Recently, I was the lucky recipient of a sample* of coconut oil from Nutiva, and I wanted to ask you, dear readers, for your thoughts and advice.
Coconut oil is a striking, unusual oil. It’s more expensive than standard cooking oils (like olive oil, soybean oil or corn oil), but yet it's also superior in some ways. After all, regular oils are bland--they’re supposed to be!--and they just do their jobs: lubricating a cooking surface, acting as medium to sauté veggies and temper spices, and so on.
Coconut oil does these things too, but with some added bonuses. It’s solid at room temperature (it melts at about 76F/24C) so it makes cooking, handling and cleanup a lot easier. It has a relatively high smoke point of 350F/175C, higher than butter, although somewhat lower than some other typical cooking oils.
But the biggest bonus is of coconut oil is that it’s fragrant--temptingly and deliciously so. And yet therein lies a challenge: a fragrant oil will really help out some recipes... but perhaps hinder others.
And here’s where I'd like to ask my readers for their advice. What recipes would you use coconut oil with?
I can imagine many Asian and Indian recipes benefitting immensely with coconut oil. I've repeatedly made my Easy Fried Rice with coconut oil and it comes out better than ever. My Coconut Curry with Collard Greens and Black-Eyed Peas and Thai Tofu in Lime Sauce are obviously suitable recipes too. Even this week's delicious and easy Curried Chickpeas and Tofu would benefit from coconut oil instead of a plain-jane oil.
And yet, I’m not sure I want my next batch of fresh basil pesto to smell like coconuts, so I’d probably continue to use olive oil with that recipe. But then again, maybe coconut oil would be an intriguing idea here too?
Readers, what oils do you use for which types of cooking? Have you tried coconut oil, and what did you think? Share your thoughts below!
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* Other than receiving two small trial containers of coconut oil from Nutiva, I was not compensated for this post. I was also quite impressed with the product. As always, my opinions here at Casual Kitchen are my own.