I had some tempura that were very good. Had a sweet-potato-ey, nutty taste to it, not greasy at all. When I asked the manager about these excellent tempura, she said they used rice bran oil.
I don't know if the sweet-potato-ey/nutty taste can be attributed to the oil (I was suspecting the batter as well). Can anybody vouch for the taste that rice bran oil might or might not add to food?
>>Had a sweet-potato-ey, nutty taste to it, not greasy at all. <<
That (slightly) nutty taste is from the rice bran oil. It's relatively taste-neutral, but it does have a slight nutty flavor to it. The non-greasiness is most likely from the chef's deft hand at frying - I'm guessing any fried food will come out greasy if not cooked at the right temp for the right amount of time.
Rice Oil has NO cholesterol, and price wise, is probably one of the healthiest oils you can use. It is great for baking, salad dressings, and high heat cooking.
We use Tophe Rice Bran Oil because it is the only oil bottled from US Rice. The other oils are imported, and we prefer using a domestic oil since it is fresher.
This site has it in bottles, half-gallons, and 5 gallon boxes: http://www.honestfoods.com/topgriloil.html. We also can find it at Barbeques Galore nationally. The Williams Sonoma Rice Bran Oil is also domestic.
I haven't tried rice oil, but I've been trying other oils that have a high smoking point, because I learned that when you cook with olive oil at a high heat , it turns into trans fats. Yikes.
Good ones to consider are macadamia nut oil (macnutoil.com) and tea oil (republicoftea.com). Both are super heart-healthy (high in monounsaturated fats.)
Rice Oil is made from rice bran.It touts to have little to no cholestrol, has a high burn point (great for deep fry), and is tasteless. More asian restaurants are using this oil since customers have developed allergies to peanut oil. Numerous studies show rice bran oil reduces the harmful cholesterol (LDL) without reducing good cholesterol (HDL).
It costs a little more to purchase - but can be found in health food stores, asian markets, and upscale gourmet markets. One brand is California Rice Oil - but I used a rice oil made in Japan.