Yes, I battered and deep fried my tofu.
I took health, good and proper gal that she is, dressed her scantily, and sent her to the swimming pool.
When she came out her skin was crisp, deeply bronzed and glowing. She was more tender inside. Happier, somehow.
And I loved her more.
There are lots of misconceptions about deep frying.
And I, devout deep fry darlin’ that I am, want to put those myths to bed.
I’d like to deep fry my vitamins, to batter and brown my pineapple tidbits in hot, bubbling fat.
Truth: As long as you’re using a good quality oil, not over using that oil for multiple frying attempts, and as long as you know the ingredients you’re breading or battering your food in, there’s nothing wrong with deep frying.
For years after I lost 135lbs, I thought anything fried absorbed gobs upon gobs [upon gobs upon gobs] of oil, and the exciting reality is- that just isn’t always so.
Often times shallow frying (generally thought to be healthier because there’s less oil used)- meaning to pan fry a food in a skillet filled with just a covering of oil- allows the food to soak up more oil than deep frying. It has to do mostly with the temperature of the oil.
When you drop foods into a pan or pot with oil that isn’t sufficiently hot, the food soaks in the oil, it absorbs it rather than simply forming a crisp bubbling crust and keeping the insides moist and untouched.
Here’s what you need to know about deep frying, myths be damned:
“If performed properly, deep-frying does not make food excessively greasy, because the moisture in the food repels the oil. The hot oil heats the water within the food, steaming it from the inside out; oil cannot go against the direction of this powerful flow because (due to its high temperature) the water vapor pushes the bubbles toward the surface. As long as the oil is hot enough and the food is not immersed in the oil for too long, oil penetration will be confined to the outer surface. However, if the food is cooked in the oil for too long, much of the water will be lost and the oil will begin to penetrate the food. The correct frying temperature depends on the thickness and type of food, but in most cases it lies between 175 and 190 °C (345–375 °F).
Some fried foods are given a coating of batter or breading prior to frying. The effect of these is that the outside of the food becomes crispy and browned, while the inside becomes tender, moist, and steamed. Some foods – such as potatoes or whole, skin-on poultry – have a natural coating and do not require breading or battering.”
Good news, yes?
Yes yes yes.
Yes yes yes yes.
Uh huh uh huh uh huh uh huh.
I’m not entirely advocating throwing out your steamer, your roasting pan, all your stainless pots and pans, and setting up a deep fry station in your kitchen (though goodness that sounds worthwhile). I’m setting you free.
Because if you didn’t know this, that deep frying, if done properly, is not calorically and nutritionally devastating, then this will change your view of all food.
I am quick to neutralize all foods. People say it all the time, mostly because it just sounds so perfect, so peachy, but I truly don’t like to label things good or bad. I’m not interested in prizing or pitying a food based on its nutrition label. I changed the entire way I thought about food after losing such a tremendous amount of weight.
When I went from “who gives a–” to healthy, food began to feel dangerous.
I grew cautious of “crispy” and “crusted” because they screamed caloric density.
But really, it’s never the food that should have frightened me, it’s the way I overused it. It’s when one donut becomes two donuts and a small french fry super sizes herself, that any food becomes burdensome.
Pizza is simply bread plus sauce plus cheese. French fries are [hopefully] just potatoes plus oil plus salt.
So, this is my public service announcement, for the kids out there that, like me, didn’t know this ’til a year ago:
Fried foods deserve love and respect, too.
Crispy Battered and Fried Tofu
- ½ cup flour, divided
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper\
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup seltzer water
- 1 lb extra firm tofu, cubed
- oil, for frying
In a shallow bowl, whisk 1/4 cup flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cayenne, and baking soda. Place the remaining 1/4 cup flour in a separate, shallow bowl.
Fill a small pot with 2 inches of oil over medium heat until rippling. Dripping a small splash of water on the oil should cause the oil to snap and sizzle- this is how you’ll know it’s hot enough to begin frying.
Whisk the seltzer into the seasoned flour-cornstarch mixture.
Dip each tofu cube first in the plain flour, to coat, then dip in the flour-seltzer batter. Carefully drop the battered tofu cubes into the hot oil and let fry until golden-brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Serve immediately or the tofu will lose its crisp battered crust as it sits.