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What is the difference between sauteing and pan-frying?

Although both cooking methods fry foods in a shallow layer of heated oil in a pan, they are employed for different purposes. Sauteing is ideal for foods such as spinach and thin strips of meat that do not require more than a quick cooking over very high heat. To prevent the high heat from scorching the food that touches the pan's hot surface, you should frequently shake and/or toss the food in the pan. Sauteing is somewhat akin to stir-frying.

Pan-frying is used for foods that take longer to cook. (Pork chops and chicken thighs are two examples). You use a lower heat than you use for sauteing to prevent the food's exterior from over-cooking before its interior is done. You also use more oil, ranging in depth anywhere from 1/8 inch up to half the height of the food. Any deeper would be in the no-man's land between pan-frying and deep-frying.

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15:46:26 on 05/06/07 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -