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Jan 22, 2013 08:52 AM

Peanut Oil: What's So Great?

A Balinese recipe I'm preparing tomorrow night calls for fish to be fried in peanut oil. I was going to buy some peanut oil but balked at a price easily five times as high as vegetable oil. Is peanut oil really so superior as to justify the price? Is the difference in the final product on your plate really that pronounced?

--Signed Mr. Skeptical

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  1. peanut oil has a high smoking point and with some dishes you do get a slight nuttiness from it. It is my go to for popcorn and stir fries. However I am sure you can use vegetable oil for the fish with the no discernible difference in the end result.

    edited to add that I buy it at any asian grocery store, in small amounts, as it can get rancid pretty quickly. It is not significantly more expansive than their vegetable oil.

    1. Well, peanut oil does have a higher smoke point, and it has a nutty favor as foodieX2 has stated. In my view, you can probably use corn oil for frying your fish. Is it deep fry or pan fry? Vegetable oil is a mix of many oil, so I don't know how it will work. I tried vegetable oil a few times, but I don't like its favor.

      4 Replies
        1. re: Perilagu Khan

          In which case, I don't think it is very important. If you like some peanut favor (which is important sometime), then I would just grind some peanut (coarse or fine ground) into your dish. You can pan roast the peanut first or you can simply cook it with the fish. Good luck. (Yes, peanut oil is very expensive compared to corn oil or vegetable oil). 2-3 time I think.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Fry the peanuts in the oil you will be using for the fish.

        2. I often use canola as a substitute, works fine. They're both neutral tasting.

          1 Reply
          1. re: treb

            For many people with sensitive palates, canola when used for high-temp frying produces fishy flavor notes. It's the result of its fat profile. I am OK with canola for raw use, but as a frying oil it's a crap oil so far as I and many others are concerned (though it has a wonderful PR promotion campaign).

          2. I haven't used peanut oil in quite awhile, so did not realize it was so expensive. I recommend grape seed oil for a neutral flavor and high smoke point. This is not the cheapest oil, but I don't think it is quite that high, or I wouldn't have bought it.