Different global cuisines often stand out because of the distinctive blend of herbs and spices used in the recipes, but the type of cooking oil used also makes a difference to any dish being created.
Most cooking oils from around the world are now commercially available in western countries, but which are the most popular cooking oils used in different regions of the planet? Let’s find out.
1. Olive Oil
As you would presume, olive oil is obtained from olives. The olive tree that produces the fruits traditionally grows in the Mediterranean Basin. Olive oil is widely used in Mediterranean and Southern European cuisines.
Almost half of the global production of olive oil happens in Spain. Other major producers are Italy, Greece, Tunisia, and Turkey.
The consumption of olive oil is highest in Greece, followed by Italy and then Spain. Olive oil is also popularly used in cooking in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel. The North African countries of Morocco and Egypt also widely use cooking oil.
While olive oil makes a wonderful oil for cooking many dishes, especially for frying foods and using it as a salad dressing, it’s also commonly used in cosmetics, soaps, and pharmaceuticals. It can even be used as fuel for traditional oil lamps.
Olive oil is a versatile type of cooking oil, so you can try out many different dishes. Get started by checking out these twenty-five recipes that make olive oil the star.
And when you’re done cooking, you should consider how you’re going to dispose of the oil. You can make a positive environmental impact by recycling your used olive oil into a component of biofuel.
Find out more about how to dispose of cooking oil in an environmentally-friendly manner.
2. Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is a vegetable oil derived from peanuts. It’s also known as groundnut oil and Arachis oil. Peanut oil consists of 17% saturated fat, 32% polyunsaturated fat, and 46% monounsaturated fat.
Standard peanut oil has a mild or neutral flavor. However, peanut oil made with roasted peanuts has a stronger flavor.
China and India are the biggest producers of peanut oil, and the oil is also commonly used in those two countries for cooking. Peanut oil is often used in other Asian cuisines as well. It’s popularly used in African and American cuisines too.
If you want to try out some authentic Indian dishes using peanut oil, such as mixed sprouts poha or broccoli and paneer tikki, check out this fabulous selection of recipes using peanut oil.
3. Coconut Oil
Derived from the coconut palm fruit, coconut oil has been used for cooking in Asia for a long time, especially in the abundant coconut palm regions.
It’s commonly used in Sri Lankan cuisine for frying and sautéing, in savory and sweet dishes. Coconut oil is also prominently used in the cuisines of Thailand and the Indian state of Kerala. It’s often used in the cuisines of Pakistan and Bangladesh too.
While coconut oil is ideal for cooking many dishes, and the unrefined varieties have sumptuous coconut aromas, the oil contains high saturated fats. Therefore, its consumption should be limited.
4. Sesame Oil
Derived from sesame seeds, sesame oil is the earliest-known crop-based oil.
While its worldwide production is limited compared to other cooking oils, due to the inefficient harvesting process required to extract the oil, it’s still very popular in many countries.
Its highest popularity comes from continental Asia, particularly East Asia and certain states of South India.
Sesame oil is made from raw seeds. The oil has a high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids, but among cooking oils with high smoke points, it’s the least prone to turn rancid when left out in the open. That’s because it contains natural antioxidants.
If you’re not used to cooking with sesame oil, get started by checking out these eleven sesame oil recipe ideas.
5. Red Palm Oil
Palm oil is derived from the fruit of oil palms. As well as being used in food, palm oil is used for making beauty products and biofuels.
It’s only since the mid-1990s that red palm oil has been cold-pressed and bottled as a cooking oil. Red palm oil contains around 50% saturated fat, but it also contains vitamin E, sterols, and carotenoids.
White palm oil is also available, which is made by processing and refining the fruit of oil palms until it loses its deep red color. White palm oil is generally used in manufactured foods like chips and peanut butter.
Red palm oil is mostly used in Western African and Brazilian cuisines as a cooking oil.