Fried food often gets a bad rap, but is it possible to prepare it in a way to make it healthy food and still enjoy that crispy texture you love? Donna Maurillo of the Santa Cruz Sentinel provides the details on how to do just that.
First of all, selecting the right kind of oil is important. Use mono-unsaturated oil such as olive oil and avoid any fats that are solid at room temperature (with butter being a notable exception because it’s not hydrogenated).
Using as little oil as possible will also help cut back on the calories. Because a tablespoon of oil can contain about 100 calories, just one or two tablespoons should be the maximum amount, which happens to be perfect for sautéing.
Sometimes it may seem like the food absorbs all the oil and you need to add more. One way to get around this problem is to heat the oil to the right temperature. Because most food contains water, the oil will naturally repel it, and higher temperatures will increase this water-repelling quality in the oil. If you heat it to the right temperature, the oil will stay on the outside of your food, crisping and browning the edges for that perfect gooey-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside texture.
So what exactly is the right temperature? Stay within 325-400 degrees, and if you find you prefer the higher end of this range, peanut oil is best, being more stable at high temperatures.
Also, there is nothing wrong with adding water instead of oil while the frying is underway. In fact, it will speed up the cooking process.