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Cooking oil and Chinese food


hzrt8w

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In Hong Kong, the favorite cooking oil is peanut oil. Peanut oil is not as regularly available in the USA. I have used corn oil, vegetable oil and canola oil to cook most of my Chinese dishes. All of them work okay, although I prefer peanut oil. What I don't usually use is olive oil because of its low boiling point. But my wife likes to use olive oil to sautee Chinese vegetables with garlic and salt. It tastes pretty good, actually. But I don't think I will use olive oil in cooking my stir-fried dishes.

I am wondering what kind of cooking oil you all use to make Chinese stir-fried dishes?

Pork fat or chicken fat, anybody?

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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I use safflower oil as a neutral oil for just about everything. Used to use peanut oil until my oldest showed a peanut allergy. Canola oil tastes fishy when heated to high temperatures, at least to me.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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I'm an olive oil sort of guy - at first it tasted really out of place - now I like it.

High temp cooking - I've recently switched to Grapeseed oil which has a high smoking point and tastes very neutral. I agree with Tejon- canola has an off fishy taste that permeates everything cooked in it. Even though its super healthy - I've stopped using it.

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I mainly use peanut oil, but also occasionally use corn oil if a want a more neutral taste.

I also frequently use pig fat (lard) for stir frying vegetables.

There is a big bottle of olive oil on the shelf, but that never gets used with Chinese food.

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At first it was peanut oil, then I went to canola. The cans in the restaurants always said 'soybean oil' on them, but I never could find it in the supermarkets ----- until one of my students told me that the bottles that said 'vegetable oil' in the supermarkets was, in fact, soy bean oil! So that is what I now use.

Never olive oil for Chinese.

One time in China I had some snow peas and I swear thee was a butter flavoring aded to the dish. So now, when I stir/fry them, I add a small bit at the end. Not to cook them, but to add a flavor along with the other flavors.

I see some Chinese diet recipes call for a bit of sesame oil along with a bit of regular oil when stir-frying. I figure that must be to scent the air so as to make a dish with only a small amount of oil in it more intriguing.

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I was skeptical at first in using olive oil to stir-fry Chinese vegetables. But I am a converted. Olive oil has its own characteristics taste. Simply stir-fry with a bit of salt and garlic. Taste pretty good actually. (Bok choy and Chinese broccoli)

This is not about authenticity. Just about taste.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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In Hong Kong, the favorite cooking oil is peanut oil.  Peanut oil is not as regularly available in the USA.  I have used corn oil, vegetable oil and canola oil to cook most of my Chinese dishes.  All of them work okay, although I prefer peanut oil.  What I don't usually use is olive oil because of its low boiling point.  But my wife likes to use olive oil to sautee Chinese vegetables with garlic and salt.  It tastes pretty good, actually.  But I don't think I will use olive oil in cooking my stir-fried dishes.

I am wondering what kind of cooking oil you all use to make Chinese stir-fried dishes?

Pork fat or chicken fat, anybody?

Traditionally the type of "Peanut Oil" used in Hong Kong is not nearly as refined as any domestic (USA) peanut oil.

The effect of Hong Kong Peanut Oil provides much better "Wok Hui", with it's lower smoke point.

Most people put some garlic cloves and ginger into the hot oil before cooking to remove the Peanut Taste it's always removed before cooking.

In 2006 Vegetable Oils are more popular as they are less expensive then the Chinese or locally produced Peanut Oils, but the better Restaurants still prefer using the Peanut Oils.

The first pressing of the Peanuts utilized for Oils is the major source of Fish Food at all the local ponds or brackish, salt water farms. It is effective in raising the fish fatter and better tasting. Brands like "Planters" are not acceptable as they have no taste from peanuts.

Irwin

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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Defintely peanut oil, love the stuff. I wish that I knew of a brand that had a more pronounced peanut flavor. But then, the smoke point would be lower, correct?

Second choice would be soybean oil. But only if I *have* to. :rolleyes:

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I use peanut for Chinese, olive for Mediterranean.

To me, the real comparison is between olive oil, and the combination of peanut oil with a spritz of sesame oil. Sometimes, as an experiment, I use peanut oil on a Mediterranean dish, then give it a dash of sesame oil. That works quite well. Olive oil doesn't need the same "lift."

I have never tried to do a Chinese dish in a fragrant olive oil (but NO sesame oil.) That would be interesting.

BB

Food is all about history and geography.

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The first pressing of the Peanuts utilized for Oils is the major source of Fish Food at all the local ponds or brackish, salt water farms. It is effective in raising the fish fatter and better tasting.

Irwin

Back in the village days, my father started a small peanut oil plant, (besides his rice milling operation and general store and liquor distillery :biggrin: ). After the pressing, the peanut residue came out of the press in big ten inch disks about2 inches thick. My eldest brother and young uncle were about 4-5 years old at the time and love to eat these peanut "cakes". One day they went into the store room and had an orgy of eating.

Not a good idea, because in a couple of hours after drinking copious amounts of water to slake their thirst, the ingested peanut residue started to swell their bellies and they were in agony. They didn't like the subsequent purgings too much. :laugh:

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i use the mildest possible olive oil for cooking everything. it's so mild that i hardly notice olive oil taste. and for certain food i use gras de canard. [note: sometimes only]

in Cambodia once i saw the Vietnamese use a huge chunk of pork fat with a (chop)stick in the middle as a handle. my lovely sizzling filled crepes were made with this fat in a wok.

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I sometimes make fried rice using Onion Flavored Nyafat, a vegetarian and kosher product which is as close to pork fat as a nice Jewish girl is supposed to get. Sometimes, I will render bacon or other meat and use that fat to stir fry, supplemented with "1/2" canola/soybean oil (I said I was a nice Jewish girl - not that I keep kosher).

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Most people put some garlic cloves and ginger into the hot oil before cooking to remove the Peanut Taste it's always removed before cooking.

This brought back a cooking tip I remember from one of the first Chinese cookbooks I ever bought some 30 years ago. The tip was that when reusing (strained) peanut oil for deep frying, the next time it's heated up you should heat it up with some scallion and ginger to remove whatever odor the previous frying might have imparted to the oil.

For cooking sweet dishes or desserts, Madame Wong suggests that fresh oil be used!

And the book was Madame Wong's LONG-LIFE CHINESES COOKBOOK by S. T. Ting Wong, published in 1977.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Most people put some garlic cloves and ginger into the hot oil before cooking to remove the Peanut Taste it's always removed before cooking.

The tip was that when reusing (strained) peanut oil for deep frying, the next time it's heated up you should heat it up with some scallion and ginger to remove whatever odor the previous frying might have imparted to the oil.

I've heard of using a slice of raw potato to absorb odours in cooking oil. Ginger and scallion would add their own odour to the oil? :unsure:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I use a neutral vegetable oil for cooking Chinese food. Interesting the comments on the difference in flavor between Chinese peanut oils nad Planters. Maybe that's wht I was never impressed by using peanut oil to cook Chinese food at home! (Gotta go get an imported brand!)

I'm also curious about the couple of comments on using extra-virgin olive oil. The one time I used extra-virgin olive oil to stir-fry a Mediterranean-style dish, I scorched my wok irreparably and had to buy a new one!

SuzySushi

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It depends. Most of the time I'll use olive oil because that's what I have on hand. I have some canola and I need to get peanut oil because I believe that is what we're supposed to use to keep it traditional. Also, it just smells so darn good when you're cooking.

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It depends - I mostly use Peanut Oil for everyday stir-fries (Lion & Globe brand when I can find it). For any vegetable stir fry, chicken fat is my preferred medium and for shellfish stir-fries, it's pork fat all the way.

Olive oil in a Chinese stirfry - not happenin'. ;)

Hope this helps - JH

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I use vegetable oil, canola because it's a product of the prairies. :smile:

I used some of the fat trimmed off lap yuk and lap gnap the other night. When I was ready to cook the Shanghai bak choi, I "rendered" the fat in the wok then added the vegetables. It was very good.

Wouldn't pork fat detract from the flavour of seafood?

I use bacon in my Boston clam chowder, but haven't tried pork fat for seafood stir-fries.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I use vegetable oil, canola because it's a product of the prairies. :smile:

I used some of the fat trimmed off lap yuk and lap gnap the other night. When I was ready to cook the Shanghai bak choi, I "rendered" the fat in the wok then added the vegetables. It was very good.

Wouldn't pork fat detract from the flavour of seafood?

I use bacon in my Boston clam chowder, but haven't tried pork fat for seafood stir-fries.

Pork fat adds an indefinable succulence to shellfish stirfries, whereas I find chicken fat is to easily identifiable. If I am not mistaken, Fujianese cuisine has been stirfrying shellfish with lard for centuries, which is where I believe I picked up the trick.

Try the difference - you'll be amazed. :)

cheers, JH

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