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As a simple home cook, I tend to stick to what I know and hesitate to deviate from what works for my family. Since I started cooking, what I have known best in terms of cooking oils is extra virgin olive oil and use it for most of my cooking oil needs.
I recently had the opportunity to try cooking with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil. I did not know much about palm oil. One experience I did have with palm oil was that when I was getting my Masters in Business Administration, palm oil production was universally reviled.
When I heard about Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil, I was most interested in finding out what makes it sustainable. Through my research, I learned what makes palm oil special and also what makes Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil a good choice for palm oil.
What Makes Palm Oil Special?
- Palm oil contains no genetically-modified organisms (GMOs)
- As more and more consumers demand their food products to be GMO-free, many producers are using palm oil to fulfill this requirement. The majority of corn, soy and canola oils available in the United States are genetically-modified.
- Palm oil is nutrient-rich.
- Palm oil is loaded with carotene and has more vitamin E than any other vegetable oil
- Palm oil is a natural alternative to trans-fat laden partially hydrogenated oils.
- Palm oil is semi-solid at room temperature, which eliminates the need for it to undergo hydrogenation.
- Palm oil is ideal for cooking
- I never knew that when used at high heat, some oils begin to degrade or lose its nutritional value. Palm oil, on the other hand, has a smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which is much higher than other oils. Olive oil begins to degrade at 380 degrees, canola at 400 degrees and coconut oil at 347 degrees. Additionally, palm oil has a neutral taste.
What Makes Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil Special?
- Palm oil production has less of an environmental impact than other edible oils.
- Palm oil trees produce more oil than annual crops, such as corn, soybean and canola. Palm oil trees also do not need to be cleared and replanted year after year like corn, canola and soybean crops.
- Malaysia practices responsible growth to protect the country’s environment and wildlife.
- Palm oil trees are only grown on designated land, and Malaysia has pledged to keep at least half of its land under forest cover.
- Malaysia plans to have 100 percent of its palm oil certified sustainable by the end of 2019.
My Experience Cooking with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil
I decided to try creating two dishes using Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil. First, I made popcorn.
The first thing I noticed was the palm oil’s interesting red hue. It looks so unusual compared to other cooking oils I have used in the past.
To make the popcorn, I heated the palm oil in a pot with three kernels of popcorn and waited for the kernels to pop. When they did, I removed the pot from the burner and added the rest of the popcorn kernels to the pot. At this point, I partially covered the pot with a lid and shook the pot as the kernels popped. Unfortunately, as this was happening, the red oil was splattering all over my countertop and white cabinets. Not happy about this! But the popcorn turned out perfectly cooked and tasty.
The second dish I created with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil is a staple in our weekly meals. It is a Mediterranean-inspired pasta dish.
Step 1: Boil pasta of your choice according to directions. I used some leftover linguine that we had in the pantry.
Step 2: As the pasta is cooking, cube a single boneless, skinless chicken breast and flavor with soy sauce, oregano and basil. Add Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil to a pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and stir-fry until cooked through.
Step 3: Remove chicken breast from pan. Add an additional tablespoon of Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil and a bag of pre-washed baby spinach. Cook until the spinach leaves are wilted.
Step 4: Add sliced kalamata olives to spinach and cook for 2 minutes.
Step 5: Add cooked pasta and chicken breast to pan. Season with more soy sauce. Cook for 3 minutes.
Step 6: Plate pasta in bowls and add sundried tomatoes.
I honestly found that Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil was a great addition to this dish that I seriously cook almost every week. It came out deliciously!
After learning about the benefits of using palm oil, this creature of comfort is feeling less comfortable about going back to my old cooking oil ways!
To learn more about Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil, visit http://palmoilhealth.org.