Rapeseed oil, also known as canola oil or colza oil, has been my choice of cooking oil for many years.
I find it light and very delicate in flavour which makes it (in my eyes) the perfect all-rounder especially when it comes to cooking Indian food. Using a super expensive cold pressed olive oil didn’t really sit well with me for most of my Indian dishes and as much as I love Ghee and coconut oil they have strong aromatics of their own which don’t always work for every dish. My other issue stems from my love of Indian snacks and for those crisp samosas and lightly battered pakoras which I like to deep fry so I need a cooking oil that can be used at high temperatures.
What is rapeseed oil?
Rapeseed is the only oil that grows, is produced, and bottled in the UK. It comes from the tiny black seeds of rapeseed which are pressed to produce a golden yellow oil. Rapeseed is the plant that produces that wonderful blanket of yellow flowers we see draped across the British countryside in the summer. The plants are part of the brassica family which include vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli (even linseed) and we all know how good these are for us.
Cold pressed Rapeseed
Oil Usually called premium, virgin or extra virgin and comes from the first press and is usually more expensive.
Standard Rapeseed Oil
This comes from the second pressing of rapeseed or can be heat pressed so it’s not pure as the cold pressed variety. This is usually labelled ‘vegetable oil’.
As an added bonus Rapeseed oil has been found to be a healthy oil choice so not only is it versatile in its uses and tastes great but it is also a great cooking oil choice. Use of local rapeseed oils is really starting to gain momentum in the UK and many chefs and home cooks are now starting to enjoy it for both its health and culinary benefits.
Rapeseed Oil Benefits
There are a number of reasons why Rapeseed oil is deemed to be a ‘healthier choice’
- It has less unhealthy saturated fat.
- Because it is high in mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats omega 3, 6 and 9, it helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels (as part of a healthy and balanced diet). This all helps to maintain a healthy heart.
- It is a good source of vitamin E.
And, for the chef in you:
- Rapeseed oil can be used at high temperatures which means the oil doesn’t oxidise (and olive oil can) which leads to the production of harmful chemicals.
- It also won’t burn or smoke so is perfect for roasting, frying.
- Because it has a wonderfully delicate flavour it is delicious cold, either in dressings and marinades or to drizzle. If you are using it to drizzle then be aware that it doesn’t contain polyphenols, unlike extra-virgin olive oil which does.
Cooking with Rapeseed Oil
Like a fine wine, different rapeseeds give a spectrum of different flavoured oils. Many producers have spent a lot of time and energy refining the seeds they use to create their own specific blends. Different producers have perfected their brand’s flavour over the years and they are very protective about it.
As I have already mentioned, the light flavour of rapeseed oil means that it is perfectly suited to Indian food allowing the best of your flavours to come from the other ingredients in the dish. I have used it to make delicious spiced masalas, I have deep fried pakoras and samosas in it as well as pan frying fish and even cooking homemade chutneys. It is also great for making hummus, mayonnaise and can be used in your baking as a healthier alternative to butter.
I am so in love with rapeseed oil that I have spent a lot of time working with Kentish Oils to understand how they produce such a wonderful local oil. Together we have developed my own range of rapeseed oil which is specially made to complement and enhance Indian flavours and is perfect for your curries. If you are looking to swap to a new cooking oil then please do give rapeseed oil a go.
You can also find out more here - RapeseedOilBenefits.comBack to Cooking guides