Shallow frying is a great way to quickly serve up delicious meals, using a tiny amount of oil in a saucepan. The food is then added once the oil temperature reaches 375 degrees Fahrenheit that can either be checked with a food thermometer or with a drop of water directly into the oil, which should sizzle and evaporate immediately. This is the ideal temperature to avoid the food from absorbing excessive amounts of oil.
Shallow Frying Techniques
When frying foods, their surfaces change color and that’s where the flavor begins. Shallow frying requires the food to be cooked in the hot oil, sizzling upon contact with the oil, so that it’s cooked right through, not just its surface. If you want to be creative with tastes, try substituting the oil with melted fat or butter.
- Great fried food is achieved through coating it before it’s placed in the pan. Use flour, batter, or flavored bread crumbs, depending on your mood.
- Important tip: Ensure food is dry if not coated, to avoid oil from spattering.
Wait, isn’t shallow frying the same as sauteing?
No! When sauteing food, it’s done in even less oil and must be constantly stirred, unlike shallow frying where the food sits undisturbed for periods at a time to allow a crust to form and brown properly.
Best Oils to Use in Shallow Frying
- Sunflower oil
- Canola oil
- Peanut oil
- Safflower oil
Shallow Frying Tips
When coating food with bread, allow it to sit at room temperature, on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. This partially dries the coating and allows it to set. Battered foods, however, are cooked in the oil immediately after being coated.
Prepare food prior to heating the oil, which ideally should be in a pan with a minimum of 2-inch-tall sides, for safety. Avoid overcrowding the pan, which will reduce the oil temperature and food may end up being more steamed than fried. Keep a close eye and ear on the food. When the frying sound and bubbling slows, it’s time to turn the food, cooking the other side until browned. Tongs are recommended in shallow frying. Check the temperature of foods with an instant read food thermometer. Drain foods on paper towels and place in a 200 degree F. oven to keep warm. Now, enjoy!