In terms of frying, there are many ways to fry, many ideas in frying and preferences. There is no doubt that when you fry, it’s about the exterior crunch and interior tenderness. The best is balance is what determines your success, texture and taste – good luck! Oh, whenever you fry, use a temperature gauge to make sure you have just the right temperature performance, or you will not optimize your tastes. Understanding the basic science behind frying helps you achieve better results. .
The most common calculation is the Biot number, the ratio of how heat moves from the oil into the surface of the food (rate of conduction of heat) into the centre of the food. Hence the smaller foods fry more evenly, as long as their proportions and surface areas are such that they can be optimized. So when you cut your french fires, make sure to get the best cut.
In most cases, fried foods in Europe they seem much heavier than in Asia. In Europe too often foods are greasy, making you feel overwhelmed.
In Greece where many foods are fried, many professional kitchens over fry batches, ignoring the importance of changing the oil, ruining foods. Foods get fried over and over again, oil becomes rancid and the foods saturated in fat. Scorched oil is unpleasantly oily, and leaves a very bad impression.
Settling Period/Constant Rate/Falling Rate:
The facts of frying are kind of simple, and if you understand them, you can achieve better results. When you fry, humidity of the foods play a key role. When you fry you have three stages; settling period, when the food enters the oil and water droplets rush out from the food and insulate the food.
When the streams of bubbles start to slow, you will have the constant rate and the foods are drying and crust is forming, and the falling rate is when the crust temperature rises quickly and the boiling zone moves deeper into the food and it is then that you get the golden colour, the crunch texture.
Frying is about the timing, the cuts, the oil, the tools and the skill and intelligence of the chef. Remember oil moves heat within foods much faster than does air in an oven. Good frying doesn’t mean you drop food into oil, it means you have perfected the craft of frying. It is more about crunchy texture, oil flavour, and foods that are non greasy.
So what actually happens is when you fry, did you notice when frying you get bubbles. Watching the bubbles is a sign that the food is losing moisture and can dry but it takes some time for this to happen. What happens is, the surface temperature is no more than 100°C, as the water evaporates from the food. This known as the wet bulb, the surface is below the boiling point.
The idea of wet batter adds more moisture, making it more difficult to reach a constant rate as quickly. Therefore thinking food versus frying performance can be a matter of adjusting a recipe.
The wet batter has its advantages and disadvantages, too wet and it protects the food from over cooking. If you use a wet batter, you add more moisture to the surface of the food, so try to use well proportioned foods. Remember water in oil acts as a barrier and humid air bubbles develop between the batter and the food.
Sometimes step frying can be used on foods that aren’t easily cooked at boiling temperatures. You can cook the food in a bath of oil at 120-140°C and then remove the food and raise the temperature and fry. Low temperature par cooking or baking is also suitable.
In fact, if you try Tenpura in Tokyo, you would likely over look the experience and talent of the chef. The cooking looks easy, timeless and the end result is crispy perfection, no bubbles and the oil remains in perfect condition.
The foods are crisp, no brown spots and evenly fried and coloured. The main reason Japanese are so proficient in frying is, each restaurant focuses on one single discipline, in the case of Tenpura, the chef only fries. The technique is perfected over many trials of practice over years or even centuries.
In fact this method of frying food was introduced in the 1600’s by Portuguese missionaries. The original dish has disappeared, but it was a meal meant for Lent, when many Christian denominations are forbidden to eat meat. In fact, the name tempura comes from the Latin ‘ad tempora cuaresme’, which means ‘in the time of Lent.’ The Japanese mistook this as the dish’s name and called it tenpura.
The Frying Pan:
The pan used for tenpura should be deep and thick so that heat is evenly conveyed to the food. As oil due to nature is oxidized due to metallic ions, copper and iron pans will have a stronger oxidization effect on the oil, whereas oil in an aluminum pan will deteriorate the oil least, closely followed due to stainless steel.
The shape of the bottom of the pan can be round or flat, depending on the ingredients to fry and the volume of oil. It is a generally recognized that deterioration is slower when less oil surface is exposed to the air.
Batter coated foods are the most challenging, and one secret is to eliminate them from being greasy, add some more egg white. The batter is the breading, and in most cases the processing of the dried bread works best. You can even try to toast the dried bread, add other compatible ingredients to the fried mix. The aim is to get the best possible mixture that fried consistently and gives the best texture and taste.
I know that some chefs use sparkling water in their batter and even ice cubes. Using colder temperature batter can keep the foods from gaining the cooking they require but is effective in some frying.
Thin cuts have proportionally more crust than interior volume, so cut foods a littler thicker when frying to get a balanced fry.
Brining chicken or fish is useful and soaking it in buttermilk or milk can change foods. The brining helps to add some tenderness so the end result is more tenderness.
You must have a tool to remove the crumbs because they lower temperatures, they get scorched and ruin the oil.
You must blot foods as soon as they come out of the fryer or they will be too greasy. This is the most common problem in Greece, french fries or fried squid (Kalamari) hangs around in the fryer’s basket and absorbs the oil. The reason is, after frying the same fissures where the steam escaped creates a vacuum that draws oil back into the foods.
Oil cooks when it fries, and older oils are more viscous and cling more stubbornly to foods. Remember the oil thickens as the temperature drops. The oil changes the frying and texture, certain oils are more easy to use for frying, I use sunflower, cottonseed, peanut, teaseed and even sesame oil. Each oil adds a dimension of taste or not.
Either way, the oil needs to be changed more often than you think, or the end result can be very different. When you finally see foam, the oil is garbage, the chemical properties are no longer such that the oil is usable. While some oils are not quality and they produce foams. In Japan sesame oil is very common and the qualities vary the same way as in olive oils.
In many cases in place of white flour, katakuriko potato, rice flour or corn starch. In my view, the starch used is key to the success of texture, and this is obvious in the process. I suggest blending the flour or starch to see what works best in your environment. By the sea you will have more humidity and in a city drier air.
The aim is a crispy finish, non greasy, this can achieved by experimenting to achieve a light taste, a good-looking fried food, not clumpy, heavy or hard to digest.
Recently it was explained to me by a chef who produces a light batter, a refined crispy taste, and here is how he does it. The result is excellent however, you need to test yourself what works best. (Photo below)
- 6 eggs
- 250ml milk
- 300/350g flour
- pinch of salt
- 15ml sake
- 5g sugar
Note: use fine bread crumbs and bamboo skewers.
#1. Mix the ingredients for the batter slowly to prevent it from coming pasty. Then pass the skewer with the food into the batter.
#2. The batter should be soft enough for some threads to hang down and let it be over a metal mesh rack for the residue to fall.
#3. Place the skewer into breads crumbs and sprinkle on top and make sure all sides are coated.
#4. Fry in Oil 175 °C until golden brown.
You can change the steps by trying other methods to achieve what you consider to be the best fried foods. I have tried different steps for different foods, e.g. when I use squid, I use this technique to get a crispy texture.
#1 dusting with potato starch.
#2 submerging into egg whipped gently.
#3 sprinkle generously with fine bread crumbs.
#4 fry in oil until golden brown.