cooking methods, including deep-frying and sautéing. This high smoke point ensures that (1) the oil remains stable at higher temperatures, minimizing the risk of detrimental chemical changes; and (2) the nutritional benefits of mustard oil are preserved.
According to the Dietary Guidelines by the National Institute of Nutrition, healthy oils should strike a balance between three types of fatty acids: Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and Saturated fatty acids (SFA). Many cold-pressed oils, such as mustard oil, are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, commonly known as "good fats." These fats are essential for various bodily functions, including maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, supporting brain health, and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Mustard oil is also a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, essential for maintaining a well-balanced diet. The oil contains 6% of omega-3 fatty acids (N-3) and 15% of omega-6 (n-6) in the ideal ratio of 1:2 which is beneficial for the heart as it helps to regulate cholesterol levels. In a study conducted by experts from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital that compared fat content in different cooking oils, including olive oil, canola oil, mustard oil and sunflower oil, it was found that mustard oil can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by up to 70%. It is considered better than olive oil because the latter does not have an ideal ratio of omega-6 (N6) and Omega-3 (N3) fatty acids useful in reducing heart complications.
Additionally, mustard oil contains Vitamin E and K, along with antioxidants, providing potential health benefits.
Different types of oil have different manufacturing/extraction processes. A few oils like Soyabean, Canola, and Safflower (seed oils) are extracted using solvents like Hexane. Post extraction, heat, steam and pressure are used to desolventize it. On the other hand, Mustard Oil is a cold-pressed oil. Cold-pressed oils are extracted through a method that involves minimal heat and no chemicals. This gentle process helps preserve the natural nutritional content of the oil. Unlike other extraction methods that use high temperatures, cold pressing ensures that the oil retains essential vitamins, antioxidants, and fatty acids. You can read more about the manufacturing process of mustard oil here.
Mustard oil is celebrated for its versatility in the culinary world. Its robust and peppery flavour makes it a favourite in Indian, Bengali, and Northeastern cuisines. From stir-fries to curries and marinades, mustard oil imparts a distinctive taste that elevates the overall dining experience. Its ability to enhance the flavour profile of dishes makes it a preferred choice for many chefs. You can read more about the versatility of Mustard Oil here.
Incorporating mustard oil into your cooking routine requires a balanced approach. Begin with small quantities to acquaint your palate with its unique flavour. Mustard oil works exceptionally well in marinades for meats, imparting a depth of taste. It is also an excellent choice for pickles and traditional Indian dishes like sarson da saag.
As we've explored its high smoke point, nutritional richness, meticulous manufacturing process, and culinary versatility, it becomes evident that Mustard Oil is not just a cooking essential but a wellness ally. Incorporating Mustard Oil into your cooking is not only about embracing a unique and versatile ingredient but also about embarking on a journey towards holistic well-being. So, the next time you reach for your cooking oil, consider the rich and flavorful possibilities that Mustard Oil brings to your table—an investment not just in taste but in your overall health and vitality.