They say that deepfrying is bad for us. But there are some meals and snacks we just have to deep-fry else they become a different meal/snack altogether. If you bake buns, it feels like muffins. If you grill fish, it just does not have that crispy feel of fried fish. If you bake doughnut, it becomes bread. If you grill plantains we call it roasted plantains: it lacks the soft, moist feel of fried plantains. If you bake Puff Puff, I don’t know what it will become and make sure you don’t serve me that. *wink!
Deep-frying when done great will give your fried goods a crunchy exterior and a moist interior that is free of oil.
Here’s how to give your frying oils some TLC so that they will serve you better, keep you away from the doctor and keep those deep-fried goods tasting great!
1. Thou shall not fry more than one food item in the same batch of me.
Ok you use the same batch of oil to fry plantains, fish, potatoes, akara .. name it. May that practice stop here right now, Amen! When you do that, the taste of the different food items transfer to one another. This means that when I visit you and you serve me fried plantains, I will keep wondering if I am eating fried fish or akara.
2. Remember my expiry date and respect it.
When you look at the oil that some people use to fry in their homes eh, you will wonder if it is gutter water or crude oil. It looks so black, is filled with food items and smells so stale that you will literally feel a clutch on your heart when you eat any food fried in such oil. Are you really trying to save money by not throwing away such oils? Remember that the amount of money you will use to try to save your life when that poison you are using to fry your food decides to deal with you will be nothing compared to the pennies you save by putting off buying new oil.
Signs that a batch of frying oil has passed its use by date are stale taste and smell, excessive foaming around the food items being fried and strong change in colour from the original colour of the oil.
3. Thou shall not mix the old me and the new me.
For some people, changing the frying oil simply means adding new oil to the old and dirty one. Why would you do this? When we want to change the oil in our cars, we bleed the old oil and pour in completely new oil. So if you do this good deed to your car, why do you do the opposite for the oil you use to fry what you will put into your body? Do you want your engine to knock?
I’m kind of guilty of this too because I mix the old and new oils for my tomato stew. But I cook-fry my tomato stew so that doesn’t count. lol
4. Thou shall keep me in the fridge/freezer to extend my life span.
The best place to store used oil you intend to re-use is in a non-stop working fridge or freezer. Think of it this way: once we fry food items in oil, the oil now contains food particles and when we leave it in the cupboard, these food items continue to decompose and smell. Storing the used oil in the fridge or freezer ensures that the oil remains fresh in spite of the food particles it contains making it last longer.
We can get away with storing oils for plantains and potatoes in the cupboards for short periods of time but we definitely can’t do that for the oil used in frying fish nor the excess oil from frying tomato stew.
5. Thou shall keep me in separate containers.
As mentioned earlier we should not use one batch of oil to fry all the fryables. The best practice is to have a separate container for the oil you use to fry each food. I have a container for the oil I use to fry plantains, another for the oil I use to fry potatoes and another for the oil that I use to fry tomato stew. These are the food items I usually fry in my home. When I want to make Chin Chin or Puff Puff, I use new oil and store in my fridge when done.
I shallow-fry my fish and after that I pour the oil away. If you deep-fry your fish and need to keep the oil afterwards, please ensure you keep the oil in a working fridge or freezer because oil used in frying fish smells so bad and it goes stale even after a single use if not stored in the fridge.
Here’s the quantity of oil I use to fry fish. You can see that it is not worth keeping.
6. Thou shall not use me to fry if I have a low smoke point.
An oil with a low smoke point is one which starts smoking at low temperatures. Examples are unrefined oils which include: extra virgin olive oil and red palm oil. The best oils to fry with are oils with high smoke points examples sunflower oil, canola oil and vegetable oils.
Smoke point is a big topic that everyone that fries with oils should know about. Google smoke point for cooking oils for more information.
7. Thou shall not use the frying pan as my container.
Some people fry with oil then shove the frying pan with the oil into a cupboard for cockroaches and ants to crawl into. Then the next time they want to fry, they just bring it out, set on the stove to heat up and start frying.
Baby/Dude but why?
Please when you finish frying, set the oil aside to cool down completely then strain/sieve to remove all the food particles and pour into a container with a cover. Close tight, store in your fridge/freezer and wash up the frying pan.
8. Thou shall not use deep fryers.
Unless you own a restaurant, have a catering business or cook food for people in large quantities, I wonder how you keep your deep fryer clean. If you pour out the oil after each frying (which no one ever does), then carry go. And how do you fry different food items? In the same deep fryer? Ouch! Restaurants have different deep fryers for different food items hence there is no transfer of flavours. I used to think that owning a deep fryer will save me lots of time in the kitchen. I bought one and when I saw how difficult it is to keep it clean; with all the congealed oil mmh, I just washed it one last time and put it away. I have gone back to using my pots to fry and I clean them afterwards.
9. Thou shall keep me clean.
Once you finish frying, leave the oil to cool down completely then strain the oil to remove the food particles before pouring into the storage container.
10. Thou shall give me a break.
Whenever you can, grill/broil instead of frying. Sometimes, we can grill that fish or chicken instead of deep frying because too much fry-fry foods is not good for us.