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Chinese food cooking question...what kind of oil?

  • j

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!

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        3 Replies
        1. re: bdumes

          Because peanut allergy and the cost, very few chinese restaurants use peanut oil. Most of them use soy oil or some sort of vegetable oil. It is cheap, flavorless and has a high smoking point.

          1. re: PBSF

            I've seen some restaurants using corn oil (Mazola) because it is cheap. I prefer the flavor of peanut oil and that is what I use at home

            1. re: PBSF

              I am getting conflicting replies about the use of peanut oil in China. I have an allergic reaction to peanut oil. How do you know that few Chinese restaurants (in China) use peanut oil? I've been told that many of these restaurants spray their cookware with it.

          2. I use peanut oil too, haven't noticed it adds any taste of its own to the food.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cheryl_h

              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).

              1. re: OCAnn

                Sesame oil has a very low smoking point. It is not use in cooking but as a flavoring oil.

                1. re: PBSF

                  Sesame oil is also too strongly flavored to be used in cooking, unless you're cooking something you want to taste like sesame.

                  1. re: Pei

                    Sesame oil is not used for cooking like that. Its used more like pepper to bring the flavors out right before the dish is served.

                  2. re: PBSF

                    Yes, this is what I meant. Add peanut oil to the cooking oil for infused flavour.

                  3. re: OCAnn

                    Just a note on sesame oil - There is a blend of sesame/soy bean oil that can be used for cooking. The flavor is lighter than the full sesame and is very good in stir fry dishes.