Written by Brian (@brhinos), Sydney
A few months ago, I was excited by my new air fryer so I thought it was only fitting to do a post on deep frying. A friend bought a deep fryer and to commemorate the event, we decided to have a deep fried party where we came up with a list of as many things as we could deep fry. The day arrived and our list stood at 17 items ranging from chips to onion rings to the famous battered Mars bars.
With a couple of litres of oil preheated in the deep fryer, here’s some of the things we cooked and some of the lessons we learnt along the way.
The Fry Up – The Easy Stuff
We knew if we wanted to get through our list of 17 deep fried foods, pacing ourselves would be key. So our strategy was to cook simple pre made or frozen foods to start and integrate rest periods where we would prepare more labour intensive dishes to cook. So this is how our journey began, with some pre made mini scotch eggs.
Quick to cook and surprisingly hot to taste, I made the rookie mistake of getting too excited and nearly burning my mouth with a freshly deep fried scotch egg. I learnt my lesson and we continued the fry up.
Potato croquettes, Potato wedges and the unpictured (poorly shot) items of onion rings and steak cut chips took our Deep Fried count to 5 and we were loving it. The textures were so crunchy, it put the junk in junk food and made it taste indulgently better.
Crumbed Fish Fillets and Crumbed Chicken took our count to 6 and 7 respectively and this is where trouble hit. We started to feel the effects of the oil and started feeling full.
Favourites – Parmesan and truffle oil fries
Years ago when Charlie & Co opened up in Sydney, I fell in love with the parmesan truffle fries so I absolutely had to recreate them.
This involved deep frying shoe string fries, adding truffle oil and parmesan cheese and presto! Delicious fries taking the Deep Fried count to 8.
1. Scotch eggs are easy to make but difficult to perfect
For those not familiar with a scotch egg, it originates from the UK and essentially is a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat and battered in bread crumbs.
The real challenge comes in not over cooking the eggs while ensuring the sausage meat is cooked through. To ensure this, we had to hard boil the eggs to the minimum time so that it would hold it’s shape while the shell is being removed. We went through half a dozen soft boiled eggs before we finally got it right.
The final result was tasty but unfortunately, not the ideal runny yolk we were going for. Next time! Deep Fried count 9.
For the Jamie Oliver recipe, click here.
2. Heston’s Triple Cooked Chips involve a labour intensive process but are absolutely worth it
Incredibly crunchy and flavoursome, these are the best home made chips I’ve ever had!
As the name suggests, these chips are cooked three times. Boiled, deep fried then deep fried again. The key is to remove the moisture out of them as much as possible after each step. This is done by cooling them on cooling rack, then placing them in the freezer for at least an hour before moving to the next phase of cooking. Heston also has three secrets:
“The first secret is cooking the chips until they are almost falling apart as the cracks are what makes them so crispy. The second secret is allowing the chips to steam dry then sit in the freezer for an hour to get rid of as much moisture as possible. The final secret is to cook the chips in very hot oil for a crispy, glass-like crust.”
For the full recipe, click here. Deep Fried count 10.
3. Making home made Fried Ice cream is so easy and rewarding
Ordering Fried Ice Cream from Chinese restaurants has been an indulgent treat but little did I know how simple it was to create the same dish at home. See Brando’s fried ice cream recipe for some tips.
Step 1 to 3 – Roll, Freeze, Crumb. Crumb again. Prepare the oil and crumb one last time before frying.
Step 4 – Fry Away!
Step 5 – Bon Appetite. Deep Fried Count 11.
4. And my final lesson. Don’t be greedy!
At 11 items, we were all done. Hours of eating had finally taken their toll and our stomachs were bursting at the seams. I really wanted to get to the deep fried Mars Bar stage but we just couldn’t go on after the ice cream. To be fair, we had a great time frying our day away and felt like we gave the 2 litres of oil a good run for our money.
Since I’ve covered the positives and negatives of Air Frying, it’s only fair I do the same for deep frying.
The positives: Unlike the Air Fryer, health benefits do not feature as a positive. However, what this method lacks in health benefits, it makes up for in unrivaled crispy, battered exteriors. And let’s be honest, this is why we’re all using a deep fat fryer for. Other positives are fast and even cooking.
The negatives: I don’t want to dwell on this because we’re all aware that excess oil is not good for you. So to be brief, deep frying has a high oil absorption rate in food, high quantity of oil requirement (which has limited usage and is inconvenient to dispose of), it’s difficult to clean, messy and dangerous (splattering oil hurts and is flammable). And did I mention it uses a lot of oil?
All in all, deep frying is a fun and delicious way of cooking food. Ignoring the negative health benefits, it really can elevate a dish with better crispier textures. If you decide to get a deep fryer, be prepared to make some potentially unwise decisions that your taste buds will thank you for. Your waistline? Not so much.