Nutralite vs. Refined Oil – the healthier one?

Fats and oils are energy giving nutrients, thus are the easiest sources of energy. But there’s much of a talk in the market about the ill effects of the refined oils that form a part of our daily diets. The bottom line is we can run from it, we can hide from it but its not exactly possible for us to avoid it. Isn’t it? So, why not use a product which is healthier and even tastes better? Yes, the Nutralite with Omega 3 table spread is just that!

Just to begin, besides the highly useful Omega 3 fatty acid in it (super for brain, eyes and the heart!), Nutralite is also free of cholesterol and trans fats, low in calories, rich in Vitamin A, D and E and also contains MUFA & PUFA(Cholesterol Fighter). Yes, zero cholesterol is true that makes your heart healthy and removes junk from your arteries! The Nutralite spread definitely acts as a healthier alternative over any other refined oils because of this reason. So, instead of frying your dry fruits in refined oils, just shallow-fry them in Nutralite. In this way, you add the health factor alongwith making them taste all the more better and yummier! When craving for popcorn, try in the healthier version by using Nutralite instead of any other fats. It will be cool, for sure! Or toss up those spinach leaves, kale leaves, asparagus, broccoli or any other greens of your choice and seafood in the Nutralite table spread for that lovely, flavourful yet nutritious lunch or dinner options!


Also, what exactly makes Nutralite a better choice over other refined oils is quite obvious when we give you the reasons. Read on to know what happens during the processes to extract oils out of seeds, and in what stage the oil is when it is finally refined.

  1. The first stage is that of ‘oil milling’ where the ‘copra,’ which is about 64% of the oil content, gets cleaned both manually and by machines, is reduced in size to about ⅛” and dried on conveyors. Following this, mechanical pressing extracts the oil, where it is washed with hexane for better extraction, and finally reach the storage tanks for purification. Hexane has some serious health hazards including anaemia and it also gets concentrated in the food.

  2. Next, in order to refine the oil and reduce the Free Fatty Acids in it, it gets treated with a lye (sodium hydroxide) solution. This also adds to the shelf-life of the oil and can reduce the chances of oil damage. Further the oil is treated with bleaching earth and activated carbon that lessens the colour as it undergoes polishing by filter presses.

  3. The final step is deodourising of the oil wherein the ‘taste giving’ compounds of the oils are removed to make it as neutral on the palette as possible. This is the most destructive stage as it includes high temperatures. These temperatures also form a small amount of trans fatty acids, which all of us know, is not good for our health.

All this results in an ‘oil’ that is basically tasteless, colourless and odourless, is not susceptible to spoilage and can last very long. It will be more apt if we call this so called refined oil as ‘plastic oil’ as none of the benefits that occurred in the natural seeds are present in it. Too harmful for human consumption for sure!

Now that an intro has been given about ‘Refined Oils’ and the ‘Healthier Choice,’ here are some of the other reasons why we feel that it’s actually better to substitute the oils with Nutralite:

  • As a cooking medium: Though it’s a universally accepted fact that oils are better as a cooking medium than butter, it is always a good thing to include something new with added benefits in your routine. Nutralite will not only reduce the chances of being obese, but the dishes will also turn out quite delicious!

  • For a healthy heart: Use of Nutralite can actually be beneficial if you are at a higher risk for heart diseases. As already said, the Omega 3 fatty acids do the trick! Not all refined oils possess these.

  • Flavour ‘em: That burst of flavour in your foods like salads, while retaining the nutrients can be achieved by flavouring Nutralite with your choice of add-ons. Add a herb, chilli, saffron or any other such ingredient to the Nutralite table spread and voila! your food creations will reach another level!

10 most expensive ingredients in the world – #8 – Moose Milk Cheese

Say cheese!

So what’s our eighth expensive ingredient after Kopi Luwak, Matsutake Mushroom, Yubari Melon, Caviar, Truffles, Coffin Bay King Oysters and Hop Shoots? It is Moose Milk Cheese. Brought to you from Bjursholm, in north Sweden, and not any other major cheese producing nations like France! This Swedish cheese is at the high end of high-end. Why? Because it can only be made from the milk of three moose cows named Gullan, Haelga, and Juna. These three cows happily reside at the “Moose House” which is a 59 acre farm and is a part of The Elk House (Älgens Hus) farm in Bjurholm run by Christer and Ulla Johansson. Something as exciting as this can definitely attract visitors too – about 25,000 a year is what the Moose House does!

Talking about the price – the Moose Milk Cheese is outrageously priced at $455 per pound! Would you really want to spend this much on some cheese? Well, we leave that totally on you!

#8 – Moose Milk Cheese

Also known as one of the rarest kinds of cheese, the Moose Milk Cheese’s priciness is a result of many other attributes. It is strenuous, when to milk a single one, it takes somewhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours and each cow would only produce one gallon of milk in one day. Like this wasn’t enough, when the only time that is suitable for milking this trio is between May-September, when they are in heat and are calving. And that’s not all – the milk (containing 12% each of fats and proteins), then undergoes refrigeration and is curdled three times in a year. All this to annually produce 660 pounds of cheese!

And not to forget, the availability ain’t that easy as well. After the Moose House makes these three cheeses, they either reach the posh kitchens of upscale Swedish restaurants/hotels or are available for sampling or buying from the farm’s tasting room! So, now you know where to head for if you want to savour this expensive cheese.

With a sublime flavour, unlike cow’s milk cheese, the Moose Milk Cheese is tasty and healthy. It contains a high quantity of solids and butterfat alongwith good levels of zinc, selenium, aluminium and iron. Probably the reason why nutritionists highly recommend it and the patients of Ivan Susanin Sanitorium in Russia are served. Justifies the price as well!

So, wherever you are on this planet, if you get your hands on some of this exotic cheese or a dish that uses this cheese – do not miss the chance to try it! The entire experience will definitely be priceless!

As we move towards the final two ingredients on this list, let the ‘foodie’ in you share the thrilling stories and recipes that you end-up dishing or eating! We absolutely love receiving them and then reading and trying them in our kitchens!

10 most expensive ingredients in the world – #7 – Hop Shoots

10 most expensive ingredients in the world

So, after Kopi Luwak, Matsutake Mushroom, Yubari Melon, Caviar, Truffles and Coffin Bay King Oysters, we present a vegetable that definitely needs a mention. We are talking of the Hop Shoots that look a lot like asparagus and is available for €1,000 a kilo! We really can’t call that cheap, can we?

Why does it cost a bomb? Hop Shoots are rare, growing only in spring and don’t cultivate in an even row. So, you have to break your back hunching over each shoot while hunting for these. Besides this, these shoots are so tiny that one needs to pick about hundreds to fill a bag! Too much work for just some shoots!

#7 – Hop Shoots

A seasonal delicacy, Hop Shoots have some interesting trivia attached to them! When they begin to grow they are a deep purple in colour that changes into a perky green as soon as they morph into swirling tendrils or ‘tips.’ A flower known as a ‘burr’ is also produced by the feminine hops, and it is eventually these from which the ‘cones’ grow, that are harvested.

There’s a common practice that’s followed when growing these greens – you need to trim-off the first growth and wait for the second to come. This is done as the early ones grow very fast, and thus tend to be fragile and hollow. These, in turn, can prove to be less useful as well.

Enough said about the looks, its time for the main thing now – the taste. Epicureans around the world say that the taste of hop shoots ranges from mouth-drying, fibrous and astringent to a slight sweet, which is very asparagusish!

Nonetheless, they are quite tasty and come across with flavours that are subtle yet earthy! So much so that the Italians have a popular traditional dish of theirs dedicated to these expensive shoots – the ‘Risotto di Bruscandoli’ or simply the hop shoots risotto! Other ways to dish-up these greens are by simply sautéing or steaming them in butter with garlic and chives or you can use these to flavour your soups or make pretty garnishes or serve them with Worcestershire sauce glazed grilled chicken and mashed potatoes. Divine!

Not to forget the health benefits – rich in iron and antioxidants, and are known to help fight cancer as well as ease menopause conditions. Looks definitely can be deceiving!

Make sure you don’t miss the chance to consume it whenever you get one!

As we move on to bring to you the next expensive ingredient to feature on this list, you can share your exciting recipes and foodie stories with us. We absolutely love receiving them, read about them and try them in our kitchen. Also, don’t forget to share, as sharing is caring!

10 most expensive ingredients in the world

We already covered five out of the 10 most expensive ingredients in our bucket list – Kopi Luwak, Matsutake Mushroom, Yubari Melon, Caviar and Truffles. This time it’s something from the sea/ocean. The Coffin Bay King oyster, from Australia’s Coffin Bay, one of the most expensive seafood in the world. It is said that the best way to savour oysters is to eat them raw. Probably the reason why it hasn’t really caught on in India!

Coffin Bay King oysters sell for $100 per piece and are only found/farmed in Australia’s nutrient-rich Coffin Bay. Ready to spend this much on an oyster? Meanwhile, chew on some health facts about oysters. It is rich in Omega 3, vitamins and minerals, has less than 0.03% cholesterol and is 99% fat free!

#6 – Coffin Bay King Oysters

Often referred to as the ‘grandfather’ of all oysters, the Coffin Bay King Oyster is pricey due to its huge size – 18 centimetre long and can sometimes weigh upto 1 kilogram! Imagine shucking up such a hulk oyster! Did you know these King Oysters take about 6-7 years to grow up to this size and no one ever has been able to swallow one whole at once! For obvious reasons.

But the giant size doesn’t affect the experience that comes with its taste – with a robust aroma and a texture that doesn’t suit the looks – tender yet firm, your palette will be exposed to a range of intricate flavours with a crisp salty aftertaste. Also, these oysters are special as they have 10 times more meat than the regular normal ones. Wow factor for sure!

And how do you serve these king oysters? Raw with a slice of lemon or lime. Thus, keeping the flavours and feel of the ocean intact.

The next time you come across one of these, don’t think twice and do indulge in it for these are definitely worth a try! Plus, you will get some bragging privileges over your friends and families!

This was all about the famous Coffin Bay King Oysters. Watch this space for the next expensive ingredient. Meanwhile, share your oyster and other food tales. Also, don’t forget to share and spread the knowledge!

Onam in God’s own country

Many years ago I found myself in Kerala during Onam. Did you know that it is a 10 day festival? The atmosphere in Kerala during Onam is simply so festive! It is like Diwali here. Almost every brand has a discount offer, shops are aglitter and everybody is on a buying spree.


I spent Onam with a Malayali family to get a real taste of the festival. Onam is celebrated to re-welcome a much loved king to Kerala. Legend goes that Mahabali was a fine king who ruled over Kerala many centuries ago. During his rule, abundance and prosperity was the norm. Everybody was happy, so much so that they forgot the gods! This angered the gods and Vishnu came down to correct things. To cut a long story short, Vishnu managed to banish the king to the underworld(patal lok), but granted his wish, that once a year he could come to visit his people for 10 days and that day, things in the land would be as he left them. Hence there is an ambience of happiness and festivities for these 10 days.


There are three highlights of Onam, which is most fascinating. Onam boat races, which appealed to the sport lover in me. I was lucky to be at the Ramada Alleppy during a Masterchef shoot. The property faces the Punnamada backwaters, this is where the boat race is held. The pookalam or the highly creative and beautiful floral rangoli outside every doorstep that appealed to the creative person in me and the elaborate sadya on the plantain leaves which appealed to the food lover me!


The novelty and joy of eating piping hot food and so many items on the leaf is unsurpassed. The items range from curries to dry vegetables preparations to pickles to chips and papad to the lip smacking payassams. Truly a feast fit for a king! There is a sequence for the food served. First comes the pinch of salt, the chips, the banana, the tamarind and ginger chutney (puli inji), the pickle (usually lime or mango) and the sabzi, usually French beans with carrot with a garnish of fresh coconut, pachadi (raita) and huge papaddums. This is followed by sumptuous curries like the olan – a mild curry with a coconut milk base and with vegetables like white pumpkin and brown eyed beans, sambhar – the universal favourite, kaalan – a sour, coconut curry with yam and raw plantains amongst other vegetables, errasseri – a roasted coconut based curry, aviyal – a mixed vegetable curry and of course piping hot and spicy rasam. The meal started with a spoon of ghee on hot rice along with a small helping of plain, unsalted dal. By the time I finished this sumptuous meal my shirt buttons were popping, still I didn’t let go off the palpayassam, thick, creamy, milky with fried nuts! Heaven in God’s own country!


I have another Onam trip to Kerala on my agenda and hope it materializes soon! Meanwhile, if you have Malayali friends try and snag an invitation to a Onam sadya, soon!

10 most expensive ingredients in the world

Caviar is next on our list of the most expensive ingredients in the world, after Kopi Luwak, Matsutake Mushroom and Yubari Melon. Caviar is associated with high end parties, opulence and the good life. What exactly is caviar? It is nothing but fish roe (eggs) that are salt-cured. Its look is quite inviting – tiny black pearls. It has an exquisite flavour coupled with a smooth texture!

Not all caviars are exorbitantly expensive. So what are those varieties and what makes it oh-so-expensive? Sturgeon caviar from the waters of the Caspian Sea is the real stuff. And the Almas Beluga caviar is the most expensive as the Beluga sturgeon spawns only once in 10 years! A kilo of it can easily sell for £25,000. Oh, by the way, ‘Almas’ in Russian means diamond!

#4 – Caviar

Call it a pleasurable treat or a status symbol, caviar has long been a delicacy inspite of being one of the most expensive things to eat. Caviar, as mentioned above is made by mixing unfertilized fish roe with salt. Sounds simple, isn’t it? No, the process is quite delicate and requires skilled hands to handle.

So, when it is an ingredient this exotic, there are certain rules that have been set by connoisseurs to even consume it. To experience the nutty, buttery and creamy flavour/texture of caviar, one must eat it absolutely raw with just a dash of salt. Make sure to slowly roll the eggs inside your mouth and bite-into to get that burst of flavour. Also, if you can have it from a crystal glass, there’s nothing like it! Besides this, just to jazz it up, some restaurants serve it as a combination with cream or butter and also on thin pancakes or bread.

Here’s some trivia that might interest you:

  • One of the oldest known delicacies – Russian tsars, ancient Romans and Greeks, all have consumed it!

  • Easily perishable, caviar can last for more than a day if well refrigerated.

  • It is also called the ‘food of love.’ Caviar contains zinc which is known to increase levels of libido!

  • Caviar can be heard – when the roes are rubbed against each other, the sound is similar to that of a ‘cat’s purr.’ How cool is that?

And now a list of some of the dishes from around the world that are pricey because one of the ingredients in it is caviar. Check this out:

  1. A burger named ‘Le Burger Extravagant’ from Serendipity 3 in New York.

  2. The very desi curry that goes by the name ‘Samundari Khazana (Seafood Treasure)’ from Bombay Brasserie in London.

  3. The ‘Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata’ from Norma’s in New York (this one contains 10 ounces of Sevruga caviar – $65 per ounce!)

  4. The Florette Sea and Earth Salad from Hempel Hotel, London.

I would definitely suggest you to give it a try if you get a chance. After all, such moments in life are priceless!

We will continue with our top expensive ingredients, till then please share your experiences with the posh foodstuff. And spread the knowledge by sharing and leave your valuable feedback. We love it!

10 most expensive ingredients in the world

And we are back with the #3 most expensive ingredient in the world, after the Kopi Luwak and the Matsutake Mushroom. This one’s a little tough to believe, because it’s a melon! Yes that’s right, a melon!


The Japanese Yubari Melons – perfectly round and smooth skinned, these hybrid melons are exclusively produced in the small Japanese town of Yubari. This pretty much explains the price and that’s why we rank it third on our list of expensive ingredients!

#3 – Yubari melons

Popularly known as “Dream Melons” these perfectly cultivated Yubari melons are Japanese in origin. Crossed with two cantaloupe varieties, these melons turn out to be distinctively tasty and orange-fleshed putting it in the category of uniquely expensive fruit. So, the next time you think of gifting something unique and expensive, consider these melons! A sure shot healthy gift!

Where do I come from?

The melons, as the name indicates are grown in Yubari. This small town in Hokkaido produces a limited number each year. Best produced in volcanic soil, this melon is an outstanding combination of Spicy Cantaloupe and Earl’s Favourite. This hybrid melon comes out perfectly and proportionately sweet and delicious. And that’s why it tops in the kingdom of melons.

Melon Pudina Cocktail

Worth it?

With the high price comes great taste and texture. The amount of care and maintenance that goes into the cultivation of this fruit is surely worth the price. The standard Yubari melons at the Japanese departmental stores range between $50 and $100. The superior ones are often auctioned in Japan at prices as high as $26,000 and more.

Yubari today!

Being such a big trend, this luxury fruit is now found on the shelves of most food stores in Japan, by virtue of being incorporated into various food products.

Some packaged stuff that you see when Yubari melon is on the shelf:

  • Yubari Melon Gummy – Well oh well! Who doesn’t like gummy bears and especially when in the pricey melon’s flavour?

  • Jelly – Yubari Melon jelly? Must try!

  • Kit Kat – Chocolate and the melon! Intrigued!?

Melon Slush

Here are some melon favourites of mine which can be easily done with these beautiful Yubari melons too. Like a refreshing Watermelon and Papaya Salad, a cool Melon Slush or go a little desi with Melon Pudina ka Cocktail or my very own Sago and Melon Kheer! The trick lies in just replacing musk melon with this one.

Watermelon and Papaya Salad

So, now on whenever you visit Japan, make sure to try this ‘Dream melon’, or if you can’t afford the fresh ones, try the foodstuffs with this melon flavouring.

As we continue listing our top expensive ingredients, you are welcome to share your experiences and feedback regarding the same. And don’t forget to share and leave a comment!