Oils are an absolutely integral part of cooking. Considered as fats, they are not only useful for searing, frying, grilling, or sautéing meats, but they are also primary components of salad dressings, mayonnaise, marinades and more.
Oil is extracted from seeds and nuts, such as sunflowers, olives, coconuts, avocados, almonds, walnuts.
Each type of oil is different and is better suited for a specific use. Some are better for frying, some are better for making mayonnaise and some are better for drizzling over salads.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing your cooking oil is its smoke point, or better described as the temperature at which the oil starts smoking. Smoke point is also sometimes called the burning point and it is thus better (mostly) to not exceed the smoke point of the oil which you are using.
When you cook a curry, you wish to use an oil with a high smoke point, especially when tempering your whole spices.
Below is a list of the different oils and their smoke points. It is quite interesting to see how different levels of refinement affect the smoke point.
We ran a poll on our Facebook group, “We are Durban Curry Lovers” on what oil do the members prefer to use, and the overwhelming winner was Sunflower Oil.
If asked, we would confidently state that Sunflower Oil is the best oil to use when cooking a Durban Curry.
|Avocado oil||Refined||270 °C||520 °F|
|Safflower oil||Refined||266 °C||510 °F|
|Sunflower oil||Neutralized, dewaxed, bleached & deodorized||252–254 °C||486–489 °F|
|Butter||Clarified||250 °C||482 °F|
|Mustard oil||250 °C||480 °F|
|Beef tallow||250 °C||480 °F|
|Pecan oil||243 °C||470 °F|
|Palm oil||Difractionated||235 °C||455 °F|
|Soybean oil||234 °C||453 °F|
|Peanut oil||Refined||232 °C||450 °F|
|Rice bran oil||Refined||232 °C||450 °F|
|Sesame oil||Semirefined||232 °C||450 °F|
|Sunflower oil||Semirefined||232 °C||450 °F|
|Sunflower oil, high oleic||Refined||232 °C||450 °F|
|Corn oil||230–238 °C||446–460 °F|
|Peanut oil||227–229 °C||441–445 °F|
|Sunflower oil||227 °C||441 °F|
|Almond oil||221 °C||430 °F|
|Canola oil||220–230 °C||428–446 °F|
|Cottonseed oil||Refined, bleached, deodorized||220–230 °C||428–446 °F|
|Vegetable oil blend||Refined||220 °C||428 °F|
|Grape seed oil||216 °C||421 °F|
|Olive oil||Virgin||210 °C||410 °F|
|Olive oil||Extra virgin, low acidity, high quality||207 °C||405 °F|
|Canola oil (Rapeseed)||Refined||204 °C||400 °F|
|Coconut oil||Refined, dry||204 °C||400 °F|
|Castor oil||Refined||200 °C||392 °F|
|Olive oil||Refined||199–243 °C||390–470 °F|
|Canola oil (Rapeseed)||Expeller press||190–232 °C||375–450 °F|
|Lard||190 °C||374 °F|
|Olive oil||Extra virgin||190 °C||374 °F|
|Corn oil||Unrefined||178 °C||352 °F|
|Coconut oil||Unrefined, dry expeller pressed, virgin||177 °C||350 °F|
|Sesame oil||Unrefined||177 °C||350 °F|
|Olive oil||Extra virgin||160 °C||320 °F|
|Peanut oil||Unrefined||160 °C||320 °F|
|Safflower oil||Semirefined||160 °C||320 °F|
|Sunflower oil, high oleic||Unrefined||160 °C||320 °F|
|Butter||150 °C||302 °F|
|Canola oil (Rapeseed)||Unrefined||107 °C||225 °F|
|Flaxseed oil||Unrefined||107 °C||225 °F|
|Safflower oil||Unrefined||107 °C||225 °F|
|Sunflower oil||Unrefined, first cold-pressed, raw||107 °C||225 °F|