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Cooking With Olive Oil - Can Olive Oil Be Used For Stir-frying?

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Asian coleslaw
James Baigrie/Photodisc/Getty Images
Question: Cooking With Olive Oil - Can Olive Oil Be Used For Stir-frying?
Answer: Yes. Cooking with olive oil, harvested from olive trees in Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Italy, can increase the health benefits of stir-frying. The United States Food and Drug Administration has announced that olive oil may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Like green tea, olive oil is thought to lower the level of LDL cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol that can clog arteries. The FDA report states that only two tablespoons a day may be enough to lower cholesterol levels. This is because olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat, but low in saturated and polyunsaturated fat.

What kind of olive oil is best?
There are three grades of olive oil: extra-virgin, virgin and olive oil (this last grade is also called pure olive oil). For stir-frying, it's best to stick with pure olive oil, and stay away from the extra-virgin and virgin grades. Standard olive oil goes through a more rigorous refining process than extra-virgin and virgin olive oils. This gives it a higher smoking point, meaning that it can take the high heat needed for stir-frying.

Deep-frying is another story. The smoking point of olive oil varies between 375 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit (190.5 to 200 degrees Celsius), which is a bit low for deep-frying. Stick with other types of vegetable oil - such as canola or peanut oil - for deep-frying. But feel free to use olive oil whenever you're preparing your favourite stir-fry dishes.

Here are a few stir-fry recipes using olive oil for you to enjoy:

Soy Sauce Chicken With Shiitake Mushrooms

Spring Beef on Egg Noodles - beef and noodles topped with toasted sesame seeds

Easy Oyster Sauce Chicken

Italian Style Tofu -

Asian Coleslaw With Tangy Rice Vinegar Dressing - not a stir-fry, but an example of extra-virgin olive oil used in an Asian dressing.

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