types of cooking oil

Cooking Oil – Different types and uses of cooking oil

People often wonder about the right type of cooking oil to be used. Its not a hard and  fast rule that you use a particular cooking oil just because your mom used the same. There are a variety of cooking oils available with different tastes and other properties. Let us take a look at each of them.

types of cooking oil                                            Photo Credits yasmapaz

Types Of Cooking Oil

Groundnut Oil

This cooking oil is extracted from groundnuts, has a mild taste and is used liberally in cooking and for frying. It has many health benefits. Since it is a mono saturated fat, it lowers your overall cholesterol level, lowers the level of bad cholesterol in your blood(LDL – Low density lipoprotein) without affecting the level of  good cholesterol(High Density Lipoprotein). It lowers your blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. It assists in weight loss. Refined groundnut oil is the best. It is clean and free from suspended particles and odor.

Popular brands of groundnut oil
Guinea Double Filtered Pure Groundnut Oil, Marico’s Sweekar groundnut oil, Postman.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is commonly used for cooking as a frying oil. Sunflower oil is produced from oil type sunflower seeds. It is light in taste and is a very good source of  high vitamin E. It has both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with low saturated fat levels. It helps in lowering bad cholestrol levels. Phytonutrients like phenolic acid and choline eliminate the risk of heart diseases.In addition, it has vitamin E, vitamin B, folic acid and Omega-6 fatty acids which are highly beneficial to the human body. Sunflower oil can be used in high temperatures and hence is an ideal cooking oil for frying. Food cooked with sunflower oil stays fresh for a long time.

Popular brands of sunflower oil
Ruchi sunflower oil, Godrej sunflower oil, Sweekar sunflower oil, Sundrop sunflower oil,Vista brand.

Olive Oil

Olive oil was once restricted to mediterranean diet, but now it is widely used in cuisines all over the world. It is now considered as the healthiest of all edible oils. Olive oil is high in monosaturated fats and polyphenols which is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are very beneficial because they help the body get rid of free radicals thereby prolonging the ageing process of the body. Olive oil keeps the heart healthy.

Grades Of Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil

This is the highest grade of Olive Oil. It is produced by mechanical extraction methods with no chemical treatment. It results from the first pressing of the olive fruit within 24 hours of harvesting. Acidity level is an important factor that determines the grade of olive oil. Oil of the highest grade must have the lowest level of acidity. Extra virgin olive oil has  an  acidity level of less than one percent. It also has perfect aroma, color and flavor. It cannot be used for frying and cooking at high temperatures as it loses its original chemical composition and flavor. Extra virgin olive oil can be used in salad dressings, flavorings and dips etc.

Pure Olive Oil

“Pure” olive oil is made by adding a little extra virgin olive oil to refined olive oil. This oil is of intermediate grade with  medium flavour and aroma. This is used for meditarranean and continental cooking, in pastries and doughs and also for mild frying.

Olive Pomace Oil

This is a cooking oil that is suitable for Indian cuisine. It has neutral taste and flavor. It does not change taste and texture even in high temperatures. It is ideal for deep frying and cooking at high temperatures. It is also less expensive that the other varieties of olive oil.

Olive oil must be kept away from heat and light. It must be stored in a dark and cool place, tightly closed in an air tight bottle or container. Constant exposure to light and heat may make the oil putrid and foul smelling.

Popular brands of Olive Oil – Bertolli olive oil, Leonardo Olive Oil

Rice Bran Oil

This cooking oil is extracted from the inner husk of the rice kernel. It is rich in vitamin E and oryzanol. Rice bran oil is widely used as an edible oil in  Japan, Korea, China, India, Taiwan and Thailand. It reduces cholesterol thereby reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Rice bran oil is ideal for people with food allergies. It also provides relief from menopause symptoms.
Popular brands of rice bran oil – Ricela, Tithi brand refined rice bran oil.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an edible cooking oil extracted from the fully dried kernel of a matured coconut. It is suitable for frying at high temperatures. Coconut oil boosts immunity of the body. Since it contains saturated fats, it is widely believed that coconut oil is harmful for the body. But like other vegetable oils, saturated fats in coconut oil do not increase bad cholesterol levels. It  prevents high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure due to the presence of 50% lauric acid. It helps in proper functioning of the thyroid and aids digestion; helps people suffering from acid reflux.
Popular cooking grade coconut oil brands in India – Kera, Shudhi

Mustard Oil

Mustard oil is a cooking oil  obtained from black and white mustard seeds. Mustard oil has a strong spicy odor and a strong flavor. This is mostly used in north and north east India for cooking. It is considered fit for external use only, in some countries. Mustard oil has many benefits – It is good for the digestive and circulatory system. It is used in body massages as it gives warmth. It can cure you from cold and cough.
Popular Indian brands of mustard oil– Sunrise, Mustraj manufactured by Raj Oil Mills

Canola Oil

This cooking oil is extracted by crushing the canola seed. It contains very low levels of saturated fatty acids and has high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids. This reduces blood cholesterol levels. It is good source of vitamin E.

Popular brands are Hudson Canola Oil.

Sesame Oil (Til Oil)

Sesame oil also known as til oil or gingelly oil is extracted from Sesame seeds. It is used as a cooking oil and a flavor enhancer in south Asian cuisine. It is rich in polyunsaturated fats and vitamin E. It lowers cholestrol and blood pressure.

Popular brands are Til Raj by Raj Oil Mills, India and Kadoya sesame oil from Japan

Of these, coconut oil and mustard oil have a particular aroma and taste, which may not be relished by everyone. Sunflower and Groundnut oil have a neutral taste.You may try out different types of cooking oil and see which suits your style of cooking the best. Points to consider include nutritional attributes, health benefits, shelf-life and cost of each type of cooking oil.