My Great #GrandeCookOff Experience with Grande Rice Bran Oil

For those of you out there reading this who actually know me, I want to clear up a rumor. Contrary to my mom's belief, I do cook real food at home. I know there’s a big misconception that I ONLY eat. I don’t, I can actually cook a good dinner for my family.

However, I have to admit that although I try to find time to cook as often as I can, there are times (a lot, actually) that our cook/helper would cook for us and I'd join my hungry husband and kids for dinner. With two kids at home and a number of other obligations in my day, cooking isn't exactly at the top of my to-do list. And yes, I don't know much about cooking techniques but I'm willing to learn more. That is why I decided to join a cook-off session with no less than one of the country’s most talented and awarded chefs, Miko Aspiras, at The Cookery Place in BGC yesterday. It's also the launch of Grande Rice Bran Oil, the healthy oil perfect for your family meals and all your (guilt-free!) fried indulgences.

To be honest, taking this class has changed the way I look at cooking oil. Initially, I thought fried food equates to unhealthy food. Actually, it's not! When it comes to frying, it doesn't need to be unhealthy. It's just a matter of choosing the right cooking oil.

Make no mistake, Rice Bran Oil (RBO) is no ordinary kind of oil. It is extracted from the middle layer of the husk and the grain wherein it is rich in natural antioxidants such as Vitamin E, phystosterols, and Gamma-oryzanol. Using the finest extraction and refinement process, Grande Rice Bran Oil is produced with best quality and guaranteed to have natural nutrients in the oil.

So, what makes Grande RBO different from other cooking oils in the market?
  •    It has a high smoke point so it's good for frying.
The smoke point of cooking oils is the temperature when it begins to burn and its nutritional value starts to degrade. When you heat oil past its smoke point, the oil becomes rancid, making the food inedible. Even when you use extra virgin olive oil, it loses all its health boosting values once it begins to smoke.

Unlike most cooking oils, rice bran oil’s high smoke point means that you can fry, sear and sautĂ© food without compromising taste and its nutritional value.

We do not reuse oil at home because I know that reusing oil too many times can increase exposure to free radicals. However, I've learned that whether you should reuse the oil depends on its smoking point. It should not be used beyond its smoke point, and it's best to check the color of the oil before reusing or discard it if it has turned dark or black. Unlike other oils, RBO is more stable and can be re-used.
  •     Neutral taste and low viscosity to retain the natural flavor of the food
Rice bran oil is less viscous compared to other oils, not only making your food less oily but also preserving its natural flavor.
  •     Rich in antioxidants - Vitamin E, Phytosterols and Oryzanol which may help improve cholesterol levels
  •     Balanced fat profile to help balance your diet with the right amount fat
 Rice bran oil’s fat profile is closest to World Health Organization's fat intake recommended for adults, and has the most ideal fat composition, so it's perfect for maintaining a balanced diet.

I realized that coconut oil is not cure all, and has the most number of saturated fat. It can add a nice taste for certain types of cooking but it's not recommended for everyday use.
  •     Trans Fat Free and Zero Cholesterol
  •     100% physically refined, no need for additives
With Grande Rice Bran Oil, you'll get all the health benefits, without compromising quality. Almost all cooking oils go through a chemical refinement process to remove any unwanted compounds like free fatty acids. While the oil becomes more refined to become edible, it also strips it of any natural antioxidants and nutrients. Grande Rice Bran Oil is refined physically so that no caustics and acids are used, thus retaining all natural nutrients within the oil.

Now that you have all the facts about  Grande Rice Bran Oil, I hope that it would unleash your inner health foodie. Going back to the cooking demo, it's a 3-hour session with three recipes that were demonstrated by Chef Miko Aspiras. He's the chef behind Le Petit SoufflĂ©, Scout’s Honor, Freezerburn and Magnum Cafe’s sweet creations, who has been racking up gold medal awards in prestigious culinary competitions in the country and abroad.

During the class,  I was like a kid anticipating recess and I tried my best to be a "sponge" so I can absorb as much as I can. Lol Of course, the most exciting thing aside from eating  is to learn because it's such a rare opportunity to learn from multi-awarded chefs like Chef Miko. We were provided with recipe sheets, then he showed us the step-by-step process in making each dish.

We cooked dishes that are seriously some of the best I've ever tried. I'm sure you would love to try it too, so I'll share the recipes soon. For now, let me share with you what we had for lunch; Sesame Tuna Aburi Tataki Salad for appetizer, twice-fried pork served with potatoes, chorizo and beans in sun-dried tomato chimi churi for the main course, and Pili Donuts and cream for dessert, that would make you dizzy with so much joy. Oh, and I ate until I was completely stuffed.

The first recipe is the Sesame Tuna Aburi Tataki Salad. We used Grande RBO for the sesame mayo and Tataki dressing. Labeled as the Olive Oil of the East, you can use Grande RBO in salad as a healthy dressing and base for baking.

One of the important things I've learned is to cook from scratch as much as possible. Chef Miko taught us how to make real homemade mayo, because most store-bought mayo can be quite salty and is full of  thickeners. It's best to make your own mayo at home, and be sure to use pasteurized egg yolks.

So, is it really hard to cook real food from scratch without collapsing at the end of the day? Actually, it's super easy.

While breaking down his knowledge in cooking so that it feels painless to follow, he actually taught us how to eat healthier and proved that healthy food didn’t have to taste bad. 

I really love the salad. It's a chock full of mixed greens, red beets, cherry tomatoes with thin slices of tuna that is lightly seared in Grande RBO, and drizzled with Sesame Mayo. #PlatingGoals

Now, for the main course..

Chef Miko's version of the classic pork and beans has the perfect amount of flavor in every bite. He also said that when roasting with either veggies or meat, it's ALWAYS best to season with oil, salt, and pepper.

Roasted for four hours and twice-cooked, his creation of this delicious pork belly roll of happiness is glorious and one that I'll never get tired of eating everyday.

For the dressing, we blended all the ingredients together in a food processor. Ingredients: coriander, basil, parsley, red chillies, lime juice, sundried tomatoes and Grande RBO.

Super savory, all brightened by chorizo and beans in sun-dried tomato chimi churi. It's like a party of flavors in your mouth!

Here are more photos. Warning: Don't read while hungry/hangry. The likelihood of salivating is extremely high.

We had Pili Donuts and Cream for dessert. To make the pili butter glaze, Chef Miko blended the glazed pili nuts, Grande RBO with salt and muscovado sugar until it became smooth like a runny peanut butter.

Then, he poured it onto donuts fried in Grande RBO. Dusted with wild raspberry powder and dressed with flowers and micro greens, this is a dessert that's just hard to resist. I've never tried this recipe and I would have never thought of pairing pili nuts with donuts and cream cheese ice cream, but they go together quite well. I honestly love the combination: both refreshing and warm. Yum!

These are just honest to goodness meals that you can try at home.  If you're ever in need of a healthy oil, this is it. Definitely worth the Php185 price per 1L bottle of Grande Rice Bran Oil or Php365 for 2L. It's already available in selected supermarkets and Rustan's Marketplace nationwide.

Thank you, Grande Team and Spark It, for inviting me. Looking forward to trying out more amazing recipes with Grande Rice Bran Oil. 

Hopefully, this will also encourage you, momshies, to cook delicious meals for your family to enjoy. Grande Rice Bran Oil is so versatile that you can use it in any recipe you want! Learn more about this product through Grande's website, FB, and IG page.

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