So many delicious recipes involve frying food, whether that be deep frying or shallow frying.
The simple fact is, is that fat is extremely tasty. This is why foods that have a higher fat content such as fried foods, butter, fatty meats are more appealing to the taste buds, and whilst we need a certain amount of fat in our diet, too much is bad for us.
Higher consumption of ‘bad fats’ – that is trans fat and saturated fats – leads to negative effects on your health, such as weight gain and higher cholesterol, which in turn can lead to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and liver disease, to name a few.
So, how can we enjoy our favourite fried and fatty foods without the negative side effects? Well, there are some things you can do, and we’ll go through them below.
Choose An Oil With A High Smoke Point
When frying food in oil, you will be heating it to a very high temperature, so great care is needed that you don’t burn yourself.
The other thing to be aware of is the smoke point of the oil itself.
The smoke point is the temperature that causes the oil being used to literally start to smoke and burn, this can impair the taste of your food, and also causes a release of chemicals from the oil that can be harmful to your health in the long run.
The basic rule of thumb is that the more refined an oil, the higher the smoke point because the refining process has removed any impurities from the oil that could cause it to start burning.
Oils from different sources will also impart a slightly different flavour into your food, and this can be a good way to add other flavours.
Oils with a high smoke point, and therefore are good for frying are oils like peanut oil, corn oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, and avocado oil.
Some of these oils also contain monounsaturated fat and omega 3, so do your research into the oil you are going to use.
Related: 5 foods to eat and boost your immune system
Use Less Oil
This seems pretty obvious, but if you decrease the amount of oil you are using, then you will decrease the amount of fat and calories in your food.
If something you cook is normally deep-fried, could you shallow fry it instead? This uses far less oil.
You could also consider investing in some like an air fryer, which uses very little oil to cook food, and gives it the same effect as if it has been fried.
Some gadgets you already have in your kitchen may be able to be adjusted to work as an air fryer.
For example, if you have an instant pot, there are add ons available to make it work like an air fryer, such as a lid.
You can see what Corrie Cooks says about the air fryer lid, and decide if that is something you could invest in.
Another good tip, is to put fried foods onto a paper towel for a few minutes when you remove them from the oil, and any excess oil will be absorbed into the paper towel.
Keep The Oil Clean
Your frying oil should always be kept clean, so try not to use the same oil too many times.
If there are any bits of food or debris in the oil, this can easily catch and burn. This can leave an undesirable taste to your food, and it can also release unwanted chemicals into the oil.
Oil that has been used too many times will also start to lose any of the good nutrients from it, meaning that that heart-healthy avocado oil you chose, is no longer imparting the healthy nutrients after it has been heated up a few times.
Check The Temperature
Before putting any food into your oil, it is important to ensure it is at the correct temperature, use a thermometer made for this purpose to check the temperature of the oil before putting any food in.
If the oil is too cold when you place your food in it, it will have a lot more time waiting around in the oil for it to heat to the proper temperature, and so it will soak up much more oil, and many more calories.
If the oil is too hot, it will start to burn and smoke, and this is a risk to your safety as well.
Consider The Batter
If you are battering food before frying it, then try to make sure your batter is as healthy as it can be.
You can also consider using sparkling or fizzy water in your batter. This is because when the carbonated batter is cooked, it will release gas bubbles, and this helps to reduce the oil absorption.
You could also use baking soda or bicarbonate of soda for the same effect.
Use Other Methods
Instead of frying something, can it be baked, broiled or grilled? There are many foods that have traditionally been fried but can also be cooked in other ways.
Experiment with these types of cooking and different recipes, and see what works and what doesn’t.
However, you are sure to find that many foods will be just as tasty, if not more so, when cooked with methods other than frying.
You can use a combination of different cooking methods to maximise the taste.
You can also add other flavours to your food. Frying, does, of course, add a great deal of flavour, but it’s not the only flavouring.
If you decide to start frying food less, then consider adding other flavours to your food so you don’t miss out on that taste explosion.
Sauces are a good place to start, you could use sriracha or garlic aioli for example. You can also add lots of seasoning to the food itself.
So, it’s important to remember that you can still have fried foods, you don’t have to give them up completely, just make them healthier – for your health!