Frying is the process of cooking food by either placing it or immersing it in oil, which is heated to a temperature sufficient enough to brown the surface of the food, and partially or completely cook it. Fried Recipes are a part of every cuisine across the globe as fried dishes are often more flavorful than dishes prepared using other methods of cooking. Frying also gives a crisp and crunchy texture to the food. French Fries, Fried Chicken and Fried Rice are some of the most popular fried dishes.
Origin of Frying as a Method of Cooking
Frying originated as a method of cooking around 2500 B.C. It is said to have evolved from Egypt. However, with the advancement of time, it was adopted as a cooking process by almost every cuisine. As fried dishes require lesser time than dishes prepared through other methods of cooking, fried recipes became synonymous with fast food recipes in almost every cuisine.
The Process of Frying
Originally, there were two different processes adopted for frying i.e. deep frying, wherein the food is cooked by completely immersing it in fat, and shallow frying, which does not require the food to be completely immersed in not oil. Deep frying is usually carried out in frying pans or deep fat fryers. Pressure fryers are also used, mostly in commercial mass production, in order to further reduce the cooking time. Shallow frying is done using equipment such as hot plates, griddles or sauté pans. There are certain factors to be kept in mind for both shallow as well as deep frying, some of which are mentioned below:
• The fat must be hot enough to seal the outermost skin of the food, as otherwise the food being fried will absorb the oil and become soggy.
• Potatoes should be coated prior to frying, in order to ensure that none of the juices are lost. Batter, flour, eggs and breadcrumbs are generally used for coating.
• The fat or oil used for deep frying must have a high smoking point. Shallow Frying:
• Food should be seasoned prior to shallow frying.
• The fat should be drained well prior to serving, as shallow fried dishes have a tendency to become greasy if left in the oil.
• Thick bottomed frying pans should be used for shallow frying.
Popular Fried Dishes
French Fries, Fish Fingers, Omelet, Onion Rings and Golden Fried Chicken are examples of popular fried dishes. Fried recipes include ingredients ranging from potatoes and rice to poultry, lamb and fish. Deep frying is a popular method of cooking in the Indian cuisine, while other Asian and other cuisines rely more on shallow or stir-frying methods. The American cuisine uses both methods of frying in order to prepare a wide variety of fried dishes ranging from the deep-fried French fries to the shallow-fried pancakes.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Frying
There are certain advantages of frying over other methods of cooking. Frying gives a crisp and firm outer coating to the food, while keeping the inside tender and juicy. Also, due to the caramelizing of sugars present in the food, Fried food obtains a unique flavor. Fried dishes are prepared much faster than dishes prepared by any other method of cooking, as oil becomes much hotter than other cooking mediums at normal atmospheric pressure. This is also the reason why most of the “fast-food” items are served fried. The main disadvantage of frying is the high level of fat and cholesterol that goes into fried dishes. Fried foods are not very easily digestible, and the surface can get carbonized or burnt very easily, if the temperature is too high.
Cooking Methods Similar to Frying
Frying, in general, can refer to a number of different methods of frying that have evolved over time, such as stir-frying, sautéing and pan-frying. Although the basic method of preparation is the same for all methods, slight variations in the cooking processes do exist.
• The normal frying temperature is between 160 to 190° centigrade.
• Canola oil is most suited for making deep fried recipes.
• A frying pan 10 feet in diameter that holds 800 chicken quarters was built for the Delmarva Chicken Festival in 1950.