I made it clear that that I wanted to avoid any cooking aroma depositing on me and on my clothes while cooking. Just like back home Sri Lanka cooking, first I didn’t worry about the energy wastage then realised higher temperature, faster those chemicals escaped while cooking. I preferred to cook and eat even from those days due to many reasons including health point of view. When I had to cook, eat, study and sleep in a single room, I really had to think very hard to avoid the cooking aroma depositing all over. May be I have to eat takeaways than cooking in the room. Again I didn’t like that much oily, salty fish and chips and chicken and chips. Honestly I didn’t eat that kind of food while I was studying in Sri Lanka. Just took the lunch at the Polytechnic was sufficient. When I studied, those days they had Polytechnic states but not University states. After a long time experiments I discovered the proper way to cook and now I want the general public to benefit from my scientific discovery.
Cover the pot
It may sound silly, but covering the pot while steaming can help preserve the nutritional quality of our food. When a pot is covered, steam contact with the food is more consistent, allowing the steaming process to be completed in the least amount of time. In addition, light-sensitive nutrients - like vitamin B2 - will not be leeched out of the food so easily. As an added benefit, many water-soluble nutrients will pass out into the steam, and then drop back down into the water below the steamer basket. Further if the fire was under control, the steam along with other ingredients would fall back to the pot. In chemistry this is the reason why they have a reflux condenser attached in some cases. Save this water! It can be used as a base for soups and sauces, or at the very minimum, allowed to cool and used to water plants in the garden.
High-heat cooking and vegetable oils
There is no area of high-heat cooking that we are more concerned about that the area of vegetable oils. We recognize that several companies have produced very high-quality refined oils, specifically designed for high-heat cooking. The refinement of these oils raises their smoke point, sometimes by as much as 200 degrees. In addition, we recognize that some vegetable oils that would normally be very susceptible to high heat because of their polyunsaturated fat content have been produced in such a way as to lower this polyunsaturated fat content. We're thinking here of a vegetable oil like safflower oil, which ordinarily contains a lot of polyunsaturated fat but relatively little monounsaturated fat. Today a version of safflower oil is available called "high-oleic" safflower oil. (Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid, and it's less susceptible to heat damage than the polyunsaturated fatty acids normally found in safflower oil). This version of safflower oil can indeed withstand higher heats, and is better for use with high heats than ordinary safflower oil. At the same time, however, we wonder why any oil should be exposed to high heat if there is a low-heat or no-heat alternative. How about our good old coconut oil? Earlier they thought coconut oil is unhealthy as it has saturated bonds but later scientists confirmed it has medium long chain polyunsaturated bonds which are healthy. We developed our healthy stir-fry technique for precisely this reason - to avoid unnecessary heating of vegetable oils.
More to come
Dr Hector Perera