What Cooking Oil Do You Use?

Deciding on a cooking oil for a tiffin service is an incredibly daunting task; if you do a simple Google Search, the results can be overwhelming, with every oil considered to be healthy. It is hard to establish which oil is actually healthy to be used with Indian cooking.

I decided to take a walk down Costco to see what was actually available. I came across the following oils and their respective per litre pricing:

 Oil Price Per Litre (C$)
Olive Oil 6.16
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 7.75
Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil 6.66
100% Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil 9.50
Tucsan Extra Virgin Olive Oil 17.99
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil 7.50
Ottavio Grapeseed Oil 5.33
Pure Avocado Oil 14.99
Coconut Oil 7.05
Canola Oil 2.40


In an ideal circumstance, this is what we look for in our cooking oils:

  • The oil must be manufactured in the European Union or India
  • The oil must not be banned for consumption anywhere in the world
  • The oil must have a high smoke point
  • The oil must have a neutral or a light taste to ensure it does not overpower the spices used for Indian food

Costco clearly has a large variety of Olive Oils, and the reality is that Olive Oil does not have a high smoke point. Smoke Points are important because that is the temperature at which the oil burns, giving a burnt flavor to the food and losing any nutrients that are naturally in oil.

That does not leave us with many oils. Avocado Oil and Coconut oil get excluded relatively quickly because of the strong taste that does not go with most forms of Indian cooking.

That leaves us with Canola Oil and Grapesed Oil. The reality is that Canola Oil manufactured in Canada is mostly genetically engineered to be tolerant to herbicides. Up until a decade ago, the oil was actually banned for consumption in Europe. 

Hence, we decided, the best oil to use in your Indian food is Grapeseed Oil. It is widely available in Costco, has a high smoke point, has a light flavor, and more importantly, is manufactured in Europe, which is widely regarded as having one of the tightest regulations within the world when it comes to food safety. Granted, here at Swad Anusar, we also use Ghee within our cooking, but that is largely driven by Ayurvedic principles which likely deserves it’s own post.

The real question is, which oil do you use to cook with? Are there any other cooking oils that might be better than Grapeseed oil for cooking?

Kanchan is an immigrant to Vancouver BC and is the founder of Swad Anusar, a Vancouver based Vegetarian Tiffin Service with a focus on nutritious meals made with fresh vegetables, just like you would if you were cooking for yourself.

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