How To Deep Fry Food

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  • How To Deep Fry |

    If you like to eat deep fried food, cooking it at home is actually the healthiest choice because you can use fresh oil.  You don’t know how many times the restaurant is re-using the same oil!


    • Deep frying oil with natural flavor – I recommend vegetable oil, canola oil or corn oil.
    • Fryer – A wok or a deep frying pot is a good choice when deep frying a lot of food.  But for small amount, a frying pan is a good option. You only need ½-1 inch of oil in the pan.
    • Long cooking chopsticks or metal tongs
    • Fine mesh skimmer/strainer to pick up fried crumbs between batches
    • Deep-fry thermometer (optional)

    What You Need To Know Before Deep Frying:

    1. Remove combustible items around stove.
    2. Do not put water in hot oil.  Wipe all excess liquid off utensils or else it’ll splatter.
    3. NEVER EVER leave your cooking unattended.  NEVER!  Oils begin to burn at 400F and catch fire at 500F.  If you need to leave your kitchen, make sure you turn off the stove.

    How To Deep Fry Foods:

    1. Add oil in your fryer and do not put more than half way full.  Start heating the oil to 340-350F.

    2. Check the temperature.

    Option A) Put a chopstick in the oil, and if you see bubbles start to appear around the chopstick, it’s ready for deep frying.

    How To Deep Fry 1

    Option B) Put a piece of Panko or batter in the oil.

    <320F: Panko or batter stays at the bottom of the oil before coming up slowly.

    340-350F (optimal temperature to deep fry): Panko or batter drops down to the middle of oil and quickly comes up.

    >370F: Panko or batter stays on oil surface.

    3. When the oil is at optimal temperature, (dredge your food in batter and) pat your food to remove excess coating.  Slowly place the food into the oil, submerging it gradually to avoid splatters.

    Vegetable Tempura 10

    4. Do not put too many items into the fryer at the same time.  Adding too many items at the same time will lower the oil’s temperature and your food will end up absorbing too much grease.  If you are new to deep frying, use deep-fry thermometer to keep an eye on the oil temperature.  It’s critical to make sure the temperature stay constant so the food does not absorb too much grease or burns.

    Deep Fry

    5. Between batches, use the mesh sieve to scoop excess crumbs, which will burn and turn the oil darker if you don’t take them out.

    Deep Fry

    6. Remove your food and drain the excess oil onto paper towels.

    Vegetable Tempura 12

    After Deep Frying:

    If the oil is still clean, you can strain the used oil through a fine sieve and use it again within a week.  But if you don’t deep fry often, I recommend you to dispose the used oil.

    Option A) After the oil cools down, place it in a sealed glass container and put it in the garbage (or follow your local garbage company’s instruction).  NEVER pour it down your kitchen sink drain.

    Option B) Buy these Japanese “Oil Solidifier” products (固めるテンプル (Katameru Tenpuru), 油っ固 (Aburakko)) sold in Japanese or maybe Asian market and dump in the trash can.  They solidify the oil into a jello-like substance and becomes semi-solid.

    The package looks like this:


    Add the powder to the hot oil:

    Oil Solidify

    After solidified, toss into the trash:

    Oil Solidify 2

    Are you thinking twice about eating deep-fried foods?

    Despite their unhealthy reputation, deep fried foods usually contain no more oil than stir-fried or sautéed dishes.  However, this is the key.  Your oil has to be hot enough.  Deep frying evaporates the moisture from your food and causes it to release steam.  The outflow of steam prevents oil from seeping in.  Personally I would say to enjoy deep fried food once in a while is okay.  At my house, we eat deep-fried foods at most once a week, usually once every two weeks.  And that’s not including occasional French fries on weekends. 😉

    If you are worried about oil splatter, you can purchase this splatter screen and this 3-Sided Splatter Guard to keep your stove area relatively clean (I won’t say mess-free though).

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