Does the term PAM ring a bell to you? Not many people in the eastern hemisphere will know that it is a popular brand of a cooking spray. A cooking spray would appeal to someone who is health conscious, since it reduces the amount of oil needed for cooking. I guess one reason it didn’t catch on here (in Singapore and South East Asia in general) is that we mostly prefer our food to be on the oily side. Nevertheless, the idea was intriguing enough to me that i wanted to give it a try.
The commercial type of cooking spray (like PAM) is almost exclusively produced and sold in the US. The only way to get them in Singapore is probably to have friends or visitors to the US bring them back. It may be possible mail order and ship them over, but i imagine it may not be cost effective since there’s probably a premium to pay for shipping such a sensitive product – it is an aerosol can, which can be dangerous. Anyway, despite the supposed lower calories benefit it brings, there are downsides to using the commercial cooking spray, since it contains potentially harmful chemicals. For these reasons, i decided that i will not use it. I would go for an alternative method – an oil spray.
An oil spray is like the perfume bottle that releases a mist when you press the spray nozzle. When spraying oil however, you will not get a mist but more of small jet streams. Though not ideal, it does the job of spreading the oil somewhat more evenly to a larger surface area than pouring, which gives the food you are cooking a more even exposure to oil. I can’t say for sure that this results in a noticeable difference to the end product of what you cook, nor am i bothered to scientifically prove that this uses much less oil, but i still like the idea of using an oil spray. The one downside is that the oil tends to leak down the sides of the bottle.
Surprisingly, an oil spray is quite easily found in local (Singapore) online shopping sites at competitive prices, so there’s no real need to buy from Taobao. Anyway, in case you’re interested, this was the one I bought (update: they have replaced the model with a glass bottle one). I got it at 58 Yuan (about S$13), but the glass bottle version is only 28 Yuan (about S$6.20). I like that it is made of high grade stainless steel with minimal plastic parts. You could even make your own oil spray if you wanted to, but for safety reasons, I would rather buy one (with the hope that the manufacturer used food grade material).
Splatter produced by the oil spray. It is still mostly concentrated in the middle.
Update: i hardly use the oil spray these days, because the oil tends to turn rancid very quickly, and to be honest, food taste better with more oil. Yes, you’ll need to pour to get enough oil in the food.