Frying is a cooking process in which food is submerged in a hot fat, usually oil. Depending on the amount of oil used, cooking time and type of pan used for cooking, there are three types of frying processes:
- Shallow frying
- Deep frying
- Stir frying
Of these three frying processes, stir-frying is considered the healthiest and quickest cooking method.
Deep fried foods
are labeled amongst the most notorious of nutritional villains
since from a health standpoint; they are bad for your heart, brain and weight
Foods absorb oil while deep-frying. Since oils are high calorie foods providing 9 calories per gram, the calorie content of food increases drastically.
Common foods that are deep-fried include chips, French fries, spring rolls and doughnuts.
It is interesting to know that according to research conducted at department of public health, University of Parma, Italy,deep frying retains the anti-oxidant
properties of most vegetables and is considered a better cooking method than shallow frying.
Despite the health risks associated, the urge to eat fried foods is undeniable. After all, fat enhances appearance, acceptability and flavor of food multi-fold and also gives it a crispy texture.
How to Make Fried Food Healthy?
Generally while frying, about 10% fat from the oil gets absorbed. While frying, the kind of oil used is just one factor, which influences the health factor of a fried food
. Other possibilities 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.
If you follow the following guidelines carefully, fried foods can definitely become a part of your diet.
- 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 since it creates porousness, which in turn increases oil absorption.
For frying always choose an 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.
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, corn oil and rice bran oil
are best suited for deep frying.
- Avoid Reusing Oil Repeatedly for Frying
When oils are reused repeatedly, the smoking point of oil decreases, which facilitates higher fat absorption and associated health risks.
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.
- Soya - The Magic Ingredient
A soya fortified batter is an excellent way to increase the protein content as well as keep oil absorption in check. Blending 10% soya flour with wheat flour or 20% soya flour to gram flour batter reduces oil absorption by nearly 20%.
- Fry at the Right Temperature
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.
Of course, 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.