October 19, 2012

Deep Fried Everything

For our birthday this year, a good friend bought us a deep fryer.  If you're a Penn alum, you'll probably understand my obsession with fried Oreos- I have great memories of eating them on a sunny day in the Quad during Spring Fling.  I also happen to enjoy eating other fried things, but I have an extra-special soft spot in my heart for fried Oreos.

Since it's been many months since our birthday, we finally decided to haul the fryer out of the closet and give it a whirl.  A few friends, a deep fryer, and a bit of imagination ended up with what we dubbed a "frying party."  We traded emails back and forth with ideas- I was really pushing for using lard (I know it makes great fasnachts!) but none of us could find it at the grocery store, so we settled for regular old canola oil.  Thank goodness too, because opening up the box provided this little warning...

I love how they capitalized the words "Deep Fryer."
Although several of the things we wanted to fry were going in "naked," I also did a little Googling to come up with a basic batter recipe.  It consists of things most people have in their pantry- flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and the secret ingredient- cornstarch (1 to 1 ratio with flour).

None of us had any experience with a deep fryer, but this particular version makes it pretty fool-proof.  Add oil to between the minimum and maximum lines on the side of the bowl, crank up the heat, and wait for the "ready" light to turn green.  We used a gallon of oil and probably waited about 20 minutes for the fryer to do its thing.  First up: carefully cut (thanks A!) sweet potato fries.  A few more inquiries to Mr. Google gave us a cook time of 5 to 6 minutes, so we filled up the basket (use tongs!), popped the lid on, and set the timer.

Maybe it was a bit of beginner's luck, but these were actually my favorite "fried thing" of the day.  Crispy on the outside, with a sweet and salty piping hot inside.  We let them cool on a paper towel to soak up any extra grease and then dug in.  A little sriracha mayo didn't hurt a bit.

We also tried making kale chips, which, while tasty, ended up being a lot greasier than the baked version we're used to (go figure..).  The sturdy leaves turned into fragile-as-glass crisps that melted in our mouths.  However, it was a bit too "vegetable oil in chip form" for me to eat more than a few.

We had a few more things on hand to go into the fryer as-is: a couple of soft pretzels and a can of artichoke hearts.

The hearts took a bit of prep- we all know water and oil don't mix, so they needed to be squeeze-dried and patted with a paper towel before their trip into the greasy sea.  The outer leaves folded back and crisped up like a charm while the inside maintained some briny softness- these were also a big success.

The pretzels soaked up a lot of oil, as one might imagine, but also took on more of a hard pretzel crunch- not my favorite, but the guys loved 'em.

While the artichokes were cooking, I whipped up a batch of batter and started coating some basic dill chips because, really, who doesn't love fried pickles?  I carefully dried each chip and coated it in the batter, placing the coated chips on a plate.  The ridges of the chips held onto a good amount of batter, providing a full coat of breaded protection.  Salty, fried goodness at it's finest.

Unfortunately I think I got a little too cocky at this point, and decided to get a little more adventurous.  I wanted to move into sweeter things and I broke out the Double Stuf Oreos. Unfortunately, these really needed to be battered and immediately placed in the fryer- sitting on a plate waiting their turn meant softened cookies that crumbled apart in the fryer.  Bits and pieces of cookies and batter mean dirty oil- unfortunately it sort of killed the whole process.  However, I was so pleased with the way everything else turned out that I couldn't really be that mad.  Plus, it just gives us a good excuse to try again!


  1. Uh regarding using tongs to put fries in basket: Why not remove the basket, add the fries and drop into oil. I saw them do it that way at McDonalds once. Just wondering

    1. haha, great point. McDonalds has the luxury of having extremely large/deep fryers with no real threat of "overloading" the fryer. In our case, the oil didn't come up real high into the basket so using tongs allowed us to carefully control how much went in at once. Don't worry, we removed to basket to dump out the contents once it was done :)

  2. I really hope fried ice cream is your next goal ;) I know you can handle it!

  3. Shop from the world's largest selection and best deals for Deep Fryers. Shop with confidence on eBay! Wilma Aguilar

  4. Click Here for Deep Fryer clearance
    The Beida deep fryer from Bizarkdeal is great for frying home size portions, and little snacks! The window is great to view what your frying without having to open the lid! I love it!