Annatto Oil- Palm Oil Substitute
Annatto Oil, is an oil derived from Annatto or Achiote seeds. It is mainly used in Latin and Caribbean cooking to add color to oil and food in general. Achiote Oil has a reddish orange color, much like Palm Oil but without the extra saturated fat often found in the latter since you can use virtually any kind of oil to lightly toast the seeds. You can use Olive oil, Canola Oil, Vegetable Oil or even a mix of clear oils.
I’ve had this for a while, but just got round to actually making it! Taste wise, Annatto is often said to have a ‘nutty’ flavor, but personally, I don’t detect any taste; it takes on the taste of whatever oil you use, but it does have a slight nutty smell to it. You can purchase it online, in the ethnic section of most grocery stores or Latin/Caribbean stores. If you’re in Nigeria, I’m not really sure what it would be called or where it would be available, but I imagine if you ask market sellers from the North (Hausa), they might have an idea. It’s very easy to make, but should be done in batches and refrigerated for up to two weeks.
To make Annatto Oil, here’s what you’ll need:
|Prep Time: 5 Minutes||Cook Time: 3-5 Minutes||Difficulty: Easy||Serves: N/A|
- 1 cup Canola Oil
- 3 tbsps Annatto seeds
- Fry Pan
1. Pour oil into fry pan, add seeds
2. Turn on heat to medium
3. Stir; Once it starts to sizzle, turn off heat, let cool
4. Drain oil from seeds using a sieve
5. Transfer to a storage bowl/plate/jar, and you’re done!
Side by Side Comparison of Palm Oil & Annatto Oil (Left: Palm Oil, Right: Annatto Oil)
(Annatto Seeds Up Close)
- Good or fresh Annatto seeds should have an almost rusty red color. Seeds that are dark brown or shriveled are no longer fresh and should be avoided. The above image has a few bad seeds, but for the most part, it’s the right color.
- You can store the seeds in a cool, dark place, but be sure to refrigerate the actual oil once you’ve made it. (It won’t solidify in the fridge.)
- There’s not much difference between the blanched/bleached palm oil and the annatto oil, so if you’re worried about palm oil and it’s heart clogging properties, you might want to consider Annatto Oil as it’s much more heart friendly.