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The taste of palm oil

Sesame oil, peanut oil, olive oil--they have really distinctive tastes. Sesame oil really tastes like sesame, and peanut oil has a peanut taste, and olive oil doesn't taste like pickled olives, or brined olives, but it tastes the rich and fragrant way it smells.

Palm oil has a really distinctive taste too. When I tasted Flo's Nigerian fried beans, cooked in plenty of palm oil, it was the first time in a long time that I tasted something so completely *new* and *different*.


Nigerian fried beans from All Nigerian Recipes


Palm oil has, to me, a green taste ( which is funny since it's bright red), green and deeply warm. It tastes the way leaves baking under the midday sun smell--and mix that smell with the smell of hot, warm earth--that dusty warm smell. That's how it tastes to me. And it has a lingering feel in the mouth, the way peanut butter does--but not quite that sticky.


Do I like it? At first it nonplussed me a little because the flavor was so unlike other oil flavors I've experienced, but I enjoyed it. And today, going back for leftovers, I felt less tentative, more enthusiastic. Tastes: BROADENED.

Here is an oil palm plantation (photo from Azran Jaffar's article on a prizewinning smallholder's plantation)
Oil-Palm-Trees



Apparently there are two types of oil to be had from the oil palm. Red palm oil, the kind I used, comes from the fruit. A golden oil comes from the kernel.
Photo source here




Comments

( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
queenoftheskies
Aug. 28th, 2014 11:36 pm (UTC)
Now I want to try it!

(That picture looks delicious!)
asakiyume
Aug. 28th, 2014 11:49 pm (UTC)
It's a *very different* taste. It's been a long, long time since I tasted something so different, so unlike other things. But good!
heliopausa
Aug. 29th, 2014 12:00 am (UTC)
And fried bananas as well? Oh, this is too much! (anguished flail of envy)
It's breakfast time here, and that all looks and sounds wonderful!
asakiyume
Aug. 29th, 2014 11:03 am (UTC)
So what delicious thing did you end up eating for breakfast? And where you are, do you cook for yourself, or does someone cook for you, or do you buy in prepared food, or....?
(no subject) - heliopausa - Aug. 29th, 2014 11:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Aug. 29th, 2014 12:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mnfaure - Aug. 31st, 2014 07:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
yamamanama
Aug. 29th, 2014 01:41 am (UTC)
That looks amazing.

Are those plantains?
asakiyume
Aug. 29th, 2014 11:03 am (UTC)
Those are indeed plantains! I was not organized enough to make *both* the plantains and the beans, so we had just the beans and rice, but one day I will make the entire meal.
nipernaadiagain
Aug. 29th, 2014 04:28 am (UTC)
This is so interesting, now I wish to try something with palm oil. Even if I have very insensitive taste buds, so I may not be able to taste any difference. But I would still like to try.
asakiyume
Aug. 29th, 2014 11:38 am (UTC)
What would be great would be to have a Nigerian friend, or someone who's been to Nigeria or some other part of West Africa, cook you up something.
browngirl
Aug. 29th, 2014 05:36 am (UTC)
Oils do have such wonderfully different flavors.
asakiyume
Aug. 29th, 2014 11:36 am (UTC)
There is so much variety to *everything*, and variety makes life so *good*.
pinkroo
Aug. 29th, 2014 06:28 am (UTC)
yum!! I've had Nigerian food with palm oil; the red color is kind of startling!
asakiyume
Aug. 29th, 2014 11:34 am (UTC)
The only Nigerian food I've ever had is stuff I've cooked myself, with one exception: akara, which I got at a local market (and which was what started me wanting to cook other Nigerian food--it was so amazing and delicious).

What other Nigerian dishes have you had? Is there a restaurant near you, or a market, or do you have Nigerian friends, or...?
(no subject) - pinkroo - Aug. 29th, 2014 11:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
cmcmck
Aug. 29th, 2014 07:00 am (UTC)
I wonder if palm oils have the amazing flavour variations of olive oils? I usually have four or five varities on the go at any time- different flavours for different uses- from mild and fruity to strong and peppery.
asakiyume
Aug. 29th, 2014 11:21 am (UTC)
I imagine there might be! When I found out that there were two types of oil produced from oil palm fruit, I found out that although the oil from the seed is highly refined, the oil from the fruit is left unrefined. There's probably huge variation, like with different pressings of olives.
frigg
Aug. 29th, 2014 09:08 am (UTC)
I really don't want to be a party-pooper, but palm oil production has huge environmental issues. I have to admit that I've boycott it completely and always read product ingredient lists in the supermarket to avoid it. :)
cmcmck
Aug. 29th, 2014 10:06 am (UTC)
So do I, but I suspect that there'll be artisanally produced fair trade palm oils out there somewhere (although I admit I've yet to find a source).

Being a Yourpeen, I'm lucky to live close to a number of countries producing artisanal olive oils.
(no subject) - frigg - Aug. 29th, 2014 10:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Aug. 29th, 2014 11:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cmcmck - Aug. 29th, 2014 01:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Aug. 29th, 2014 11:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cmcmck - Aug. 29th, 2014 01:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Aug. 29th, 2014 11:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frigg - Aug. 29th, 2014 11:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cmcmck - Aug. 29th, 2014 01:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frigg - Aug. 29th, 2014 01:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cmcmck - Aug. 29th, 2014 01:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frigg - Aug. 29th, 2014 01:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Aug. 29th, 2014 02:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
xjenavivex
Aug. 29th, 2014 01:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Thank you so much. I am trying new things lately. My tastes will be expanding. This is encouraging.
asakiyume
Aug. 29th, 2014 02:44 pm (UTC)
♥ ♥

Yay!
Flo Madubike
Sep. 2nd, 2014 11:49 am (UTC)
Perfect description
Now, that's a perfect description of the taste of palm oil. Thanks for helping put the taste into words. That sounds spot on! I love it when those with "foreign" taste buds describe what another culture's food and ingredients taste like, they always do a better job.

Well done for trying this recipe and doing a great job of it! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I know what it took for you to get the main ingredient, you are a DOER lady. Hopefully you have some palm oil left so you can try other recipes. Please let me know if you need suggestions. ;)
asakiyume
Sep. 2nd, 2014 03:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Perfect description
I do have palm oil left! I look at it on my counter and dream about the dishes I will make.

Just the other day I made up a batch of your tomato stew, from a huge bunch of fresh tomatoes a friend gave me (smelled so good cooking), so now I will maybe choose a dish with palm oil and tomato stew....

Yes, please tell me! What do you recommend?

Re: Perfect description - Flo Madubike - Sep. 2nd, 2014 06:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Perfect description - asakiyume - Sep. 2nd, 2014 07:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Perfect description - asakiyume - Sep. 14th, 2014 05:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 39 comments — Leave a comment )

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