Chinese Recipes>>Glossary Of Chinese Ingredients

Chinese Cooking Oils

Pubtime:2009-12-18

In Chinese cuisine, oil is used for frying while as an ingredient for some dishes. Normally people use peanut oil for almost everything from deep-frying to stir-frying because of its high smoke point and the pleasant nutty flavor. There are also other types of oil, including vegetable oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, soy bean oil, olive oil, corn oil and so on. To hammer it home, do you really know which kind of oil is best use for frying or how to store them respectfully? Here are some suggestions.

chinese cooking oils


Vegetable Oil:
Vegetable oil is probably the most commonly used oil. It can be used in both frying and seasoning. Vegetable oil is actually a combination of different oils, such as sunflower, corn, soybean and palm oil. The most common used vegetable oil is called Canola oil; it is low in saturated fat content and high in mono unsaturated fat.

Peanut Oil:
When meat is fried in very high temperature, such as deep-frying beef, and other meat, peanut oil is the great option. Some people love its nutty flavor as well.

Corn Oil
Corn oil is low in saturated and mono unsaturated fats therefore it is indeed very healthy oil. And as the smoking point is not that high, it is recommended that you use it only when frying on medium - high temperatures.

Sunflower Oil
Sunflower Oil is made from the seeds of sunflower, which are rich in vitamin E and low in saturated fats as well. It can be used in frying and in salad dressings.

Grape seed Oil:
The name implies that grape seed oil is made from the seeds of grapes, like peanut oil, grape seed oil also has a high smoke point, about 420 degrees F, which is perfect for frying. Meanwhile, its healthy benefits are as great as olive oil, but with a more neutral flavor than olive oil, grape seed oil is becoming more and more popular for stir-frying in both American and Chinese cooking.
Nutritionally grape seed oil a very healthy cooking oil which is quite similar to olive oil, it is low in saturated fat and high in polyunsaturated fat, which can help raise HDL levels, while rich in a type of essential fatty acid - linoleum acid, which, like the Omega-3 fatty acids that found in salmon, must be obtained from food and can’t be manufactured by our own bodies.

Olive Oil:
Olive oil is the healthiest oil in the world, cooking with olive oil is good for your heart. It is low in unhealthy saturated and polyunsaturated fat meanwhile high in mono unsaturated fats, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke by lowering the level of LDL cholesterol, while increasing the level of good cholesterol (HDL) that removes cholesterol buildup from the arteries.

There are three different varieties: extra virgin, virgin, and olive oil (also called as standard or pure olive oil). When you are using olive oil for stir-frying, you can always feel free to use the pure olive oil as its little bite higher smoking point that can stand the high heat needed for stir-frying. Extra virgin olive oil is the best choice when you want dressing your favorite salads, or used as substitution for butter when you dress green vegetables. Olive oil is best used in stir-frying and seasoning only, when it comes to deep-frying, however, it is another story, it is low in smoking point thus can not stand the heat when deep-frying but you can use other types oil, such as peanut oil or canola.
It is said that eating about two tablespoons, about 23 grams of olive oil every day may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease thanks to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil.
Store your olive oil in a dark cool place, or refrigerate it, if necessary.

Sesame Oil:
Sesame oil is used primarily for seasoning, like added to a stir-fry at the end of cooking to enhance the flavor, or serve as a seasoning added in salads. For frying, sesame oil is not that good with its low temperature, when heating; it will release a strong flavor and makes it unsuitable for frying.

Storage:
It is best to store oils in a dark, cool, and dry place at room temperature; in this case oils will last for 6 – 12 months or so.

How to add oil to a wok:
When you are cooking, you will probably face this problem: the oil you added in always stay on the bottom of the wok, when you push vegetable to the sides of the wok, there is no oil left, here are some suggestions:
First, preheat the wok over medium high heat for at least 30 seconds, then swirl the oil around it, move the wok back and forth by its side to let the oil coat both the sides and the bottom of the wok, through this way, the oil will heat faster and most parts of the wok is well-coated. Besides, you can also use a spatula to coat the sides of the wok with oil.

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