So I bough some unrefined palm oil and since you have already helped me with coconut (btw I'm addicted to coconut cream now, so great job lads :D) I was wondering if anyone has any ideas of how can I implement palm oil ?
I bought some Red Palm Oil from Tropical Traditions. Jungle Prodocuts makes a great one too. Both are from Africa.
Red Palm oil is a very good oil. It's loaded with tocopherols and tocotrienols, which are powerful antioxidents (vitamin E). It has a nice fatty acid profile, being mostly saturated, but even the small amount of polyunsaturated is ok due to it's incredibly high antioxidant makeup.
Here's the real deal though... it ain't no coconut oil when it comes to flavor and palatability. I eat it right off the spoon and it has a very distinct 'taste'. It also makes whatever food you choose to cook it in bright orange. You are either going to hate it or you will be willing to tolerate it, but very few people will actually say it's delicious. Then again, I think taking a spoon of fermented cod liver oil is nearly equal to taking a spoon of sewage. So by that measure, red palm oil is a treat.
One person who swears by red palm oil is John Meadows, Mr. Ohio and founder of http://www.mountaindogdiet.com/. Chris Masterjohn wrote about this in a post a while back.
The Verdict: a very healthy oil with tremendous nutritional benefit, but difficult to implement regularly due to its undeliciousness.
I just ate some osso bucco that I poached in red palm nut oil with some spices. I cooked the shanks in a ziplock bag full of the oil submerged in a 56C water bath for ~36 hours. Using the palm oil as a poaching oil seems like the best use of it, since the low temperatures do not destroy the color and aroma and the oil is reusable.
Here are some recipes. http://www.junglepi.com/recipes/poultry.html Can't say I have tried them yet, as my jar of tropical traditions palm oil is still unopened. I've been trying to figure out what spices are most compatible with it. The only way I like virgin coconut oil is in a dish with lots of Indian or Thai style curry spices. Otherwise I use tropical traditions expeller pressed coconut oil, which is very bland.
I use red palm oil (from Africa) pretty much only to cook Ghanian food. It's a must for the authentic West-African taste. The recipes below are pretty much spot on, except I use lard to save my red palm oil instead of "heart healthy" canola-crap. I usually serve fried chicken with red gravy and jollof rice and fried plantain. After searing the chicken I braise it in the gravy. Plantain fried in palm oil, seasoned with some hot chili and salt is awesome!
I'm west African so I might be bias, I lOVE red palm oil. I will admit that it has a strong flavor though. It's delicious in stews usually eaten over rice, my favorites are spinach, cassava leaf or sweet potato leaf (chopped greens of choice, onions, okra, meat, palm oil, fish or both, salt and a whole pepper in the pot for flavor. I use habenero, but be careful not to burst it. You can add a bit of peanut butter to thicken the stew and blend flavor.) Okra stew (okra, palm oil, lots of onions, meat, fish or both), Palm oil stew (meat, onions, tomatoes, tomato paste, whole pepper, salt and palm oil.) You probably don't want to use more than 1/4-1/2 cup of oil for a large stew that serves 4 or more.
I like it with stir fried lamb, onion, garlic, and carrots, but keep the heat low. I haven't experimented with many other foods yet, but the steamed broccoli pairing mentioned above sounds great. If nothing else, you can use it as a food-based vitamin E/carotene supplement.
I would mix the palm oil to tone the taste with any of the following cooking fats and use:
2) coconut oil
Wilderness Family Naturals makes a delicious popcorn oil (mixture of coconut and palm oils) for popcorn cheats or I've cooked eggs and other foods in it!
You have to use spices to work with the playdoughy taste of the palm oil. Ginger, paprika, and thyme are typical West African spices. Turmeric might work too, but it may have too much of that earthy, "flat" flavor.
The starchiness of sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batata) - or real yams if you can find them (Dioscorea rotundata or D. cayenensis) - works really well to round out the doughiness.
Experiment with it. There's so many good nutrients in red palm oil it's well worth finding a viable way to use it regularly with an American palate.
" Best to buy palm oil grown in West Africa if you can"
West Africa is a massive area with dozens of jurisdictions and a constantly changing agricultural scene.
note to self: avoid agronomic adivce from Mathew
PS. Orangatans taste excellent. The babies are the most tender.
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