When you prepare any recipe using cooking oil, the usage of the oil is simple and straightforward. You pour the oil into a pan, turn on the flame, add the ingredients – all at once or in stages as the recipe may demand – and start cooking. However, regular readers of this blog will know that Mustard Oil needs a slightly different treatment. In fact, our recipes will always tell you to “heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on a Medium flame till the oil reaches its smoking point.”
When Mustard Oil is heated to its smoking point, wisps of white smoke waft up and fill your kitchen. Some refined oil users are vexed by this smoke – but ardent fans of Mustard Oil know that it signals the readiness of your oil for cooking. It also signals that the Mustard Oil you are using is cold-pressed, pure and of good quality. The lack of smoke on heating is often a clear indicator that the oil contains impurities or that it has been mixed with some other – usually cheaper – oil.
The great thing about Mustard Oil is that it has a much higher smoking point in comparison with other cooking oils. With a smoking point that is around 250o Celsius Mustard Oil is ideal for Indian cooking which typically requires deep frying, a succession of ingredients to be heated, and prolonged cooking time.
Cold-pressed Mustard Oil has another great attribute: even when the oil reaches its smoking point, it retains all its nutrients. Its rich levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated Fatty Acids, Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, natural antioxidants and Vitamin E remain intact. As a result of this, all the health benefits that Mustard Oil offers in terms of its antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties are unaffected by the heating of the oil.
So now you know how to get the best out of this natural, cold-pressed health supplement.
Heat the oil on a Medium flame till it reaches its smoking point
Once the white wisps of smoke waft up, start your cooking
You don’t have to rush your cooking – the oil will remain stable and healthy even as the temperature rises
Moreover, do remember that Mustard Oil isn’t just a cooking medium. It’s an ingredient that adds a characteristic taste and aroma to the dish you are preparing. It’s an essential part of Indian gravies, especially in the cuisines of Bengal, Punjab, Bihar and Kashmir. And it has been part and parcel of India’s natural healthcare system (Ayurveda); home remedies; skincare; and hair care for thousands of years.
Mustard Oil may indeed be a rather different medium for cooking in, but the benefits it offers are definitely worth it. Use it with confidence – and pride.