Truly, deep frying is considered as the unhealthiest way to cook food and in most cases, it cannot be totally avoided since not all household have ovens or air fryers to use as an alternative. So, here are my best practices about deep frying to somehow “lessen” the unhealthiness of the fried food we love to eat.
- I prefer not to use vegetable oil or shortening. When it comes to oil, I always buy sunflower oil and use it in all my cooking and baking, you can use canola or peanut oil too. Compare to vegetable oil, sunflower oil claims to have “lesser” amount of “unhealthy” fats than vegetable oil.
- Choose the right pan. Since most of the time, it’s only the two of us eating. I always use a medium sized saucepan with thick bottom. This will allow me to use less oil and will allow me fry the food evenly.
- I always see to it that the oil is in RIGHT TEMPERATURE, 350F for deep frying. This is a MUST because, this will prevent the food from absorbing too much oil while frying. To check your oil if it is ready, you can dip the wooden spoon’s handle in the center of the fryer without touching the bottom, then if bubbles appear right away around the handle, then you are good to go. Candy thermometer is perfect too for checking this one. 🙂 Please note that, if the temperature is low, the food you are frying will just absorb the oil resulting to a greasy and soggy outcome but if the temperature is too high, the outside is cooked already but the inside is still raw.
- As much as possible AVOID OVERCROWDING the pan. Aside from the fact that this will drastically drop the oil temperature, the food will not be fried but will be steamed instead thus giving you a soggy & oily fried food, because of too much oil absorption. When frying in batches make sure that you allow the oil to go back to 350F temperature before frying the next batch.
- Always have a PAPER TOWEL LINED PLATE READY or a COOLING RACK ready to absorb excess oil and catch drippings.
Since there will be too much oil left after deep frying, you can let the oil cool down completely and transfer to a clean airtight container (while straining) for next use. In my case where my oil is still clear and can still be used, I just use it again for deep frying or pan frying. When pan frying, just get the amount you need then throw the reused oil after.
NOTE : Practicing the above guidelines CANNOT, WILL NOT AND IN NO WAY WILL GUARANTEE you to have a healthy deep fried food. What makes it “a little less unhealthy” as compared to eating out is that, you know the quality of the oil used, you know the ingredients used and you know how it was cooked. Still, moderation and portion control should be observed.
On removing unwanted flavors / smell in oil :
When the oil is used for fish and left some unwanted smell or flavor in the oil and you plan to reuse the oil. What you can do is
- Heat the oil to 320F. (when you dip the bread crumb in the oil, it will stay at the bottom then slowly goes up).
- Put 2 thin slices of bread or few sprigs of fresh parsley, let it bubble and wait for the bubbles to disappear.
- Scoop the bread or the parsley out of your fryer, then you’re oil is ready again.
When the oil overheat :
DO NOT PUT WATER, IT WILL CAUSE EXPLOSION. Just cover it with the lid and turn off the stove. Discard. Watch the video below of Ann Reardon on what’s the right thing to do when the oil overheat (4:26).
On disposing used oil
DO NOT POUR INTO SINK. It will clog the drain. You can follow your local government guidelines on how to dispose oil. What I usually do is pour it back to its orginial bottle, then throw it away. Or, if you are near to a Japanese store like Daiso, you can buy this OIL SOLIDIFIER packs. This will solidify the oil while it is HOT before you throw it into the garbage.
So there you have it, I hope you learn from this post as much as I did, enjoy 🙂