` Chef Calls Olive Oil "Perfect" for Chinese Cuisine - Olive Oil Times

Chef Calls Olive Oil "Perfect" for Chinese Cuisine

Dec. 8, 2010
Christian Brazil Bautista

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Chinese cui­sine is often regarded as tra­di­tional, fla­vor­ful and dis­tinc­tive. An adjec­tive you sel­dom hear is healthy, mostly due to its reliance on monosodium glu­ta­mate (MSG) and heavy use of cook­ing oils. Soon, how­ever, even the health-con­scious may be tak­ing their por­tions of Peking duck and stir-fried noo­dles. A well-known chef sug­gests a dif­fer­ent way of prepar­ing Chinese cui­sine, one that only involves the intro­duc­tion of a new ingre­di­ent.

In an inter­view with Xinhua News, Tian Qiuming, the exec­u­tive chef of the Great Wall Hotel in Beijing, said that olive oil is per­fect for cook­ing Chinese food. Apart from use in cold dishes, olive oil is espe­cially suit­able for stew­ing, brais­ing, and earthen pot cook­ing,” Tian said. The ingre­di­ents don’t absorb large amounts of olive oil as they do with other types, which will help reduce calories.”

In China, olive oil has recently gained pop­u­lar­ity due to its health ben­e­fits, with fam­i­lies begin­ning to use the ingre­di­ent for cold dishes. The trend has been met with approval from nutri­tion­ists, who advise peo­ple to try olive oil for recipes that require large amounts of cook­ing oil.

In spite of being looked upon as unhealthy, fry­ing remains a pop­u­lar cook­ing method for Chinese cui­sine. The most com­mon tech­niques are stir-fry­ing and deep-fry­ing. Tian said that olive oil, which has fewer calo­ries than other oils, is a bet­ter choice for fry­ing since it does not break down in higher tem­per­a­tures. The higher tem­per­a­tures cause the for­ma­tion of a pro­tec­tive layer around ingre­di­ents. Even when used for deep-fry­ing (or Chau in Chinese), extra vir­gin olive oil has a higher smoke point (between 240 – 270 degrees Celsius).

Nutritionist Fan Zhihong told Xinhua News that the use of olive oil could also improve metab­o­lism, lower the risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and reduce cho­les­terol. Fan added that olive oil also has anti-aging prop­er­ties because it is rich in monoun­sat­u­rated fat and antiox­i­dants such as carotenoids, chlorophyll
and vit­a­min E. Olive oil also con­tains vit­a­mins D (which improves calcium
absorp­tion) and vit­a­min K (which improves blood cir­cu­la­tion and lessens
sub­cu­ta­neous fat).

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