Binding the bread crumbs to the food is vital. If they fall off into the oil, they will burn, imparting a bitter flavor to the food, discoloring it, and lowering the smoke point of the oil. Though there is no sure-fire way to keep every bread crumb from coming loose, you should do everything possible to minimize it.
Most breaded foods are coated with three layers: seasoned flour, lightly beaten egg, and bread crumbs (in order of application). For the egg to perform one of its chief functions - binding the bread crumbs to the food - it must partially dry before cooking. This is best accomplished by placing the uncooked breaded food on a cake rack for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature. Resting the breaded food in the refrigerator, as some cookbooks advise, is not recommended, because your food will pick up odor during its stay. Wrapping the breaded food before placing it in the refrigerator does not solve your problem, because though you keep out the refrigerator odor, you simultaneously keep in the egg moisture.
Other helpful hints for keeping the bread crumbs attached include:
* Using room-temperature eggs
* Not overbeating the eggs, because bubbles are poor binders
* Using small bread crumbs because they adhere better than large crumbs
* Preparing home crumbs, which cling better than the store-bought variety because of their coarser texture
** Asian Cooking **