Fried foods are something you can never get enough of. Garma-garam kachoris, samosas and pakodes, definitely top the list of favourite foods and, we all crave for these once in a while especially in these vigorous rains. Although fried foods have a bad reputation of being unhealthy, but indulging in them once in a while won’t harm. Deep frying or shallow frying, however simple it might seem to be; there are certain things which should be kept in mind before you are planning to prepare some fried delights.
A guide to deep-frying:
1. Choose the right oil: There are different types of oil which are used when it comes to frying and cooking. Generally, oil with a neutral flavour is preferred for frying foods but of course it also depends on what you are frying. In West Bengal, they prefer mustard oil because of the health benefits it has and also because of its high smoking point. Make sure you choose the right oil for your fried food.
2. Not too hot not too cold: This is a key factor that has to be considered before deep-frying. Make sure you heat the oil for frying at just the right temperature. It always depends on the food type too. But generally when you fry food in fuming hot oil, the outer crust gets fried but the inner part remains raw. Also, if it is not hot enough, the food absorbs a lot of the oil.
3. Drain out the excess water: When you are soaking something in water before frying, make sure you completely drain off the excess water from it. As oil and water do not mix so it will start to sputter and it is somewhat harmful. Be very careful with this bit!
4. Never overcrowd the pan: Make sure you are not frying too many pieces at once. If you overcrowd the pan, the temperature of the pan is not maintained which results in the ingredients being half-cooked. There should be enough space for you to flip the sides too, so that they are fried from both sides equally.
5. How to test the oil temperature? The best technique to check the oil temperature is to take a small testing portion and drop it in the oil, if the batter comes up immediately that means the oil is heated and if not then it needs to be hotter.
6. Dust off the excess bread crumbs: Many people ask me about the bread crumbs falling off the foods and settling down in the oil. A simple reason would be it is not coated properly. You have to make sure that the crumbs are properly coated and dipped in the corn starch nicely before frying. Also, dust off the excess crumbs form the food so that it does not disintegrate in the pan.
7. Don’t hurry: Another thing to keep in mind is to not hurry. If the oil is heated at just the right temperature, you do not need to flip it a lot, once or twice would be absolutely enough. And if you touch the food a lot, it might make whatever you are frying break in the pan itself.
8. Select the right equipment: I suggest a perforated spoon for frying always. It drains the oil properly and retains the food with the least oil present in it. Also, always go for a non-flat bottom pan when you are frying stuff. It requires less oil and results are much better always.
9. Always clean the fryer: When you have to fry more than just a batch, make sure you keep clearing the oil. Example: When you are frying a masala puri, maybe the onion or coriander pieces might settle down in the pan. Cleaning the oil properly will avoid those burnt particles from sticking to your food.
10. Make sure they are the same size: Whether it is Kachori, samosa or simply vegetables for that matter, make sure they are of a uniform size so that they all cook at the same time. If they are of the same size, they will take the same time to get fried and it is easier to fry that way.
We hope these tips will help you the next time you are going to prepare fried foods. Happy frying to you!
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.