Being an adult is full of responsibilities nobody told you about: fighting with your neighbors, cleaning your bathroom sink, paying taxes, not eating carbs at night… and feeling guilty if you eat fried food. Life is already dramatic enough, so we have compiled a few tips to fry without oil or, at least, cook healthier fried food and getting back to enjoy French fries with no remorse.
The art of frying —with and without oil
We agree: eating fried food is not a gift for our organism due to several reasons. Many times oil is not clean enough, the temperature is too high, a piece of fried food can make your digestion really hard and, eventually, the circulatory system suffers.
Why we love fried and breaded food is a mystery: that crunchy feeling, the flavour with some spices, those French fries that taste like our childhood… Frying is not the only way to enjoy food, but we don’t need to remove it from our diet. You just need to be more conscious about what you eat and be sure technology evolves to serve us —most of the time. And that’s why we are here, to tell you there is no need to say farewell to fried food.
Do it yourself
Highly recommended. It does not mean that you cannot get some fries in a restaurant on your night out: it is ok to do it from time to time. But if you want to make some fried food once or twice per week, something both children and adults will love, better to cook at home. If you cook at home fried food, you will know what type of oil or fat you use, you can control cooking times, temperature, and ingredients, and you can make delicious homemade recipes and conquer the world with your fried chicken.
Use clean oil
Clean oil can be reused oil too, though it is best if you just use oil once. But, since that is not common in most homes, let’s say you can use olive oil up to three times and sunflower oil twice. Usually, we consider the oil after frying and egg quite clean; but if you fry fish and then want to use that same oil for some fries, your culinary future will not be very bright.
When we talk about clean oil, we are not only talking about how clean it looks. The chemical process during cooking affects the quality of the oil, and the kind of food we fry can also change oil composition. Try to filter oil and don’t mix different types of oils when cooking.
Don’t forget to recycle oil properly. Contact your local authorities to know how or where can you dispose of it. You can even make soap of it (being very, very careful).
Cooking and frying without oil
Yes, it is possible to cook with oil and with crispy, juicy results without all that grease: perfect combo. You can always cook in the oven instead of frying, as a different cooking method. But now you can even fry in the oven, so you can have all the advantages of this appliance and this new function.
An oven is also convenient if your kitchen is not too big: you can use it for different cooking methods instead of having one appliance for every single need —that means you can save money too. And last, an oven is easier to clean, plus you can usually have more room inside to cook for more than one or two people, something useful if you are a family, cause it will save not only money but time.
Another appliance to use without oil is an air fryer. It is thought to work as an ordinary deep fat fryer but using a system similar to convection ovens. There are different available sizes, and they can be a good choice for families with fans of both frying food and keep a healthy cholesterol level.
The oven as an alternative
Most of the frozen food you buy can be fried or cooked in the oven, a healthier choice. The result is not the same and may change with the type of oven and functions too: not all the ovens can cook food evenly.
If you choose to cook some fries or nuggets in a conventional oven, you will use less oil, and looking for the proper height of the tray or toss or flip food will be enough for a crispy surface, the closest you are going to be of frying food. You will not need a lid as a shield nor making funny noises while oil (those can be pros or cons).
The right temperature
If you are willing to fry in a skillet or a fryer, don’t burn the oil. The highest temperature should not be more than 180 °C (pretty important: croquettes should be fried at 175 °C to 180 °C /350 °F), and 160 °C for veggies. Too hot oil can make a piece of food cooked too fast on the outside and remaining almost raw inside. If you want to know when the oil is ready in a skillet, since you already have control of the temperature in a deep fat fryer, use a small piece of bread or a wooden stick. If you put them in the oil and there are some bubbles around, it’s time to fry.
There are hobs with functions to reach the right temperature to fry food and keep it, so that will not be a problem.
Watch your salt intake
Fried and frozen food usually come together, even cooking at home. This type of food has many negative points for our organism. One, as you can guess, is too much sodium. Not only when you eat just one dish, but also because you get used to it and your body demands salty food, eventually.
Don’t use too much salt when cooking and eating. You may think it is not very important right now, but if you don’t reduce your salt intake, perhaps you will need to stop using it at all in just a few years.
Choose good quality ingredients
As it usually happens when cooking, good quality ingredients make a difference: they are tasty and better for your health. Choose fresh, seasonal food, and buy at your nearest farmers’ market. Frying does not mean poor-quality food or bad recipes. Cooking with good ingredients and good vegetable oil can turn deep-frying into art.
Love to fried food is love too, and now you know how to look for a comparable cooking method and enjoy it with no remorse. Responsible food consumption and choosing among the new and different choices will help you to achieve that crispy and crunchy result without using deep frying and as part of a balanced diet.