There has been much talk about fried foods generally being unhealthy, but we all know as Nigerians we really can’t but fry our foods from time to time. Here are 7 ways to help make your fried foods healthier to eat. The goal here is to minimize oil absorption.
1. CHOOSE HEART-HEALTHY OIL WITH A HIGH SMOKE POINT
The sub-heading says it all. Heart-healthy oil with low cholesterol is what you should use when frying your foods. Also, different oils have different stabilities, also called the ‘smoke point’. The higher the smoke point the more stable your oil and the better suited it is for cooking at high temperatures.
2. KEEP YOUR OIL FRESH
Please don’t wait till your frying oil is dark-brown or even black before you change it. The more oil is exposed to high temperature, the more readily it breaks down and releases free radicals etc into your food. It’s advisable to reuse your oil for about 3 or 4 times, after which you should change to a fresh one.
3. KEEP YOUR OIL CLEAN
Make sure your oil is clean and be sure to remove the crumbs or debris that might be left in the pan after frying. It’s important to often remove this debris because they will continue to burn in the pan. The burned particles will cause the oil to discolor and eventually infuse it with an off flavor that will affect the taste of the food. Slotted spoons can easily be used to remove these crumbs.
4. HEAT YOUR OIL TO THE PROPER TEMPERATURE
Be sure to heat your cooking oil to the proper temperature before you start frying. Without doing this, your food will end up absorbing more oil than it should, defeating the goal of minimizing oil absorption and increasing the fat and calorie content of your food.
5. MAINTAIN THE PROPER TEMPERATURE WHEN COOKING
It’s not enough to heat to the proper temperature before cooking; you should also maintain the proper temperature when cooking the food. If this is not done, the food will absorb excess oil, not only adding fat and calories to it but also making it soggy and greasy. Typically, a greasy fried food is a badly fried food.
6. WHEN BATTERING FOOD BEFORE FRYING…
When battering foods before frying, you should use carbonated liquids or a small amount of leavening (baking soda) or both in the batter. They help to release gas bubbles as the food cooks and further reduces oil absorption.
7. DRAIN YOUR FRIED FOODS IMMEDIATELY AFTER FRYING
To prevent excess oil from clinging and soaking into the food, you should drain your fried foods on a paper towel, one to two minutes after frying.