Heart-Friendly Oil – the Real One

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If you take a closer look at the dozens of cooking oils that vociferously claim to be good for the heart, you are likely to end up being utterly confused and befuddled. One has to be very careful – because many of these claims put forth by these oils are misleading. In fact, refined oils that claim to be heart-friendly are being blatantly untruthful.

The good news is that the widespread prevalence of heart disease has compelled medical science to take a closer look at cooking oils – and the verdict is clear: the time-tested ancient oils like Mustard Oil and Ghee are best for the heart, particularly under Indian tropical climate conditions. Mustard Oil in its cold-pressed form is rich in good fats like Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated Fatty Acids and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. It is also rich in natural antioxidants. All these go a long way in keeping the heart – indeed the entire cardiovascular system – functioning efficiently.

The reputation of Mustard Oil as a heart-friendly cooking oil has always been known in India. These credentials were reinforced by a landmark study conducted by the Harvard School of Medicine, Boston in collaboration with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi and St. John’s Hospital, Bengaluru. This study found that the use of cold-pressed Mustard Oil as the primary cooking medium, especially for Indian gravies and deep-frying could reduce the risks associated with Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) by more than 70 percent.

So in the clamour and confusion of so many oils claiming to be heart-friendly, trust the time-tested option that has been a part of India’s culinary heritage for thousands of years: Mustard Oil.

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When Spinach Met Paneer…

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In India, especially North India, Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) is a big favourite. Today’s post looks at a traditional Spinach-Paneer recipe that has been around for hundreds of years. It’s known as Palak Paneer. The interesting thing about this recipe is the fact that both spinach and Paneer have rather muted flavours. However, it is the combination of Mustard Oil and a variety of spices that makes this dish come alive.

Here are the ingredients that you will need:

  • Spinach: 1 kilogram
  • Paneer: 250 gram
  • Tomato: 1, large
  • Onion, finely chopped: 200 gram
  • Mustard Oil : 5 tablespoon
  • Garlic, chopped: 2 cloves
  • Ginger, grated: 1 tablespoon
  • Red Chillies, dried: 2
  • Cumin (Jeera) Seeds, ground: 2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander (Dhania) Seeds, ground: 1 teaspoon
  • Yogurt (Dahi): 300 gram
  • Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: For garnishing
  • Salt: to taste

Preparation:

Wash the spinach in warm water and tear it into smaller pieces. Keep aside.

Cut the Paneer into small cubes.

Cut the tomato into four pieces.

Method:

Heat three tablespoons of Mustard Oil in a large frying pan. Sauté the garlic and red chillies along with half a tablespoon of ginger. Add the onions and continue frying till the onion pieces turn brown.

Add the cumin, coriander and turmeric. Pour the Dahi into the frying pan and add the spinach pieces – one handful at a time. Cook for around 15 minutes – then remove the frying pan from the flame and keep aside.

Once your Spinach-Dahi-Spices mixture has cooled down, pour it into a blender; add the tomato pieces along with the remaining ginger. Blend till the contents turn into a thick paste.

Heat the remaining Mustard Oil in a pan and fry the Paneer cubes till the cubes turn brown.

Now add the fried Paneer cubes to the spinach mixture and cook for another 10 minutes or so on low heat. Add salt to taste – and transfer the contents to a serving dish. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Your traditional Palak Paneer is now ready to be served. It can be eaten with Roti or steaming hot rice.

Advice from a Wise Cardiologist

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The last decade has seen doctors – in particular, cardiologists – coming out in support of using cold-pressed Mustard Oil for a healthy heart. This blog has often mentioned the unstinting support that Dr S. C. Manchanda has always expressed vis-à-vis the idea of making Mustard Oil one’s primary (if not sole) cooking medium.

Now another eminent cardiologist has come forward with similar views. Dr Bharat Rawat does not believe that refined oils are healthy. Moreover, he views the current craze for olive oil with a sense of disdain – pointing out that this oil is unsuitable for typically Indian cooking methods that involve deep frying and making gravies. Like Dr Manchanda, he too believes that the age-old oils like Mustard Oil and Ghee are the best for Indian consumers.

Dr Rawat has a very interesting – and holistic – approach to heart health. He recommends a subtle combination of stress reduction, good eating habits and regular exercise as the three pillars of cardiac health. Stress reduction includes anger management, avoiding negative thinking and using meditation to calm the mind. Good eating habits include switching to Mustard Oil or Ghee as one’s cooking medium and curtailing one’s oil intake to 15 milliliters per day (which is a rather challenging target for Indians).

Dr Rawat’s “formula” for cardiac health is simple: he asks you to surround yourself with happy people, healthy food and enjoyable physical activities.

Listen to this wise cardiologist – just do it!

A Favourite from Delhi’s Street Food Circuit

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Delhi is a city that is known for the dazzling variety of street food that it offers all the year round. In today’s post, we are sharing a make-at-home version of one the Delhi’s perennial favourites: the Kathi Kabab Roll.

Here are the ingredients that you will need:

  • Boneless Chicken Pieces: 1 Kilogram
  • Onions: 2, large
  • Garlic, crushed: 1 teaspoon
  • Ginger, crushed: 1 teaspoon
  • Green Chilli: 4
  • Eggs: 2
  • Mustard Oil: 2 tablespoon
  • Soya Sauce: 2 teaspoon
  • Wheat Flour (Maida): 600 gram
  • Milk: Just a little
  • Salt: to taste

Preparation                                                             

Grind the onions, garlic, ginger and green chillies with a little Mustard Oil to form a thick paste.

Add a bit of salt and a little milk to the Maida and knead it. Keep aside for around 15 minutes. Then make small balls of dough and roll them out in a size that’s a little larger than a standard puri.

Method

Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan. Add the paste and fry it for a while. Then add the boneless chicken pieces along with salt. Cook on low flame, stirring to ensure that the chicken pieces get coated in the paste. When the chicken pieces become tender, remove the pan from the flame and add the Soya Sauce. Mix well.

Beat the eggs, add a little salt and keep aside.

On a tava, put a little Mustard Oil and cook each puri on both sides. When the puri is done, pour some of the beaten egg mixture on top and continue cooking till the egg is done.

Place the chicken pieces on the puri and fold it into a roll.

Your Delhi-style Kathi Kabab Rolls are ready to be served.

The Science behind Mustard Oil

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Earlier generations of Indians had always taken their cooking oils for granted. Depending on which part of India they lived in, they used traditional oils like Mustard Oil, Ghee, Til Oil and Coconut Oil in their virgin, cold-pressed forms – and they remained perfectly healthy.

In the last three decades or so, with the advent of hydrogenated fats and various kinds of refined oils the alarm bells have been ringing on the health front. People turned to their doctors for the answer to the question: What is a healthy cooking oil? Doctors in turn sought answers from scientists and researchers.

Scientists tell us that the attributes of a good cooking oil are as follows:

  • It should be low in Saturated Fatty Acids
  • It should be rich in Unsaturated Fatty Acids – in particular, MUFA and PUFA
  • It should have an ideal Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio
  • It should have a high smoking point
  • It should be stable at high temperatures
  • It should be rich in nutrients
  • It should have a favourable effect on blood lipids

Mustard Oil is everything that scientists tell us a good cooking oil should be. It has the lowest levels of Saturated Fatty Acids among all cooking oils; it is rich in MUFA and PUFA; it is one of the largest vegetable sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids; it has an ideal Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio, nearest to the WHO-recommended standards; it is packed with nutrients like Vitamin E and natural antioxidants; it retains all its nutrients even when it reaches its smoking point; and it is proven to raise good cholesterol (HDL) while lowering bad cholesterol (LDL).

It certainly looks like Mother Nature was using a Healthy Nutrition Checklist when she created Mustard and Mustard Oil!

A Delicious Bouquet!

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Almost all of us have eaten bananas – a very common (and popular) fruit – but many of us may not be aware that the banana flower can also be eaten. In fact, it is a delicacy in Bengal. The flower is rich purple in colour and is large – it could stretch to lengths of 12 to 18 inches!

In today’s post, we look at the traditional Bengali way of cooking the banana flower, which is called Mocha in Bengali. The dish features the banana flower steamed in a banana leaf (Paturi). The dish is, therefore, called Mochar Paturi.

The ingredients you will require are:

  • Banana Flower (Mocha): One 500-gram flower
  • Mustard Oil : 3 tablespoon
  • Coconut, grated: 500 gram
  • Mustard Seed Paste: 3 tablespoon
  • Nigella Seeds (Kalonji): 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Red Chilli Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: to taste

Preparation:

Remove the hard stock and the whitish style from the inner portion of the banana flower. Cut the flower into small cubes. Soak these in turmeric water for 15 to 20 minutes.

Boil the banana flower cubes till they become soft. Once they are done, drain the water and keep the banana flower pieces aside.

Method:

Place the Nigella seeds, Mustard Seed paste, Turmeric powder, Red Chilli powder, coconut, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Add two tablespoon of Mustard Oil. Mix thoroughly. Now add the banana flower pieces and continue mixing.

Take two banana leaves, wash them in warm water and then shake the water off. With a brush, apply the remaining Mustard Oil on the surfaces of the banana leaves.

Now place the mixture of banana flower pieces, spices and Mustard Oil on the centre of one banana leaf. Cover it with the other leaf. Fold the edges in to form a neat packet and use toothpicks to hold the banana leaves in place.

Your banana flower (Mocha) is now in the banana leaf (Paturi). It’s time to steam the mixture.

Boil water in a Degchi (metal container). Place a strainer across the mouth of the Degchi. Next, place the banana leaf packet on the strainer and let the contents steam for 15 to 20 minutes.

Your exotic Banana Flower in Banana Leaf (Mochar Paturi) is now ready. Serve it hot with steamed rice.

“Made in India Kyun Nahin?”

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In a recent press interview, Boman Irani revealed that he was going to be a part of a new film starring Rajkumar Rao; the title of the movie is: Made in China.

The movie title brought a smile to the faces of all of us at P Mark Mustard Oil because it brought back memories of an iconic line spoken by Boman Irani (who has been the Brand Ambassador for P Mark Mustard Oil for over half-a-decade now): Made in India Kyun Nahin?

The context of the line is as follows. The ad shows a young modern-day lady shopping at a departmental store. She is browsing through the enormous variety of oils in the Edible Oils section, muttering to herself: “Made in USA, Made in Malaysia, Made in Italy…” Boman Irani pops up on the other side of the aisle and asks: Made in India Kyun Nahin?

That one simple five-word question encompasses the very essence of everything that P Mark Mustard Oil has believed in for over 80 years… since 1933. We are proud to be an innately Indian brand making an innately Indian product using a traditional cold-pressing method (Kolhu) that is innately India.

We congratulate Boman Irani on his new film… and as he begins rehearsing for Made in China, we would like to ask him (in jest, of course): Made in India Kyun Nahin?

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