Desperate to Deep Fry
When I received this question from Brenda who was having trouble frying chicken tenders for her kids, I asked a few of my chef friends, who brilliantly responded with ideas and suggestions.
I need some pointers on frying...I've been cooking for years and recently have had problems with the grease foaming up when I deep fry meats. I'm using Canola Oil...and a wok. I flour and season the chicken, dip it in egg, then into Japanese breadcrumbs, then put it right into the hot oil. Then, all of a sudden, it foams up and wants to overflow!!!
This has never happened before, and nothing has changed; I've been doing it this way for years. HELP! I'm getting to the point where I don't want to deep-fry anything anymore! My kids MISS my Chicken Tenders, and I know they're much healthier than the ones in restaurants and would like to make them again...but I'm "reluctant."
HELP ME OUT, PLEASE!!!
Desperate To Deep Fry, VA.
All the chefs agree that water and oil do not play well together. Chef Alan says, "All foods contain moisture and water will react violently with hot oil, even in small amounts."
Chef Ricco points out a little more dramatically, "Hot oil or for that matter cold oil and water don't mix, but hot oil and water, Danger, Danger Will Robinson. " (a quote from a popular TV show when I was a kid, Lost In Space - rg)
Keeping It Dry Suggestions
It is essential to ensure that your food is as dry as possible," says Chef Alan, "and this can be achieved by patting your chicken tenderloins dry with a paper towel. In addition, try to let as much excess egg drain off your chicken before breading it. Then, you only need a small amount on the surface to adhere the bread crumbs to."
Chef Garrett suggests building a little rack for the chicken tenders and letting them dry for 20 to 30 minutes before frying them.
Keep an Eye On Your Temperature
The chefs agree the type of oil you are frying with and the temperature is critical to successful frying. Although Canola is OK to cook with, it has a very high smoking point of 400 degrees F. Therefore, getting it hot enough to fry something takes more heat. Alternatives are sunflower, safflower & peanut, with lower smoking points.
Chef Alan says, "You don't need a temperature above 350 degrees F for frying purposes. At a higher temperature, the oil will be more reactive (to water) and an unnecessarily hot pot of oil is a safety concern."
Chef Ricco also thinks Brenda's oil may have been old and "one thing for sure, used oil already broken down, isn't any good. "
Consider the Level of Oil You Are Using
If too much oil is in the pan and you start adding ingredients, the oil level increases. If the ingredient has any moisture in it at all, you are going to have foaming over.
Chef Alan says, "It should never be more than a third of the way up the pan, mostly for safety reasons."
Don't Crowd the Pan
Chef Ricco says, "Never crowd the pan. First, you must ensure the oil can cook around the food. Then, you can hold cooked food in the oven at 200 degrees F while you fry the rest of the batch."
Chef Alan agrees and adds, "Consider if you are only making a small number of tenders, for a family of four of five, there is no need to immerse them in oil completely. Instead, put an inch or slightly more in the wok, cook through on one side, and flip over to complete. This alternative will save you oil (and money!), but there will be much less chance that your oil will foam over."
Two Important Safety Tips
"Don't use those spring-loaded tongs to fry with. They are very dangerous." Chef Ricco says. "If your fingers slip off the tongs while in the hot oil, it's like a loaded gun of splattering oil."
Also, if the frying pan catches fire, quickly cover it with a lid and it's a good idea to always have a full chemical fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
Final Tip from Chef Ricco
One more significant thing, when you add salt to food after frying (french fries, chicken, fish, or whatever, do so away from the oil; the salt breaks down the oil fast.
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