Macadamia Nut Oil: Three Healthful PlusesMove over olive oil. Look behind you canola oil, a new, multipurpose cooking/salad oil, pressed and refined from macadamia nuts, is coming up on the inside track.
It is quickly becoming the favorite for several reasons. Not only does macadamia nut oil have a subtle, nutty flavor, it has three pluses that no other cooking oil can brag about. All of these pluses promote better health.
First of all it's more monounsaturated than either olive oil or canola oil, the two top contenders for shelf space in the kitchens of health conscious cooks. Macadamia nut oil is 80 percent monounsaturated, olive oil is 74 percent and canola oil only 58 percent. Monounsaturated oils, authorities discovered, reduce the incidence of heart disease and high blood pressure. The more monounsaturated, the better. Indeed, eating saturated fat is a health hazard rated only slightly below smoking in the '90s. Polyunsaturated fat won't do, either. Monounsaturated is the fat of choice.
Second string on macadamia nut oil's bow is its ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. These little fatty acids keep cell walls healthy, and are usually found in seafood. However, omega-3 is more important than omega-6 because omega-3 seems to reduce risks of heart disease, high blood pressure and arthritis. Macadamia nut oil is the only cooking oil with a favorable ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. Olive, for instance is 1 part omega-3 to 8 parts omega-6.
Finally, macadamia nut oil has a high smoke point. This is the temperature at which oil burns and develops an off flavor. Since macadamia nut oil smokes at an incredible 389°F it is ideal for sautéing and stir-frying. Unlike olive and canola oils, macadamia nut oil even keeps its flavor at that heat. Health Naturally says, "Macadamia nut oil also has excellent coating properties; a little goes a long way. These properties make it comparable to butter for both cooking and in recipes."
But these three big healthy pluses are not the only reasons to justify macadamia nut oil's appeal. The fascinating thing about this oil is that it also tastes good. Not so fruity as olive, (or tasteless like canola) macadamia nut oil carries that subtle, give-me-more flavor of macadamia nuts. It adds a hint of mystery to a vinaigrette, a base note to a stir-fry. Dropped on individual servings of risotto the split second before rushing them to the table, it lifts that dish above sublime.
Used on bread, as olive oil is in the Middle East, it replaces butter with a slightly nutty flavor and the lovely softness of a good oil. It adds glisten and aroma to blanched vegetables or steamed fish.
Using macadamia nut oil is pretty close to having your cake and eating it too. It's superb flavor carrier, does everything an oil should do, and, here's the cake part, you can eat it without guilt.
You probably can eat it in cake, if you really want to. Use it in a cake developed for liquid rather than solid fat. They are coming back onto menus because they taste like a wicked dessert and are actually low in fat.
In fact you can use macadamia nut oil to replace any other cooking oil in the cupboard. It has no more calories than any other fat (120 per tablespoon) and costs about as much as extra virgin olive oil. Use a little less macadamia nut oil than you would butter.
As you taste recipes done with macadamia nut oil, you may not realize it is monounsaturated with a favorable ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 or that it sautés and stir-frys with style and grace, but your heart and your arteries will. You can just enjoy the texture and flavor, guilt-free, in any of the recipes below.
Oven Roasted Garlic Potatoes
1 pound red potatoes (3 to 4)
6 large cloves garlic, unpeeled and flattened
2 tablespoons Oils of Aloha Hawaii's Gold Macadamia Nut Oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut potatoes lengthwise into 6 wedges. Combine all ingredients; toss lightly to coat potatoes. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until potatoes are light brown and tender, turning occasionally. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings.
Thai Chicken and Basil Stir-Fry
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 fresh shiitake mushrooms or dried shiitake mushrooms*
3 tablespoons Oils of Aloha Garlic Isle Macadamia Nut Oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil
Hot cooked rice
Cut chicken and mushrooms into slices 1/4-inch wide. Heat 2 tablespoons of the macadamia nut oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, mushrooms and ginger; stir-fry until onion is golden brown. Remove vegetables and set aside. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce and red pepper. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of the macadamia nut oil to wok and stir-fry chicken until lightly browned,
about 3 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture and cook for 1 minute. Stir in mushroom mixture and basil. Serve over hot rice. Makes 3 to 4 servings.
*If using dried shiitake mushrooms soak in warm water for 15 minutes. Squeeze out excess water and remove stems.
Broiled White Fish with Rosemary
1 pound firm white fish
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons Oils of Aloha Kauai Spice Macadamia Nut Oil
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped or 1/2 teaspoon
dried rosemary, crushed
1 clove garlic, minced
Cut fish into four serving portions. Pat dry with paper towels. In a shallow dish combine all the remaining ingredients. Add fish; cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, turning occasionally. (Or marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.) Drain fish, reserving marinade. Barbecue or broil until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Allow 5 minutes for each 1/2 inch of thickness. Brush occasionally with reserved marinade. If fish is 1 inch or thicker, turn when half done. Makes 4 servings.