Liquid gold – the fascination with deep-fried food

Liquid gold – the fascination with deep-fried food

Onion rings, fried chicken or tempura? Yes please!

Whether you prefer classic French fries and croquettes or more exotic specialities such as tempura and churros, you can't go wrong with deep-fried food. But why is this? Is it the combination of a crunchy, crispy exterior and soft, hot centre? Or maybe it's the oil? It's time we found out why we're so hung up on deep-fried food.

Let's be honest – deep-fried food is hard to beat! Whether it's succulent chicken in a crispy crumb coating or Japanese tempura with homemade dips, deep-fried food appeals to carnivores and vegetarians in equal measure.

But why is this? Just like strips of potato in hot oil, we intend to delve into the depths of deep-fat frying.


Why do we love fatty food so much?

Although the flavour and smell of fried food usually takes all of the praise, we should also give a little credit to our other senses. Fat has the ability to create unique textures – from crispy to creamy – that can appeal to all of our senses at once.  What's more, fat is a flavour carrier that also showcases other ingredients. The more fat, the more flavour in other words.

From the seasoning of the crumb coating to the oil that is used, we can influence the depth of flavour of our fried food. Provided the oil is hot enough, it will draw any liquid out of the crumb coating to guarantee a delicious exterior. Experimenting with different oils will bring out more nuances of flavour from the fat. This may not be the healthiest of options, but it sure is a tasty one!

Deep-frying with (virtually) no oil

An alternative to deep-frying is air-frying – a new food trend that uses 75 percent less oil.

How is this possible? In practical terms, the fryer cooks the food using hot air. This air then dries out the surface of the ingredients, creating the kind of crisp exterior that makes chips and other fried foods so incredibly irresistible.

However – and this swings back in favour of the classic pan with hot oil – this new-fangled approach also has a number of disadvantages. Deep-frying some foods using an air fryer can take twice as long as the traditional methods. What's more, there's every chance that the fryer could get put away in a cupboard never to see the light of day again.

Not in the mood for fries?

Had enough of chips and savoury snacks? The deep-fat fryer can also be used to make all kinds of delicious desserts that will give falafel and spring rolls a run for their money.

In the mood for churros? Then reach for the piping bag. Whether you prefer classic churros with cinnamon, sugar and chocolate sauce, fresh and fruity churros with raspberry puree or dark churros with white chocolate sauce, you can be as creative as you like with these Spanish pastries. As the dough is piped directly into the oil, an air fryer is not suitable for this dish.

The same goes for American doughnuts. Although this sweet snack is incredibly calorific, we prefer to focus on the fact that it comes in countless mouthwatering varieties. And once we have tried out the FOOBY recipe for the delicious chocolate and vanilla custard doughnuts, we could certainly score high with our own stand at the next street food festival. Or we could be completely selfish and eat these delicious treats ourselves. No doubt we'll go for the latter – so much for the bikini body!

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