Some of the most inviting Chinese foods like dim sum are deep-fried. Deep-frying is used to produce crisp-textured food. There are several types of deep frying. Raw ingredients might be lightly or thickly coated with cornstarch before being deep fried; or not being coated at all. Different methods produce different levels of crispness and tenderness on the inside and outside.
The commonest way of preparing deep-frying dishes is to cut the material into medium-sized pieces (or make slashes in case of fish desired to be served whole), soak in prepared seasoning or batter for a while, and fry in hot deep oil with the ingredient fully submerged. Peanut oil is recommended for its high smoking point or critical point, so are canola and corn oil. They can be reused for a couple of times. Butter and margarine are not suitable for deep-frying because they contain water and burn easily. Discard frying oils that have darkened in color, that flow more slowly than they did originally, or that foam to the top of the pot when you put the food in. Lard has become unpopular due to health reasons although it gives very interesting flavor to the dish.
Wok is not necessary being used in deep-frying. A thermostatically controlled electric fryer works best. The oil must be at the right temperature, 360°F to 375°F to deep fry the food properly. Food cooked at too low a temperature will be soggy and greasy and at higher temperatures, the oil will begin to break down and the food may burn. If you deep-fry in your wok or pot, use a frying thermometer. If it is not available to you, test the oil before adding food by dropping in a small piece of meat or vegetable. If it sizzles and skates around the surface of the oil, the temperature is right. If it sinks, the oil is not hot enough. You can also use a wooden chopstick - the oil is ready when bubbles form all around it. The oil smokes when temperature is too high.
Follow these tips for successful deep frying :
To prevent or reduce splattering, food to be deep-fried should be at room temperature and dry (use a paper towel). If the food is coated with batter or seasonings, use a perforated spoon to drain excess liquid before putting it in the hot oil.
For the best results, add the food gradually to avoid a sudden drop in temperature.
Deep fry food in batches and let the oil return to its proper temperature between batches.
Cut foods into uniform pieces so that they cook evenly.
Coatings stick to fried food better if you coat the foods 15-20 minutes prior to frying time.
For a very crispy-texture, food is deep-fried, removed from the oil and drained. The oil is then reheated and the food deep-fried again.
After the food has finished cooking, drain it using a wire strainer or slotted spoon and place it on paper towels until it is served or used for other cooking.