Over the years, I have seen many people getting confused about different types of olive oils available in grocery stores.
Since it is considered as a healthy alternative to regular edible oils, they just buy something that may be selling at low or discounted price. I don’t think this is the right way to select olive oil for cooking.
You will need to understand certain aspects of this oil to get the best out of it.
In this post, I’ll try to simplify all the confusion over this topic of using olive oil for Indian cooking. It will surely help you in your next purchase.
So, let’s begin!
Types of Olive Oil
For those who don’t know, there are four major types of olive oils available for consumption. You may also find more varieties in your grocery stores, but let’s stick to these important types for now.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Virgin Olive Oil
- Pure Olive Oil
- Olive Pomace Oil
All these oils are different from each other, as the techniques involved in their extraction process are quite distinct in characteristics. Hence, you should select them accordingly.
What’s the best olive oil for Indian cooking?
Well, the answer is simple! You can use all types of olive oils in Indian cooking, but please read the following points carefully before dancing with joy.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil –
It is a superior grade olive oil and contains very less acidity i.e. around 0.8%. Due to its unique extraction process, it retains the fruity taste in the final product. Of course, you will also see slightly dark color to it as compared to other varieties.
Usage in cooking: Salad Dressings, Meat dressings & marinations, Chutneys or Dips etc.; use it as a condiment.
Note – Although it can be used for daily cooking, it will lose its flavor and aroma quickly. So, there is no point in purchasing extra virgin oil, if you’re going to cook food at the relatively high heat.
For maximum health benefits, you should try to avoid heating up this oil.
Virgin Olive Oil –
It is extracted with a similar process but contains a higher level of Oleic acid i.e. around 1.5-2%. However, it still possesses mild fruit-like taste. As far as color is concerned, it’s fainter in its shade.
Usage in cooking: Stir-frying, Sauté-ing, Baking, etc.
Note – Even though you can use this oil for Indian cooking methods, don’t use it to cook at high temperature. Like the extra virgin, it will also start losing beneficial properties in such heat.
Pure Olive Oil –
It’s generally a low-quality oil in this category, as it undergoes refining process along with the inclusion of several other ingredients. This industrial process makes the oil lose almost all its properties including taste, flavor, color, and aroma. Some producers blend this oil with Virgin Olive Oil to bring back some of the lost elements.
Usage in cooking: All purpose oil; can be used for most of the preparation methods.
Note – If you want to taste some characteristics of olive oil, don’t use it for deep frying. Also, don’t put it in salad dressings. It won’t serve the purpose!
Olive Pomace Oil –
Finally, Pomace is the lowest level of olive oil available in the markets today. It is extracted from the residue of “Pure Olive Oil” extraction process.
In order to maintain some essential properties, manufacturers often blend it with superior Pure Olive Oil.
Usage in cooking: All purpose oil; mostly used for deep frying.
Note – For deep frying dishes, I’d recommend other vegetable refined oils over Pomace oil. You can use refined sunflower or peanut oils for the same.
How to store your Olive Oil?
Now that you’ve learned about selecting the best olive oil for cooking, let’s find out more about its storage techniques.
Glass Bottle vs. Plastic Bottle –
Whenever it’s possible, try to purchase olive oil in dark glass bottle. It shields the oil from harmful sunlight.
As observed, the olive oil kept in dark glass bottles tends to last longer and gives you more value to your expenses.
Temperature & Surroundings –
You should store the bottle in any dark area of your kitchen. It will help prevent direct sunlight to the oil, which helps in maintaining ideal shelf life.
It should be preserved at relatively cool temperature.
There is always a possibility that these oils might lose their beneficial properties after some time. So, it’s always recommended to purchase it in a small quantity of 1-2 liter bottles.
Please check the manufacturing date and use it fresh as much as you can.
Best Olive Oil Brands in India
These are some of the best brands for your olive oil adventures –
- Rafael Salgado
- Dolce Vita
To summarize, olive oil comes under the category of gourmet foods. You pay extra bucks for its premium qualities.
So, if you want the best quality, there is no other option than to shell out some extra bucks for it. This is what I’ve learned and experienced in the food world. And therefore, it’s wise to use this oil for health purpose only.
I hope I’ve resolved your doubts regarding the topic of olive oil for Indian cooking. If you still have any queries, please comment below. I’d be happy to answer them.