Trend Alert! More and more delicious and unusual deep-fried foods have been creeping into my consciousness via my various feeds, which usually means it is becoming a cool new trend.
The road to the wonderland is paved with two basic methods:
1. Crumbed and fried method (Panée in fancy French)
Start with three bowls, one with flour, one with beaten egg (you can add water or milk to this if desired), and one with crumbs. Dip your item into the flour and coat it well, then dust off any excess, dip it into the egg, coat well and then dip into the crumbs, again coating well. Place on a tray and chill until needed. Flour and crumbs can be seasoned or flavoured according to your recipe, and a variety of crumbs can be used (bread, cornflake, panko etc). In some recipes, the flour is omitted.
2. Batter or tempura method
Mix your batter according to your recipe. Batter can be made with beer to lighten it, and tempura batter works best with cornflour and sparkling water to make it extra light and crispy. Dip the item in the batter and place in the hot oil immediately.
Stay on point this Winter with some irresistible deep-fried foods…
Start with squares of frozen cheesecake, use a double layer of crumbs to contain all that lovely cheesecake and stop it from oozing out. By repeating the crumbing process, freeze the crumbed cheesecake bites before frying and fry at a relatively high temperature to make sure the outside browns quickly without melting the inside.
2. Ice cream
Deep-fried ice cream, is one of those delightfully contradictory dishes. Start by balling your ice cream with an ice cream scoop. Set these on a tray and freeze at the coldest setting your freezer will allow. Dip the balls into your crumbs first, then into egg and then into the crumbs again. Your choice of crumbs can include cornflake crumbs mixed with cookie crumbs for a sweet coating. Place the crumbed balls back on the try and freeze for a further 2 hours. They need to be as cold as possible. Heat your oil to a hot heat (200°C, you can test it by dropping a small piece of bread in, if it starts bubbling immediately the oil is ready). Fry the balls for a short time and serve immediately. The crumbs should be browned and crispy and the ice cream should still be frozen.
3. Mac ‘n cheese bites
Perfect for leftovers! Prepare your mac ‘n cheese in the normal way and set it in the fridge to chill. Once cold, shape into golf ball-sized balls and set on a tray to chill in the fridge. Dip each ball into egg and then crumbs. Set aside to chill. Fry at medium heat (180°C) until browned. Serve with a dipping sauce.
4. Deep fried cookie dough
This is not a drill! Mix up your chocolate chip cookie dough in the usual way. Roll balls and freeze on a tray. Dip each in a sweet batter (like a pancake batter) and then drop into medium hot oil (180°C). Fry until brown and crisp. Serve warm with a sprinkling of icing sugar.
5. Piña colada pineapple rings
Use a tin of pineapple rings, drain the liquid and keep for later. Fill the tin with rum and leave to macerate (the longer you leave it the more alcoholic they will be). Drain the rum and keep that too. Dip the pineapple rings in egg and then in crumbs mixed with desiccated coconut. Fry the rings until golden. In a small pan reduce the syrup and rum to make a dipping sauce.
6. Mars Bars
This Scottish “classic” is super easy. Freeze the chocolate bars ahead of time. Dip each chocolate bar in a tempura style batter and fry at a high heat (200°C) until the batter is crispy. Works well with Bar One and Snickers bars too.
7. Nutella nuggets
This reminds me a little of a delightful dish I heard about some years ago – deep fried butter… I will leave that there. Back to the Nutella though… for this you need to create frozen blobs of Nutella, I found the easiest way to do that was by lining an ice-tray in cling film. Scoop a spoonful of Nutella into each spot, cover and freeze overnight. Remove the Nutella cubes, dip each into a simple pancake batter and fry at a hot temperature briefly. Serve as part of a “Nutella Burger” as a filling for a doughnut with slices of banana and strawberry.
There are a few options here, the easiest is to cut bite sized squares of leftover lasagne, crumb and fry them. Alternatively, you can try a deconstructed version. Cook pasta sheets to al dente, spread cheese sauce, and cheese over the sheet and roll up. Cut into “sushi sized” rolls. Crumb and fry these until golden brown. Serve with a Bolognaise dipping sauce.
They call these “blooming onions”. Take a whole, peeled onion and cut toward the base (where the roots come out) in a radial pattern (like slicing a cake). Don’t cut right through so that the “petals” remain connected at the root. Gently tease the petals apart and dip the whole onion in batter. The batter should be quite runny to allow it to get into all the petals. Fry the whole onion at 180°C until golden and the onion is cooked.
4 Top top tips for deep-frying:
1. Fry in batches so your oil temperature doesn’t drop too much.
2. Drain on paper towel to reduce oiliness.
3. Choose your heat carefully, if it is something you want to cook through like chicken use a lower heat but if you want it to remain cold inside (like deep fried ice cream) use a higher heat to crisp the outside before the inside even gets hot.
4. To maximise crispiness, don’t make perfectly round balls, the more tiny “sticky out bits” it has the more crispy the overall result will be.