Deep frying is a cooking method in which food is submerged in hot oil or fat. Deep frying is classified as a dry cooking method because no water is used. While not as popular as stir-frying, deep-frying is a common Chinese cooking technique.
Some of the most delectable Chinese horsd'oeuvres are deep- fried. Certain main dishes also call for meats to be deep-fried for a crunchy coating, then stir-fried to combine them with vegetables and flavorings . The oil must be at the right temperature - 360 degrees Celsius to 375 degrees Celsius - to cook food properly. The most food-proof method is used to a thermostatically - controlled electric fryer. If you deep-fry in your wok or pot, use a frying thermometer, or test the oil before adding food by dropping in a small piece of meat or vegetable. If it sizzles and skates around the surface of the oil, the temperature is right. If it sinks, the oil is not hot enough. If it browns too quickly, and the oil smokes, the temperature is too high. Oil can be reduced if you strain it and add fresh oil each time. Keep a separate batch for frying fish and seafood.
Deep-frying is another common method of Chinese food preparation. For this a deep fryer or a deep saucepan with a wire basket which fits inside it, is most convenient. Chinese cooks use two temperatures of oil for deep frying. In general when the oil begins to smoke, it is ready to fry pork and beef, the tougher meats. When the oil begins to bubble, which is at a temperature slightly lower, it is suitable for chicken and kidneys. To secure the most tender results, it is important to observe the oil temperature as given in the recipe. Chinese cooks use vegetable oil and lard. Either peanut or sesame oil, or other prepared vegetable oils, are suitable.
There are usually 2 ways of deep frying in Chinese cooking
Deep frying the ingredients directly and deep frying the ingredients with batter. The latter is the most commonly used method. The effect of batter is that the outside of the food becomes crispy and browned, while the inside becomes tender, moist, and steamed. Some foods – such as potatoes or whole, skin-on poultry – have a natural coating and do not require breading or battering.
Cooking Technique of deep-frying
The sizes of the ingredient pieces should be uniform. The dimensions, including the thickness of the pieces that you are frying should be as close as you can get them. Otherwise, some pieces will be overcooked, some will be undercooked, and even the colors will be different piece by piece.
Marinade the ingredients in the batter/paste: This will enhance the taste and the aroma of your cooking.
Maintain adequate oil temperature: The oil temperature require for each dish will vary depending on the ingredient types, sizes, batters, wraps, etc. For those not easily cooked through, they will require cooking twice (see below). For those easily cooked through, it can be done simply in high heat.
When deep frying, maintaining constant oil temperature is a must. Most idealy, the ingredients need to be put in together. If you are cooking large servings, then divide them up, but still put each divided servings in together to get the same taste and color. Once done, pick them up with a strainer to preserve the appearance.
Some dishes like the ones that require chicken or fish rolled into balls are not easily cooked through when deep frying. So these will require deep frying them twice. The first time using medium heat until 70, 80% cooked. Take them out, crank up the heat to high, then deep fry them again to achieve the desired results.
If performed properly, deep-frying does not make food excessively greasy, because the moisture in the food repels the oil. The hot oil heats the water within the food, steaming it from the inside out; oil cannot go against the direction of this powerful flow because (due to its high temperature) the water vapor pushes the bubbles toward the surface. As long as the oil is hot enough and the food is not immersed in the oil for too long, oil penetration will be confined to the outer surface. However, if the food is cooked in the oil for too long, much of the water will be lost and the oil will begin to penetrate the food. The correct frying temperature depends on the thickness and type of food, but in most cases it lies between 175 and 190 °C (345–375 °F).