FRIED foods are tasty and cooking time is quick for people always on the go.
Despite the health risks associated with fried foods, the urge to eat them is undeniable. After all, fat enhances appearance, acceptability and flavor of food multi-fold and also gives it a crispy texture.
Whether your frying is stir, deep, or shallow, the foods absorb oil, depending on the amount of oil used, cooking time and type of pan used for cooking. Of course, the healthiest and quickest frying process is stir frying.
Common foods that are deep-fried include chips, French fries, spring rolls and doughnuts.
One research conducted at the University of Parma in Italy found that deep frying retains the anti-oxidant properties of most vegetables and is considered a better cooking method than shallow frying.
While frying, about 10 percent fat from the oil gets absorbed. The kind of oil used is just one factor, which influences the health factor of a fried food. Other factors include how the food has been fried (deep or shallow fried), whether the oil has been reused or how the batter has been prepared. A proper frying technique minimizes oil absorption while creating a sublime, toasty crust.
Here are tricks to make frying foods healthy:
* Create the perfect batter. Coating foods creates a tasty crust, but if the batter coating goes wrong it can inflate calories by drastically increasing oil absorption.
Making a batter containing refined flour is a good idea since it contains gluten, which decreases fat absorption, but an exclusive refined flour batter increases oil absorption. Adding gluten free flours like cornmeal or rice flour appears as a good idea to keep a tab on oil absorption.
Avoid adding sodium bicarbonate to the batter because it can become porous, which could increase oil absorption.
* Use the right oil. Always choose cooking oil that enhances both flavor and quality of a fried product. It is equally important to choose oil containing lesser amount of saturated fats, ideally less than 20 grams per 100 ml and with a high smoking point. Fats with higher amounts of saturated fats increase cholesterol levels.
* Know the smoke point of oil. The smoke point is a marker for when decomposition of oil starts taking place and refers to the temperature at which a cooking fat or oil begins to break down to glycerol and free fatty acids.
Since most foods are fried between the temperatures of 350-450 degrees Fahrenheit, it is crucial to choose oil with a smoking point above 400 degrees. Peanut oil, coconut (palm) oil, corn oil and rice bran oil are best suited for deep frying.
* Maintain the heat. Maintain the correct oil temperature during cooking; otherwise, food starts absorbing excess oil, which not only adding fat and subsequently upping the calorie content but also makes it soggy.
* Do not reuse oil repeatedly. When oils are reused repeatedly, the smoking point of oil decreases, which facilitates higher fat absorption and associated health risks.
* Check the moisture. If the moisture content of a particular food is high, there is greater fat absorption. Hence, it is important to keep moisture content in check to ensure that fried foods do not absorb excess oil.
* Use soya. A soya fortified batter is an excellent way to increase the protein content as well as keep oil absorption in check. Blending 10 percent soya flour with wheat flour or 20 percent soya flour to gram flour batter reduces oil absorption by nearly 20 percent.
* Use absorbent paper. Frying your favorite munchies at home and keeping them for a minute or two after frying on an absorbent paper is a good idea to keep your weight and heart in perfect shape.