The idea of having delicious golden brown chicken nuggets, finger steaks, calamari, or Pommes soufflées deep-fried at home surely waters the mouth.
Deep-frying your food yourself also gives you more peace of mind about the ingredients than eating deep-fried food in fast-food restaurants. The freshness of the oil and the food is now under your supervision.
Deep fryers are not that complicated. Yet, you need to know how to operate them, not only for the tastiness of the food but also for your safety.
Here are the things you need to use a deep fryer.
What You Need
- A deep fryer (duh!)
- Metal tongs
- A deep fryer thermostat (if not built-in)
- A drying rack
- Paper towels
- A timer (if not built-in)
How to Use an Deep Fryer: A Step-by-Step Guide
Cut your food equally to help the deep fryer cook it evenly. Use paper towels to dry the food from any excess water or ice. Wet food is hazardous and it will cause the hot oil to splatter.
Dredge and coat your food in the proper breading and/or batter. The ingredients change from one recipe to another. Their existence is essential to add delicious flavor and fluffy texture to deep-fried food. They also act as a thermal barrier between the hot oil and the inside of the food.
Assemble the deep fryer if it isn’t already. Some models need the user to put together the frying basket or to attach the lid. Make sure you get that done before the frying time comes.
Pick an oil that is suitable for deep-frying; this means it has a neutral flavor and a high smoking point. The neutral flavor ensures that it won’t overpower the taste of the food.
The high smoking point means it can handle the high temperatures needed for deep frying. Oils with a neutral flavor and a high smoking point are vegetable, safflower, grapeseed, corn, peanut, canola, and soybean oils.
Make sure to pick an oil you can afford since deep frying uses a significant amount of oil compared to other cooking methods.
When the fryer is off and cool, fill the tank with the right amount of oil. Most fryers now show a minimum and maximum line to guide you. If yours doesn’t have one or both, fill your tank enough to submerge your food, but not more than halfway.
Now is the time to turn on the fryer, either by plugging it in or turning a switch on. Close the lid and heat the oil up to 325-375°F or 163-191°C. Some recipes even reach up to 400°F or 204°C.
The right temperature depends on the recipe. Consult a temperature chart. What is essential in this step is that you know where the temperature is at. So, if your deep fryer doesn’t already have a thermostat, get one.
Again, make sure the food is dry by now to avoid any accidents. Lower your food very carefully, slowly, and gradually into the fryer using the basket or metal tongs. Do not drop the food into the fryer or put too much at once; you will regret it.
Cook in small batches. Overcrowding the fryer for the sake of fast cooking will lower the temperature, leading to uneven cooking or oil overflowing.
Get a timer if the fryer doesn’t have one and set it to avoid overcooking, which can be dangerous with so much hot oil. Close the lid, but don’t forget to check on the food.
Once the food becomes golden brown, remove it carefully either by lifting the basket out or using the metal tongs. Shake off the food with the tongs to get rid of excess oil then place it on a drying rack. Wait for the food to cool down.
Either dispose of the oil properly or store it for future reuse. Two hours after frying, pour cooled oil into a sealed container and throw it in the trash. Don’t pour it in the sink, or it will clog the pipes.
If you want to store it, filter it using cheesecloth into a sealed container. Keep it away from any heat or light.
Everything related to deep-fryer use can be boiled down to this: be careful. You need to be careful to deep fry your food right, and you need to be careful to be safe. Also, don’t forget that some details differ for every recipe, so do your research.
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