crazy for camellia

Since discovering camellia oil three years ago, I became obsessed.  Camellia oil is also known as “olive oil of the east”, but I was surprised to learn that many from Taiwan are either not familiar with it or simply do not use it, despite the fact that it is produced locally and is rich in monounsaturated fats like extra-virgin olive oil.  It may have something to do with the limited supply and relatively high price, but I suspect it also has something to do with its name in Chinese, which translates to “bitter tea oil”.  Contrary to its name, its taste is pleasant and nutty, and is suitable for cooking under high heat, a plus for a kitchen staple.

I am trying out different camellia oils I can get my hands on.  Though I typically use it as a cooking oil in vegetable stir-fries or meat stews, here I try it in desserts: camellia oil biscuits with sesame and fennel seeds.  Crispy and just sweet enough to enjoy with tea or coffee!

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