Tips for faultless frying
How to tell when the oil’s hot
Use a cooking thermometer to gauge when oil is at the right temperature for frying – about 180°-190°C (350°-375°F) for most foods. If you don’t have a thermometer, drop a 25mm(1 in) cube of bread into the hot oil; it should turn golden-brown in 60 seconds.
For most types of frying, mild flavoured oils such as sunflower, corn or soya are best, and won’t dominate the flavour of the food. Use stronger oils such as olive, sesame or walnut if the flavour is needed – for example, in sauces, stir-fries, stews and salad dressings.
Frying in butter
If a recipe calls for butter, use half butter and half oil instead. It will be less likely to burn.
Dry food thoroughly on absorbent kitchen paper before coating it in batter for frying. The batter will cling much better.
How to get a lighter, crisper batter
If frying food spits, cover the pan with a wire-mesh pan-guard or an upturned colander. The holes will allow the steam to escape and the food will still turn brown, but you won’t get spattered with grease.
DO NOT heat oil until it is smoking, as this spoils the flavour. What’s more, fat can burst into flames if heated above smoking point.
DO NOT throw water over fat that catches fire. Turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid, chopping board or large plate to kill the flames.