It is present in the preparation of the main dishes of Afro-Brazilian cuisine and is the second most produced and consumed oil in the country.

Where does palm oil come from?

It is extracted from the pulp of the dendê, a small orange or brownish fruit, produced by a species of palm tree, called dendezeiro or palm-de-dendê (Elaeisguineenses). The oil palm can reach up to fifteen meters in height and grows in tropical regions with a hot and humid climate.

The use of palm oil in Brazil The cultural heritage of the use of palm oil in cooking remains highly appreciated today.

Here are some examples of popular dishes from Afro-Brazilian cuisine that are prepared with palm oil:

. Acarajé – black-eyed bean fritters, pounded in a mortar and fried in palm oil;

. Caruru – food made with chopped okra, shrimp, chicken and palm oil;

. Omalá – dish made with okra and palm oil and served with rice mush;

. Shrimp bobó – dish based on cassava, palm oil and shrimp;

. Ipetê – dish made with boiled yam, palm oil and dried shrimp;

. Vatapá – delicacy based on wheat flour, shredded fish meat, fresh and dried shrimp and palm oil;

. Moqueca – fish, seafood, meat or egg stew, made with coconut milk and palm oil;

. Abará – ground black-eyed pea fritter cooked in a bain-marie, seasoned with palm oil and wrapped in a banana leaf;

. Farofa de dendê – toasted cassava flour made with chopped onion and palm oil;

. Xinxim – meat seasoned and sautéed in palm oil with dried shrimp, peanuts and cashew nuts.

In addition to being used in recipes, due to its consistency and because it does not spoil easily, palm oil is also suitable for the manufacture of other foods such as: margarines, vegetable fats, breads, cakes, pies, ice cream, chocolate bars, biscuits fines and creams and cooking oils. Palm oil is in a prominent position in the world oil market, its production currently ranks second, second only to soybean oil.

Did you know?

Palm oil has some antioxidant elements and a high content of carotenoids (an important source of vitamin A), and its use is associated with anticancer substances.

Benefits of palm oil for cooking and the planet

Oil palm cultivation represents one of the most relevant agro-industrial activities in the humid tropical regions of our country and, in addition, has a strong ecological appeal.

Its cultivation has low levels of environmental aggression, has great potential to absorb carbon dioxide, protects the soil from erosion and helps restore the planet's water and climate balance.

The oil palm fruit is so rich that the residue remaining from the last pressing contains 14% to 18% of protein, and is even used as one of the components in the manufacture of animal feed. In addition, everything is used from the oil palm: the stalks and straws are used to make handicrafts and in the practices of Candomblé cults;

Two types of oil are extracted from the palm fruit: palm oil extracted from the pulp of the fruit and palm kernel oil extracted from the almond. The latter is widely used in the cosmetics industry because it has natural nutrients and moisturizing properties. With versatility of use, palm oil spread across Brazil and today can be enjoyed in all regions.

An ingredient beloved by Brazilians, not only for its unique flavor, but especially for its cultural importance that crosses time and helps tell the story of our country.

Source: Azeite de dendê e seus benefícios à culinária brasileira - Alimentação em Foco (

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