OiL and Ghee
Oil in Tamil language is "Ennai" or "Enney".
The below are traditionally used oils in Tamil cuisine.
For most of the recipe mentioned in this site, we use groundnut oil. If you are living in abroad and finding it difficult to get groundnut oil, you can use vegetable oil or sunflower oil.
For fusion recipes, we have used extra virgin olive oil.
Nowadays there are plenty of oil types are coming up to substitue the traditional oil, for example: Sunflower oil, Vegetable oil, Olive oil etc... . Also the tradional oil that are sold in the super market are not made the "traditional" way. The traditional way of oil making is a time consuming and expensive when compared to the readily available oil in the supermarket.
When we talk about traditional oil, we must mention Ghee, as Ghee is the traditional fat we used in olden days. Ghee is very expensive than oil. We can use Ghee in place of oil to make food as it is delicious and healthy.
Let us briefly look at the above oil list:
Traditionally, this is made using groundnut and groundnut only. Groundnut is called "Verkadalai" in Tamil language. Or simply "kadalai". Hence the name "Kadala ennai" in Tamil language.
This is the oil we use for cooking most of the dishes.
Traditionally, this is made using coconut and coconut only. Coconut is called "Thaengai" in Tamil language. Hence the name "Thaengai ennai" in Tamil language. Coconut oil is used for speciality dishes, particularly for making chips or making Kuruma. In neighbouring state, Kerala, coconut oil is used for most of the cooking.
Seasame oil is called as "Gingelli oil" or "Nalla ennai" in Tamil language. "Nalla" means "Good" and "Ennai" means "Oil". Since this oil is good for health, the name "Nalla ennai" is given to this oil. We use Sesame oil mainly for adding oil in the side dish for breakfast.
Castor oil is called "Vilakennai ennai" in Tamil language.
Sekku is an equipment made using wood and a cow is used to rotate it to crush the ingredients to make oil. This is the traditional way of making oil.
Spelling variations in Tamil name for Oil:
Ennai, Enney, Yennai