Easy Frying Tips for Beginners
For many, frying isn’t a walk in the park. Whether it’s for chicken, tilapia, or tortang talong, frying has always had a troublesome reputation among amateur cooks because of the health and safety hazards it poses. There’s truth to all that—if you don’t know how to fry properly.
Frying can be easy, safe, and rewarding. Splatters and burns can be avoided by equipping yourself with the right gear, techniques, and tricks. If you don't have an airfryer and you're sticking to the old-fashioned way, here are some tried-and-tested frying tips for bachelors that will help you conquer frying courageously like a man. Eyes on the prize, gentlemen: a golden, perfectly crisp, amazingly crunchy fried chicken.
1| Dress accordingly
First frying tip for bachelors: Protect yourself. Nope, keep that hazmat suit in the closet. For starters, gear up with a long-sleeved shirt and an apron. That’s it. Gloves may be overdoing it, but if that’ll help with your confidence, then go ahead. Once you get the skills down pat, though, you might as well wear your most expensive suit.
2| Use the proper equipment
Before you even start frying a whole fish, check your kitchen for the proper battle gear. Key here is your pan. It must be thick and heavy-bottomed; for deep-frying, best to use a Dutch oven or an actual deep-fryer. Have your frying tools ready, too. Very long tongs might just be your new friend.
3| Choose the right type of frying
Shallow frying uses minimal oil, usually just enough to cook one side of a food item within a particular time. This is best for frying eggs, fish, and sausages. Deep frying requires more oil as food is completely submerged in oil. This one’s for fried chicken, crispy pata, and French fries. Stir-frying involves cooking smaller cuts of meat quickly over very high heat.
4| Use the right oil
You want an oil with a high smoking point, because oils with lower smoking points will make food taste bad and can cause fires. Peanut, sunflower, and canola oil are suggested, but affordable, neutral-flavored vegetable oil can do the job just as well. If you want to use olive oil, try pomace. Never use extra virgin olive oil. How to fry starts with understanding what oil to use.
5| Heat up that oil
Never start frying unless your oil is hot enough. Doing otherwise will lead to a soggy and oily product. Remember this easy frying tip: Hotter oil means faster cooking means less oil absorption. To test if it’s hot enough, dip the end of a wooden spoon in the oil, if bubbles form around it, you’re good to go. Or you can throw in a piece of bread and test if it bubbles fast enough.
6| Do not multi-task
You don’t want to do anything else. Drop that phone. Keep your eyes glued to that pan. Focus, my friend!
7| Keep things dry
Water is the enemy of hot oil. Even the tiniest droplet can lead to splatter, so make sure no form of moisture touches your oil. That involves completely pat-drying your food with paper towels before frying. Water also lowers the temperature of oil, which will slow down cooking and simmer your food instead of frying.
8| To cover or not to cover?
Covering your pan while frying leads to steam. That steam prevents your food from turning crispy and produces moisture on the underside of the lid. And that’s when water droplets come in contact with your oil and produce little explosions like a firecracker. If you can’t help it, get yourself a splatter guard. So, no cover. And no, that cover isn’t a shield.
9| Fry in batches
Don’t add your food into the pan all at once. Overcrowding lowers the temperature, which will only give you a soggy product. Food in the pan should be able to move—personal space, please! Taking short breaks between batches will also allow the oil to heat up to the ideal temperature again.
10| Remove impurities: How to keep your oil clean?
Breaks between batches is also the ideal time to scoop out impurities that form on top of the oil or get stuck at the bottom of the pan. Impurities are little pieces and particles of uncooked or overcooked food, seasoning, and breading that oil collects as you cook. Make sure you get all of these out or else your food might turn bitter.
11| Stop touching your food
Limit touching your food to only the beginning and the end. Avoid touching the food with your tongs—and your hands!—during cooking. You’ll know it’s time to turn or lift up your food if it easily separates from the bottom of the pan. Excessive touching could lead to the food’s coating slipping off.
12| Drop food slowly but surely
It seems challenging, but you really have to drop the food as closely, slowly, and gently into the oil as possible. Doing it this way, instead of tossing in the food in a lightning flash, causes less splatter. For batter-coated food, you’d even want to dip the food in hot oil for a few seconds before letting go. This ensures that the breading doesn’t fall off. Best to use your hands for this, but sure, you can start with tongs.
13| Soak up all the oil
After frying, place your food on a plate lined with sheets of paper towel. You want all of that excess oil to be soaked up. You might even want to pat dry your food a couple of times before serving. Remember: Oily isn’t the same as juicy. Advanced cooks even use a wire rack to allow excess oil to drip—this trick, done by katsu restaurants, also keeps the underside crisp.
14| Avoid reusing oil
If you have to, do it once. If you really have to, then twice but that’s it. If you’re doing this, strain your used and cooled oil first and store it in a dark glass bottle—not back in its original container. You want to do this to keep your oil from turning rancid and affecting the flavor of your food. Also, reuse the oil for the same type of food. No one wants danggit-flavored fried chicken.
15| Dispose properly
You should know by now that frying is all about oil and so we have frying tips for its disposal. Proper handling of oil extends to how it should be dealt with after cooking. Allow it to cool completely in the pan before storage and disposal. Never dispose oil by pouring it down the drain. You can sell it and have it recycled, or transfer it to a disposable container and throw it in the trash.
16| Keep a fire extinguisher ready
Just. In. Case.