Deep frying

 

Deep frying

Deep frying involves cooking food by fully immersing it in hot oil or fat at 170–180°C.

Equipment

  • a thermostatically controlled deep fryer. The size of the fryer must match the quantities being cooked, and the heating element must allow for quick temperature recovery. Continuous filtering is also recommended to remove any crumbs or small food particles before they burn and spoil the oil.
  • alternatively, a deep, heavy-based saucepan, half-filled with oil, is also suitable.

How to do it

Coatings

Generally, the delicate flesh of seafood should be protected from the hot oil or fat by a coating such as breadcrumbs or a batter.
The coating seals in the moisture, allowing the flesh to cook gently in its own steam.
The coating also prevents oil from penetrating the food and stops the food from flavouring the oil.

Crumbs

  1. Season the raw seafood, or if desired, season the dusting flour.
  2. Lightly dust the seafood with flour to remove excess moisture and to help the coating to stick.
  3. Dip the seafood into an egg wash (a mixture of beaten egg and a little milk–water or oil).
  4. Finally, roll the seafood into the desired crumb mixture, which could be breadcrumbs, biscuit crumbs, cornflake crumbs or even crushed nuts.

Place the crumbed seafood, loosely covered, in the chiller for one to two hours. This allows the crumbs to "set" and the outside layer to dry out, resulting in a crisper coating.

Batter

  1. First dust the raw seafood (frozen or chilled) with flour.
  2. Completely submerge the pre-dusted seafood in the batter. Batter is a semi-liquid mixture of flour and liquid (such as water, milk, soda water or beer) and sometimes egg and other flavouring ingredients.
  3. Remove from batter and gently shake off excess.

Cooking

  1. Cut the seafood into even-sized pieces to ensure uniform cooking.
  2. Apply the coating.
  3. Heat the cooking oil to 170–180°C.
  4. Gently lower the prepared seafood into the oil with tongs or in a basket, or with gloved fingers if the seafood is battered.
  5. Cook only a few pieces at a time. Overloading the oil will result in a drop in oil temperature and produce greasy seafood.
  6. When cooked, gently shake off the excess oil, then drain on absorbent paper.

IMPORTANT

Do not fry from a frozen state unless using processed, packaged seafood specifically designed for that procedure; follow the instructions on the pack.

Cooking times

These will vary considerably depending on the species, thickness, quantity and initial temperature of the seafood, and on the equipment. The times suggested below are a general guide only.

Seafood Approximate cooking times for steaming
Gilled and gutted whole finfish
300-500 g 10–12 minutes
Finfish fillets
3 cm thick
2 cm thick
1 cm thick

6 minutes
4 minutes
3 minutes

Molluscs

Scallops
Squid rings

1–2 minutes
30 seconds

When the seafood is cooked the crumbs or batter should be golden brown, but this cannot be used as the sole indicator.