What are the benefits of deep frying food?
If you were to ask someone to describe deep fried food, it’s likely they’ll say “tasty, but unhealthy”. This is a fair assumption, deep fried food is widely considered to be something we should only have once in a while.
However, is this actually the reality? Despite the negative media coverage of fried food, there are some benefits to this type of cooking for both customers and restaurant owners.
Are fried vegetables healthier than boiled?
It’s an interesting question, but one that might have a surprising answer for you. Last year, researchers from the University of Granada published findings in the Food Chemistry journal which suggested that vegetables contain more phenols when fried in extra virgin olive oil than when boiled in water.
Researchers applied three cooking methods – frying in olive oil, boiling in water or boiling in a combination of water and olive oil – to four different vegetables; eggplant, potato, pumpkin and tomato.
Vegetables that are deep fried could be ‘healthier’ than when boiled.
The aim of the experiments was to work out which cooking method released the highest level of phenolic compounds – a healthy antioxidant that vegetables provide. To much surprise, the vegetables that had been fried had more of these valuable antioxidants than in those boiled or even raw.
“As a heat transfer medium, the extra virgin olive oil increases the number of phenols in the vegetables, in contrast with other methods such as boiling, which use a water-based heat transfer medium,” Professor Cristina Samaniego Sánchez, one of the authors explained.
Although the quality of the vegetables was improved when fried, Samaniego cited that the calorie count increased. This means that the research essentially blurs the lines between ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ ways to prepare food and may help restaurants decide on the merits of buying commercial deep fryers from a health standpoint.
Faster than traditional cooking methods
One of the most obvious benefits for restaurant owners and chefs is the pure speed of deep-frying compared to other methods. In theory, a heat transfer between a hot liquid (oil) and solid food is much faster than heated air (oven) and solid food.
In cafes and restaurants where food needs to be delivered fast and accurately, deep frying is a good option. Of course, not all foods can go in a deep fryer, but in kitchens where food such as chips are in hot demand, chefs can pump out food consistently to customers.
Tender end product
Deep-fried food is tender and doesn’t go dry.
With many appliances such as commercial ovens and microwaves, cooking food for too long can have dire consequences. As well as possibly burning, food tends to dry out if left exposed to heated air for too long. This is certainly not what chefs want to be sent to their customers and plays into the benefit of commercial deep fryers.
No matter how long you deep fry something, it will continue to hold its moisture within the inner layer. Fish, chicken, ice cream – it’s all locked in! The outer layer would eventually become inedible if left, but this doesn’t affect what’s inside.
Most of us love the smell and taste of a freshly fried chip. As customers unwrap their fish and chips, you want the surrounding fats and oils to have sealed in the flavour so when someone takes a bite, it releases a burst of flavour. This is how foods that have been deep-fried taste better than other cooking methods to some people. Food cooked in commercial kitchen equipment will always taste better.
There are also countless recipes that call for deep-fried ingredients. In modern dishes, it’s now popular to add deep fried garnishes to the plate for added crunch.