The first breading that we are going to look at is for…
Baking Soda Batter…
Because most of us have had it sitting in our pantry or fridge for how long without knowing what to do with it?
There is sits, day after day, week after week…sad and lonely.
Yet this big yellow box contains hidden secrets lurking beyond its cardboard…
And of course the obvious…Baking.
But baking soda can also make a great batter for frying seafood, chicken, meat and vegetables.
Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder
Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents primarily used in baking. This means that whenever they reacts with an acidic compound—such as molasses, cream of tartar, lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, cocoa, and vinegar—.carbon dioxide is released.
This carbon dioxide being released serves many purposes, such as…
But what IS the difference between the two…and which should you be using?
Baking powder is actually baking soda…but combined with cream of tartar and about one-third as strong as baking soda.
At this point we have already learned about two bsasic cooking methods—sauteeing and pan-frying.
The next dry-heat cooking method is deep frying.
And living in Texas one of the highlights of each year is going to the State Fair to see just what new fried concoctions have been created this yrar.
For example, here is a list of the top ten finalists for the State Fair of Texas’ 2018 Big Tex Choice Awards, the annual contest celebrating fried foods. Note that each year, five finalists are chosen in two categories—savory and sweet.
The savory finalists this last year were…
The sweet finalists this last year were…
Can’t wait to see what these creative people come up with this year.
I honestly have always been too scared to deep fry anything at home, especially when you can easily find deep-fried foods at nearly every gas station and restaurant in America…
But deep-frying is still a cooking method…and my goal is cover each of the cooking methods in detail…
So let’s dive in deep…
My goal in this section is to learn how to make deep-fried foods that have the same crunchy golden brown surface and the same tender interior of any of these prize-winning foods.
Deep-frying differs from any of the previous methods because you are completely submerging your food into oil that has been heated to a much highter temperature typically around 375 degrees.
Instead of breading your food, your food will be completely covered in batter..more on this later….
So what are the benefits of this method of cooking…especially considering that I am writing this blog primarily for people who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes…
Even though the term “deep frying” and many of the foods that we deep-fry these days were not invented until the 19th century, people have basically been deep-frying for thousands of years
Even though the term “deep frying” and many of the foods that we most commonly deep-fry today were not invented until around the early 1900s, people have been using this cooking methods for thousands of years.
The first recorded recipe using this method appeared around the year AD400. This recipe was for a chicken dish called Pullum Frontonianum.
After the breading material are set up and you have finish3d breading your food you can finally start cooking.
When choosing which oil to use whenever you are frying, you need to think about the smoke point of that partcular oil.
It is important that you use an oil with a high smoke point.
But first, I guess you need to know what a smoke point is, if you’re gonna pick your oil wisely.
The smoke point is the temperature at which the oil can be heated to before it begins to smoke and burn…makes sense huh>!
Once your oil has reached this point, the oil will start to break down into its fundamental components—glycerol and fatty acids—and no longer be good for frying.
The oil will also start losing its flavor and nutritional value.
Once it has passed the smoke point, the oil can also be very dangerous, because it is much more likely to ignite when exposed to an open heat source.
Usually whenever you are frying, you want the oil to be somewhere between 350°F and 375°F, so your must have a smoke point that is high enough to survive this amouint of heat.
So which oils shoul you NOT be using?
Butter…has too low of a smoking point to be used for frying.
Lard...has a low smoke point
Olive oil...Sure, you could use oil for frying, but I’d stick to using olive oil for sauteeing your foods since that olive oil usually costs more.
Shortening…also has too low of a smoking point to be used for frying.
Sunflower oil…This oil tends to burn more quickly than most other oils.
Unrefined oils of any kind…These have too low a smoke point and can also be very expensive. Note that many of the oil that we will be learning later on that are good fort frying are sold in both refined and unrefined versions, so check the label before you use it.
Your fanciest or priciest oils…Frying reuires a whole lot of oil…using these here would simply be a waste of money. Also, thhe frying process can dim the flavor of, making it no more flavorful than any other given oil.
And which oils should you be using?
Whenever you are choosing which oil to fry in, there are several things to consider. In addition to the smoke point, which should be slightly higher than the temperature at which you will be cooking, your oil should have a neutral flavor that won’t impart iany flavor on whatever you are cooking.
Also it is important that youu hoose a good quality oil.
Each of the following oils can be a smart choice for frying because they all have a neutral flavor, perform well at high temperatures, and have a smoke point somewhere between 440° and 450°F….which is definitely above the typical temp required for frying, which tends to be around 350°F.
(Note that there are obviously more oils that are commonly used for fryiung—such as vegetable and peanut, but I have limited my list to those oils that we have already talked about being best for type-2 diabetics.)
Benefits...Canola oil helps reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the body, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and stabilize blood pressure levels, The FDA agrees that 1-1/2Tbsp canola oil each day could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when used instead of saturated fat.
Nutrition…Canola oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as the alpha-linolenic acid, as well as monounsaturated fat, a type of fat that is considered healthy for diabetics. At the same time, canola oil is low in the unhealthy saturated fat that mostly come from animal products like meat and dairy.
Uses…Canola oil can be used safely at high temperatures because it has a higher smoke point than most other oils, but doesn’t have as much flavor as some other oils that are available and is not your best choice for certain things such as making your own salad dressing
2. Grape Seed Oil
Nutrition…this is a rich source of both polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, and is very low in saturated fat
Use…nutty but mild flavor that can be used for all sorts of cooking and grilling and also works well in salad dressings or drizzled over roasted veggies
3. Rice Bran Oil
Benefits….Rice bran oil will reduce your levels of bad cholesterol, and so is great for diabetics and those wanting to keep heart disease at bay.
Nutrition…Rice bran oil is rich in both monounsaturated as well as polyunsaturated fats.
You can either reuse your oil or dispose of it after you finish frying.
To reuse the oil…
You will not want to use the same oil more than two or three times in a row because each use will release more andf more fatty acids into theoil, reducing the smoke point and making it less and less appropriate to use at the high temperatures required for frying.
If your oil starts to look thick or brown, throw it out.
Never pour oil down the drain…lesson learned the hard way…never pour hot candle wax down the drain either…another lesson learned the hard way…
4. Heating Your Oil…When frying chicken, it is important that the oil can be heated to a high temperature without burning. Peanut, canola or vegetable oil are your best options…Avoid using olive oil or butter.
5. Cooking Your Chicken…Gently place your breaded chicken skin side-down in your heated pan, being sure not to overcrowd the pan.
Replace the lid onto the pan. Cook the chicken about ten minutes, using your tongs to turn the chicken a few times while it cooks.
Remove the lid. Cook ten minutes more, uncovered…until the chicken is cooked through and the outside is a deep golden brown.
If you are using a probe thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the chicken, the magic number is 165 degrees.
Remember to bring the oil back up to 350 degrees before you add the next batch of chicken.
Once your chicken has finished frying, place the hot chicken on a wire rack set on top of a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little salt for extra flavor.
When done well, you should end up with a hallmark of great fried chicken—perfectly tender meat with plenty of that crunchy, dark brown crust that all of us Southerners so adore.
5. Chill the Breaded Food…
Cover the tray of breaded food with foil or Saran Wrap. Place in the fridge for thirty minutes to an hour.
This is priobably the one step that most of us feel like we could simply skip…
But chilling your food is actually extremely important beccause refrigerating the fooed allows the flour to become sticky and attach to the meat….ensuring that the breading stays on your food once you cook it.
4. Fry Until Golden Brown…After the breaded food has had time to chill, you’re ready to fry it.
a. First fill the pan that you have designated as your offricial frying pan with enough oil so the food you’re frying is half-covered. Make sure you use a heavy pan for frying so it conducts heat evenly.
b. Heat the oil until a few breadcrumbs sizzle when tossed in. The type of oil that you fryt your food in is actually a matter of preference. Use cooking oil that can withstand high temperatures.
Make sure that the oil is hot enough before adding the food…otherwise your fried food will absorb the oil like a sponge…resulting in soggy, oily food….and the breading will fall off the food into the pan.
Your oil should be somewhere between 300 and 400 degrees, depending on the recipe.
You can you tell if the oil is hot enough by using use a kitchen thermometer…or tossing a drop of batter or breadcrumbs into the oil to make sure that it sizzles…or sticking the end of a wooden spoon into the oil to see if little bubbles form around the spoon.
Also, if the oil in your ia hot enough, the oil will take on a distinct shimmer.
But it the oil is smoking, it’s too hot…either turn the heat down or start over.
Don’t try to rush the oil into reaching the right temperature by cranking your stove eye up as high as possible. The oil should heat up slowly. Trying to heat the oil too fast will lead to bitter, burned food.’
c. Gently lay your breaded food meat in your heated pan, being sure not to overcrowd.
Once the oil is at the right temperature, and you are ready to add your food to your pan, make sure that you do not overcrowd the pan. Crowding the pan will cause heat to be trapped underneath your food, causing it to steam rather than fry.
Even if you know that your pan coulfd hold more food, you do not want your pieces of food to touch each other. Either cook in batches or use two pans.
Remember that as you take out the cooked food and add another batch of uncooked food to your pan, the temperature of the oil will plummet. Allow the oil to come back up to temperature between batches of cooking…otherwise your food will be soggy.
d. Fry for a minute or two, until golden brown on the bottom, and then flip. You may want to use your probe thermometer to check the temperatures of the meat as you are cooking it.
Keep an eye on the food.
Keep the flame on medium to medium-high.
Make sure the temperature doesn’t get too high. If the oil starts to smoke or turn black, it’s too hot and you either need to let it cool down or start over with fresh oil.
To avoid your breading when you turn your food, it is imporrtant that you not turn the food too early or too often.
Remember that the second side always cooks faster than the first.
Be patient. Leave the food alone until it develops a crust and is easily lifts off the pan. If the food is still sticking to the pan, it isn’t ready to turn.
Be sure to use the proper utensils—such as tongs or a thin spatula—for turning your food, especially when the food is fragile.
e. Drain the cooked food on cooling racks placed over foil-lined cookie sheeta. Keep warm until ready to serve. You could also use either paper towels or brown paper sacks. Of these two, the sacks yields the crispest food.
Once the food has been fried and transferred to a paper towel-lined plate, sprinkle it once more with kosher or sea salt.