California Rice Oil Company

California Rice Oil & Turkey Burner in Shallow Fry Mode

One reason I started this weblog was as a means of taking notes such that I could use google to index my brain. Another reason, though, was that others would comment on my various postings with ideas, refinements, suggestions, and criticisms. This posting is in response to just such a contribution.

Shortly after writing the turkey fryer article, a comment hit the moderation queue suggesting that I give rice oil a try for frying a turkey. Specifically, the comment pointed to the California Rice Oil Company.

I emailed the contact on the post to ensure that it wasn’t spam and, in so doing, the company offered to send me a gallon of rice oil for review.

I’m not entirely certain how I have entirely missed rice oil in my cooking explorations, but I have. And now that said company introduced me to the oil, I’m never going back.

It is a fantastic product. Better yet, it also appears to be one of the healthiest oils around (see the references).

I love to fry foods and, with the turkey burner or deep fryer, I can fry outside without stinking up the house. A common misconception is that fried foods are greasy & unhealthy. Starting with a good quality & healthy oil, neither is actually true if the fry is executed properly.

In general, the key to frying is to get the grease or oil hot enough that the waters on the surface of the food boil quickly and either seal the food or cook whatever batter or coating is on the food rapidly. Too low of a temperature and it will be greasy.

California Rice Oil at About 450 Degrees!

And that is what I find most amazing about rice oil.

Olive oil has a ridiculously low smoke point of 360℉. At or near that temperature, olive oil will start to smoke and, more importantly, it will start to break down, both changing flavor and greatly impacting the nutritional elements in the oil.

Canola, Peanut and Soy all have smoke points around 450℉, much more reasonable for frying. But all have nutritional deficits or somewhat questionable manufacturing practices (for example, Canola oil is largely produced from genetically modified crops).

Grape seed oil has a very high smoke point of 485℉, but is not balanced across the fats and is very expensive.

Rice oil has a ridiculously high smoke point of 490℉. The pan in the picture was at somewhere north of 450℉. I have never cooked with an oil that wouldn’t be smoking or changing flavor at that temperature!

Tater Tots

First up? Tater tots.

I started with frozen [organic] tots and fried them for a few minutes in the very hot oil. The result was a tasty tot and the oil imparted a light, slightly nutty, flavor.

Delicious. And at that heat, the tots fried quickly and were crunchy on the outside, steaming hot on the inside and not at all greasy.

As much as it is important to use the heat of the fry to boil off and sear the outside of the food, the goal is to also gain a seal that will hold the heat in to effectively steam the insides, too.

Worked beautifully.

Fried Chicken Thighs

With the Tots, I also made some pan friend chicken thighs.

For a coating, I used a mix of bread crumbs, flour, salt, pepper, and some random spices (ginger & dried lemon peel being the key ingredients). The thighs were soaked in soy milk with bourbon for a bit (no, really, soy milk & bourbon — works beautifully), then thrown into a plastic container and shaken with the dry coating mixture.

Into the oil they went, to be fried for a couple of minutes on each side. In the future, I’ll put a wire rack on the bottom of the pan to prevent the chicken from sitting on the pan as it had a couple of slightly burnt spots.

Like the tots, the result was a piece of chicken that was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside without being greasy at all.

Amazingly, the oil came out clean. If I had a container handy, I could easily have filtered the fairly abused oil — it was hot for quite a while — and reused it again, likely more than once!

I have since stir-fried with the oil and it performed spectacularly well. I used a cast iron wok on top of the turkey burner and was able to cook at a much higher temperature than ever before. The results were delicious and I’ll write up my stir fry recipe soon (as it is stupid-easy and results in food that even my picky son devours, veggies and all).

Surprisingly, the rice oil also works well as a dressing oil. It can be used to dip bread, maybe adding a little fresh rosemary and ground parmesan, quite nicely. The oil also makes for a good base for vinegar-and-oil salad dressings, though the lightness of flavor means that you need a lot less vinegar to balance the oil.

All in all, a great product. I fully admit complete ignorance in not having discovered or tried it before. My thanks go to the California Rice Oil Company for both making me aware of rice oil and for sending me some to try!!



9 Responses to “California Rice Oil Company”

  1. bbum's weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » California Rice Oil Company | brownrice says:

    […] Read the original here: bbum's weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » California Rice Oil Company […]

  2. peterb says:

    On a parenthetical note, the other problem with grapeseed oil is that it tastes like garbage in oil form.

  3. webgrunt says:

    I use avocado oil. It has a 491°F smoke point, and I hear it’s one of the healthiest oils there is, though I haven’t seen a breakdown like the one you posted for rice oil.

  4. annbb says:

    Just discovered there was such a thing as rice oil several weeks ago – probably from the same source you did as I tend to read all the comments. Haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on my after-Thanksgiving list!

  5. John C. Randolph says:

    I’ve been using peanut oil for quite a while now for stir-frying. I wasn’t aware of rice oil, I think I’ll have to give it a try.

    -jcr

  6. don delwood says:

    i have to point out that ‘healthy’ sort of depends on your particular blood lipid issues and genetics. while its true that these listed oils are either low cholesterol or no cholesterol, on the other hand they tend to be very high in triglycerides. unfortunately, there are many humans who don’t metabolize these oils well, triglycerides can build up in the blood to contribute to atherosclerosis.

    a brief search on the net showed me that this is not talked about much. instead, you’ll see that “vegetable oils are better than lard”, and some oils are better than others. all true. but if you happen to have a serum trigly >500, then you’d be better off baking than frying.

  7. Anonymous says:

    It can be used to dip bread, maybe adding a little fresh rosemary and ground parmesan, quite nicely. The oil also makes for a good base for vinegar-and-oil salad dressings, though the lightness of flavor means that you need a lot less vinegar to balance the oil.

    [ED: it can and it works well… however, your spammy spam spamness has been deleted.]

  8. webgrunt says:

    Does anyone know where I can find a comparison between avocado oil and rice bran oil? I’ve been trying to google it, but haven’t really found anything useful.

  9. Candice Lucado says:

    I popped in after reading an article about your neighborhood on eichlernetwork.com (congrats again on the remodel; it’s really lovely) and I’m pleased to find this. We can no longer fry with peanut oil since the kiddo is allergic and rice oil looks like a fabulous replacement. Thanks!

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