Frying is the process of cooking food in hot oil. It requires constant attention. Food that can be cooked by frying is fish, plantain, yam, egg, meat, bean-cake, pancake, etc.
Types of frying
- Shallow fat frying: This requires just enough oil or fat to cover the frying pan and; to prevent burning the food needs turning, e.g. pancake, plantain, omelet.
- Deep fat frying: This requires plenty of oil, about two-thirds of the pan (usually a deep, heavy pan is used) filled with oil. Usually, a frying basket or perforated spoon is used to remove fried food from the oil. Too much food should not be lowered into the hot oil at once as it reduces the temperature of the oil.
- Dry fat frying: This is suitable for oily foods which give out their own oil when heated up, e.g. bacon and pork.
- Sautéing: This is a method of tossing food lightly in a small amount of oil or fat, e.g. vegetables.
General rules for frying
- Use clean oil or fat
- Heat the oil to the correct temperature before putting in food to be fried. If the temperature is too low, the food may absorb the oil and become indigestible. The food can also break up during frying. If the oil is over-heated, it will also spoil the colour and flavour of the food.
- Ensure that the oil is at the correct temperature when it ceases to sizzle and a light blue haze appears over the pan.
- Fry only a little quantity at a time otherwise the temperature of the oil will reduce and the food may become soggy with oil and break.
- Dry food such as fish, meat, plantain, before frying to avoid mixing water with hot oil.
- If possible, coat protein food before frying to seal in the juice.
- Avoid frequent turning of food to avoid breaking. When frying by the shallow method, fry only one side until it is cooked and brown before frying the other side.
- Re-heat oil and bring it back to the correct temperature before frying the next quantity.
- Drain the first food over the frying pan then on kitchen paper or in a sieve to get rid of excess oil if not, food becomes soggy, unattractive and indigestible.
- Fried food should be served hot as flavour deteriorates as it cools down.
- If fried food is covered closely white-hot, the steam makes it soggy. Let it cool before covering or use a wire gauze to cover it.
Advantages of frying
- Food is quickly cooked
- Fried foods are very tasty, attractive, and appetizing
- Fried foods are very filling and they keep hunger away.
Disadvantages of frying
- Fried foods are slow to digest.
- Fried foods are not suitable for invalid, convalescent aged, children and people with digestion or stomach upset such as ulcer patients.
- It needs constant and careful attention.
- If the fat is too oily, the food may be burnt and not cooked.