In the recent years, Palm oil has been steadily topping the charts as the most popular oil import in India for use in
the packaged food industry, cosmetics, personal care products and even bio fuel. Conversely, it has also generated some bad press due to environmental concerns raised about encroaching of the protected green cover of the tropical rain forests primarily in Malaysia and Indonesia. The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) has undertaken an awareness campaign across the world to set the record straight by providing information, facts and statistics via a dialogue.
One such session – ‘Palm Oil Gourmet Delights 2020’ was hosted by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, in Hyderabad recently to address the consumers via trusted food bloggers and influencers. It helped in getting a balanced insight into the why’s & how’s of the palm oil industry through an informative and interactive presentation by country head #mpoc India and Sri Lanka, @bhavna_vyas_shah, on the benefits of palm oil and why it is one of the preferred oils in so many different products. It was quite eye opening to see the mind boggling ways the humble palm oil is used in multiple products across a range of diverse industries. From cosmetics, personal care to food products,
it is used in some form or the other in almost fifty percent of the products on a shelf in any supermarket. Read more about this on their official website https://www.mpoc.org.in
The presentation was followed by a round of group activities, based around palm oil, that involved a high energy food treasure hunt. The guests were grouped into teams of three and given a clue card about the different locations. As we raced from one location to the other we put our heads together to first figure out the location and then quick teamwork to finish the team tasks.
The first location was a Jazzy new Pan Asian restaurant – Ten Asia. We were asked to finish a bowl of sweet treats that used palm oil as one of the ingredients in the processing. Biscuits, choco fills, ice cream, and nutella. Yes, all these have palm oil, we wouldn’t have been able to guess! Since palm oil has a neutral flavour, it is used in both, sweet and savory snacks and treats. An added advantage is an increased shelf life.
The second location was Tiki Shack, a vibrant roof top restaurant. We took a quick quiz on palm oil trivia and rushed to Urban Asia, for the next team task of creating a salad with the ingredients on the table. We whisked up a dressing using palm oil, honey, dark soy sauce and drizzled it over a garden salad. Being flavorless, the palm oil blended effortlessly with the flavoring sauces and condiments to form a great dressing. Very versatile indeed! This was a first for all of us since olive oil is what we always use for this. Talk about a paradigm shift!
The final location was – Eat India Company, a popular Pan Asian restaurant. A blind tasting ensued. The good ol’ taste buds were put to test as we were blindfolded. A few spoonfuls later, we agreed on the ingredients of the dish (cooked in palm oil of course).
All the dashing about helped us work up an appetite to do justice to the nice vegetarian buffet at Smokey Pitara. The chaat counter was the most popular with the tangy and spicy panipuri.
A well organized half day session of fact finding, connecting with new people, camaraderie and team work.
My key takeaway from this informative session was to look through the fog created by the demonization of palm oil due to misinformation. I was impressed by the fact that of all the oil crops, it produces the highest yield per capita using the least number of resources. In addition to this, the high concentration of Vit A and K spell well known health benefits like:
– improving vision,
– preventing cardiovascular issues,
– reducing the risk of cancer,
– a natural skin moisturizer,
– improves hair growth,
– supplies the body with Vitamin K, loaded with antioxidants,
– contains unsaturated fats and zero Trans-Fat
I have decided to add a bottle of palm oil to my pantry as I rotate my cooking oils. Cheers to better health everyone!