Frying may be one of the first cooking methods you’ll learn in the kitchen growing up. Heat oil in a pan. Prepare meat, egg, or fish and place it in the frying pan. Sounds simple, right? Yes, it is. Deep frying may not be the most healthy cooking option, but it often produces crunchy, mouth-watering food — Jollibee chicken joy for example.
But there are cases when frying can be a frustrating experience in the kitchen. Soggy output, wrong choice of cooking oil, splattering oil, or undesirable taste. If you are a newcomer to cooking, here are some deep-frying tips you should keep in mind as you prepare your next dish.
Choose the right oil for your dish
Not all oil serves the same purpose. Canola oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, and olive oil have their impact on the taste of your dish. For instance, olive oil offers floral notes, while canola oil has a more neutral flavor. Oils with high ‘smoke points’, in other words, those which do not break down at deep-frying temperatures, are best. Peanut oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil are some good choices.
Choose a deep skillet to fry with
Add oil to the cold pan, leaving a headspace, or space at the top of the pan, of at least two inches. This allows a safety margin when the oil bubbles up as the food is added.
Check the oil temperature
For ideal results, oil temperature must be set between 350 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit (175C to 190C). Use a cooking thermometer to check the temperature before starting the frying process. If you don’t have a thermometer, test the oil by dropping a cube of crustless white bread in the oil; oil is good to go if it turns brown within a minute. Or place a small ball of fried chicken breading; if it floats in 3 seconds, your oil is ready for cooking.
Don’t overfill the fryer with oil
Never fill the fryer more than halfway with oil; this will prevent bubbling over when food is added.
Pat dry food before frying
Water and hot oil don’t blend well and can cause an explosion or potential injury in the kitchen. So make sure you pat dry with paper towels the food you’re about to deep fry. Not only that but also ensure that the workstation is as dry as possible. This helps keep water from accidentally get into the tongs or food you’re about to dip into the fryer.
Cut food in uniform portions
Whether it’s chicken, vegetables, or fish you are deep-frying, be sure to cut them in equal portions. In this way, each piece will cook evenly in the same amount of time. Food cut in unequal portions will end up with a mixture of overcooked/undercooked pieces.
Hold item before releasing into the fryer
Dropping food immediately into the deep fryer could stick to others in the fryer. Instead, hold it in just below the surface of the oil for a few seconds, then release it. Not only it prevents food from sticking, doing so also helps seal the exterior for a crunchy outcome.
Don’t overfill the fryer with food items
Putting too much food in the fryer affects the overall temperature of the oil. This results in cuts that stick to each other which leads to a greasy or soggy product and reduces the overall quality of the dish.
No salt before frying to avoid splattering
When grilling food, it is normal to season them with some salt and pepper. But you can’t do this when deep frying. Salt can cause hot oil to splatter and even lower its smoke point. Instead, salt the food immediately after taking it out of the hot oil – this will help the salt stick to the food.
Keep fried foods warm
Fried foods can be kept warm in a 200F oven until all the food is fried.
Avoid reusing cooking oil
Some sources say you can strain it and reuse it, but the oil has already begun to break down from the heat, and undesirable compounds like trans fats have formed.