Udo Erasmus, the fats and oils guru, suggests butter, organic lard or natural coconut oil as the best stable, high-temperature cooking fats. Coconut and lard are the ONLY ones that can be used for frying, but still must be used sparingly and at lowest temperature for the dish and minimum time.
There is no safe fat for deep frying. All oils degenerate with heat, some more than others. That's why the hydrogenated solid fats were invented. They're practically indestructible until you get to 500 degrees. Which is why our bodies, when encountering them in the course of digestion, don't know what to do with the odd-shaped molecules that don't come apart with enzymes at body temperature like other fats, and deposit them in organs and blood vessels with bits of calcium and fibrin. Of course, butter and coconut will smoke and turn brown too, which means the fat molecules have degenerated and are not healthful any longer.
Udo says NEVER heat the pan to the point of browning the fat. Lower temperature might take a bit longer, but avoids harmful carcinogenic compounds produced by heat damage. These fats are very digestible because they are short chain fatty acids, and excellent because they have the best "mouth feel" too, which is why they are so good in baking when combined with sugar and flour.
Here is Udo's advice for cooking with oil (olive, sesame, grapeseed, rice bran, canola, sunflower, safflower).
Preheat the empty pan to medium. Have your vegetables and meat ready (like for Oriental cuisine).
Put some vegetable broth or water into the frypan or wok to cool it to 212 degrees, toss in your vegetables and/or meat chopped up, drizzle a bit of your favourite oil AFTER you've added the other ingredients, and stir stuff so it's always moving and doesn't have a chance to burn. This minimizes the damage to the oil and preserves the flavor.
The chicken or meat will not be brown either, but that's also a good thing, as browned meat protein has carcinogenic compounds in it too. Could this be part of the reason Asians have much lower rates of cancer?
Several oils should NEVER be heated: flax, hemp, tree nut oils like walnut and almond, but are excellent oils nutritionally (salad dressings for example).
I love his book, Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill. I highly recommend it, even though it is very technical in places, he writes with step-by-step clarity and ease that explains complex molecular biochemistry for ordinary people.
"Fats That Heal Fats That Kill - The complete guide to understanding the effects of fats and oils on human health, including common and lesser-known oils with therapeutic potential: flax, olive, fish, evening primrose, borage, and many others. Fats That Heal Fats That Kill is more than a book about fats and oils, it is a book about the nature of human health and wellness." FROM UDO ERASMUS'website.
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