“ Type: Olive Oils „
Groundnut oil is one of those lesser known basics for cooking which is really worth knowing about.
For one, you might be surprised to learn that it has quite similar properties to that of olive oil.
To demonstrate, reading the label of my extra virgin olive oil I can see it is made up of 13.1% saturates, 7.5% polyunsaturates, and a whopping 66.7% of those ultra-healthy mono-unsaturates - very good for the heart. In comparison, groundnut oil has virtually the same percentage of saturates (the worst nasties) at 15%; while it is quite a bit higher in polyunsaturates at 30%, it has a pretty good majority of mono-unsaturates at 55%.
Not to be sniffed at! - Especially as, unlike olive oil, groundnut oil is strong and does not "disappear" into food when you fry at high temperatures, charring or even burning your vegetables.
Don't get me wrong, good quality olive oil is particularly lovely when drizzled over salad or into a sauce when it has finished cooking, so that you don't damage the flavour or the delicate goodness, but cooking with the stuff (I find) is a bit iffy, and can add quite an odd tang to meals. For this reason, I think it's worth having both oils in the kitchen for the two separate purposes: to either add flavour and goodness at the end of the cooking process, or to get the food through the cooking process in the first place!
In case you're interested, rapeseed oil also has fairly similar levels of mono-unsaturates, although it isn't as strong as groundnut oil and doesn't give that lovely, nutty flavour which goes so well with stir fried courgettes or aubergines - yum!
Around the area in which I live, it is almost impossible to buy groundnut oil anywhere except for at Sainsbury's.
Sainsbury's Groundnut Oil is very reasonably priced, and has a very delicate, subtle flavour. It is perfect for frying, roasting and for salad dressings too. Unless a recipe specifically calls for a different type of oil (such as olive oil), I now use Sainsbury's Groundnut Oil for everything, and a little goes a long way.
It helps keep cholesterol levels low, but I would hand out a warning to anybody who has a nut allergy - this oil wouldn't be suitable for nut allergy sufferers.
I'd like to share with you a very simple recipe which I cook on a regular basis, using Sainsbury's ground nut oil:
VEGETARIAN RISOTTO (serves 2)
1 tablespoon Sainsbury's Ground Nut Oil
1 small peeled & chopped onion
Half a pack of Sainsbury's green beens, cut into small strips
4 medium-sized mushrooms, wiped and finely chopped or sliced
Half a small peeled carrot, finely shredded
Half a teacup of Sainsbury's frozen Petit Pois, thawed & drained
Half a medium-sized courgette, cut into very thin strips
1 teaspoon tomato puree
2 teaspoons garlic paste
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped (leave the skins and cores on)
1 crumbled vegetarian Oxo cube
Half a rounded teaspoon of dried basil
1 teacup full of Sainsbury's Organic Arborio Rice
2 of the same size teacups full of cold water
Lots of fresh Parmesan cheese shavings to serve
Heat the oil over a medium heat in a fairly large non-stick saucepan. Fry the onions, mushrooms, green beans, courgette and carrot until they are very well browned.
Add the rice, and cook (stirring continuously) for about 5 minutes.
Add the water, then stir in the Oxo cube, garlic paste and tomato puree. Stir well, then add all the other ingredients - stir well again.
Bring to the boil, then lower the heat immediately to a medium simmer. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand (with the lid still on) for 5 minutes.
Fluff the mixture up with a fork, and serve with Parmesan cheese shavings and a green salad. Good with garlic bread too.
Groundnut oil is a great oil to use as it is very pure and odour free. It is made from peanuts or monkey nuts, and so people who suffer from a nut allergy should certainly avoid it. It is great as a substitute for olive oil particularly in oriental cooking as olive oil clashes with the flavours and is too strong in comparison to groundnut oil. The high smoking point means it can be heated to a very high temperature making it ideal for stir frying; but it is also great for deep and shallow frying and as it is similar but not quite as heavy as olive oil, it is great for salads and mayonnaise.
I use groundnut oil regularly in cooking because aside from the quality of the oil, it is usually cheaper than olive oil. It also has great health benefits as it reduces the levels of bad cholesterol without lowering the levels of good cholesterol. This is a great dish that is perfect for groundnut oil.
Broccoli lemon chicken with Cashews
1 tablespoon of groundnut oil
340g pack of chicken breast fillets cut into strips - like goujons
2 garlic cloves, sliced
200g stem broccoli
200ml chicken stock
1 headed teaspoon of cornflour
1 tablespoon of clear honey
Zest of half a lemon and the juice of a whole one
Generous handful of cashews
1. Heat the groundnut oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add the chicken and fry for 3-4 minutes until golden.
2. Remove the chicken from the pan and replace with the garlic and broccoli. Stir fry for about a minute then cover and cook for 2 minutes more, until almost tender.
3. Mix the stock, cornflour and honey well, then pour into the pan and stir until thickened.
4. Tip the chicken back into the pan and let it heat through.
5. Add the lemon zest and juice, and cashew nuts. Stir and serve immediately with basmati rice or noodles.
Ideal for frying.