Cooking by Deep-Frying

Cooking by Deep-Frying

In this technique, foods are cooked by being completely submerged in hot fat. The food is almost always given a coating - a standard breading, a batter such as a tempura or beer batter or, in some instances, simply a flour coating. The coating acts as a barrier between the fat and the product and also contributes flavor and texture contrast. One notable exception is potatoes.

As with the other dry-heat methods that use cooking fats and oils, the foods must be naturally tender and of a shape and size that allow them to cook quickly without becoming tough or dry. Poultry, fish and potatoes are among the most commonly selected foods for deep-frying. Vegetables, coated with breading or a tempura batter, are also popular choices.

The correct way to deep fry is to assemble all ingredients and preparations for deep frying -

  • Batter, breading, coatings (optional)

  • Item being prepared

  • Oil

  • Separately prepared sauce

Cut the item into the appropriate size. Foods should be fairly thin, with a uniform size and shape so that they can cook rapidly and evenly. Remove the skin (especially from fish), as desired or as indicated in the recipe. Remove any gristle, fat or any inedible shells. Cut the food into chunks or fingers, or butterfly and pound it, depending upon the food's nature and the desired result.

Breading may be done up to one hour in advance of deep-frying and chilled to allow the breading to firm. Batters or plain flour coatings should be applied immediately before cooking. The cooking medium must be able to reach a high temperature without smoking or breaking down. Have available a neutral-flavored oil with a high smoking point. A rendered fat, such as lard, may be used to create a special flavor or effect, as in certain regional dishes.

In addition to the usual salt-and-pepper seasoning mixture, spice blends, marinades, stuffing or fillings are also commonly used to add interest to fried foods.

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