Healthy Fats For Happy Eating: Exploring 6 Types Of Oils Used
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In Indian cooking, oils play a crucial role not only in enhancing flavours but also in influencing the texture and overall appeal of dishes. Different oils are preferred for specific cooking methods due to their smoke points, flavour profiles, and health benefits.

Choosing the right oil is crucial for enhancing the flavour, texture, and nutritional value of Indian dishes. Each oil brings its unique characteristics to the table, influencing the cooking process and the final taste of the food. Whether you're frying pakoras in sunflower oil, preparing biryanis with fragrant ghee, or drizzling salads with olive oil, understanding the properties and uses of different oils allows you to create culinary masterpieces with confidence. This article delves into the diverse range of oils used in Indian cuisine, providing insights into their culinary applications and nutritional values.

6 Types Of Oils And Their Uses In Indian Cooking


Ghee, or clarified butter, is a staple in Indian kitchens and is known for its rich aroma and nutty flavour. It has a high smoke point, making it ideal for frying and sautéing without burning. Ghee is commonly used in preparing sweets like halwa and ladoo, as well as in savoury dishes such as biryanis and curries. Its distinct flavour enhances the taste of dishes while imparting a velvety texture, making it a preferred choice for festive occasions and everyday cooking alike.

Mustard Oil: 

Mustard oil is another popular choice in Indian cooking, particularly in North and East India. It has a robust, pungent flavour and a high smoke point, making it suitable for deep-frying, stir-frying, and tempering spices. Mustard oil is integral to Bengali cuisine, where it is used in dishes like macher jhol (fish curry) and shorshe bata maach (mustard fish). Its unique taste adds depth to curries and pickles, making it a versatile oil in Indian kitchens.

Coconut Oil: 

Coconut oil is widely used in South Indian cooking and is celebrated for its sweet aroma and subtle coconut flavour. It has a medium smoke point, making it suitable for sautéing, baking, and even deep-frying at lower temperatures. Coconut oil is integral to Kerala's cuisine, where it is used in dishes like poriyal (stir-fried vegetables), avial (vegetable stew), appam (pancakes), and coconut-based chutneys. Its natural sweetness and aroma elevate both sweet and savoury dishes, making it a preferred choice for health-conscious cooks.

Sunflower Oil: 

Sunflower oil is prized for its neutral flavour and high smoke point, making it suitable for a wide range of cooking methods, including frying, baking, and salad dressings. It is a popular choice in Indian homes for everyday cooking due to its affordability and availability. Sunflower oil is used in preparing snacks like pakoras and samosas, as well as in making parathas and rotis. Its light texture and ability to withstand high temperatures make it a versatile option in modern Indian cooking.

Olive Oil: 

Olive oil has gained popularity in Indian kitchens for its health benefits and distinctive flavour. Extra virgin olive oil, with its fruity and peppery notes, is preferred for drizzling over salads, pasta dishes, and Mediterranean-inspired recipes. It has a low to medium smoke point, making it suitable for light sautéing and salad dressings rather than high-heat cooking. Olive oil adds a touch of Mediterranean elegance to Indian dishes like pasta salads, grilled vegetables, and marinades for meats.

Sesame Oil: 

Sesame oil, or til oil, is widely used in South Indian and Asian cuisines for its nutty flavour and high smoke point. It is a key ingredient in dishes like dosas, idlis, and sesame chicken, adding depth of flavour and aroma. Sesame oil is also valued for its health benefits because it contains antioxidants and essential fatty acids. It is commonly used in tempering spices and flavouring chutneys, imparting a distinct nuttiness to traditional Indian recipes.

By incorporating the preferred oils for baking, frying, and other cooking techniques into your kitchen repertoire, you can elevate the flavours of traditional Indian dishes and embrace healthier cooking practices.