Chinese food cooking question...what kind of oil?
Not sure if I should post here or on the China Board but what the heck.
The question is what type of oil? In my home cooking, I generally use peanut oil which I buy in large containers from the 99 ranch. But is that really what is authentically used in China or are they using something less expensive?
inquiring minds want to know!
I don't know about China, but in the Chinese restaurant kitchens I've been in (one I worked in, and two belonging to uncles), peanut was the oil of choice.
Definitely peanut oil. It has a high smoking point, which is a must for commercial Chinese cooking.
At home, I'm not sure most stoves get hot enough to even really take advantage of peanut's high smoke point. I found it to be a little too peanuty tasting for me. I use grapeseed oil, which has a pleasant but neutral (does that make sense?) flavor and also a high smoke point.
I love using peanut oil, but my step-son has a nut allgery (I know that the peanut isn't a nut, but like most people with nut allergies, he is also allergic to peanuts) so I can't often use it.
However, one thing you shouldn't get cheap about is oil. You use a relatively small amount and it makes a huge difference in cooking in every way. However, if you're going to buy it in big amounts, make sure you use a lot of it because oil does go rancid.
some cheaper, highly refined peanut oils don't have much peanut flavor...if any. On the other hand, the most expensive ones have too much peanut flavor, imo. It takes some trail and error find a the right balance of flavor/price...or dilute some of the powerful stuff with a neutral oil.
Anyway, if you're doing it right, standard veg oil can give you plenty of flavor (see my above post).