Deep-Fry Like a Chinese Chef
Although stir-frying is more popular in Chinese cuisine than deep-frying, it is worth learning both. Discover how to deep-fry like a Chinese chef and it will open up many new possibilities of Chinese dishes you can prepare.
You can either use a wok or a deep-fat fryer for deep-frying. If you are using a wok, slide the food in carefully, as you will not want spattering if you are going to professionally deep-fry like a Chinese chef. Add the ingredients in small amounts and do not crowd the wok, else you might get spillage or spattering, or the temperature might drop too fast.
Most recipes will suggest that you heat to oil to about 365 degrees F, although you can cook large items at a lower temperature. The temperature drops when you add food, especially if you are adding frozen food. Peanut oil has a high smoking point and therefore is a great choice for deep-fried Chinese recipes. Corn oil, canola oil and other vegetable oils are fine, but do not use sesame oil because the smoking point is too low. Olive oil is too expensive for deep-frying, considering how much you would need.
Deep-Fry like a Chinese Chef: Lard vs. Oil
Some older Chinese recipes call for lard but you can use any of the aforementioned oils instead. The recipe might tell you to add ‘4 cups of oil’ or it might just say ‘add some oil’ so you get to decide how much you add. The food needs to be submerged but you need to leave a few inches on top of the oil so it can rise when you drop the food in without spilling over the sides.
Dip a wooden chopstick into the oil to test if it is hot enough. If you see bubbles forming around the chopstick it is hot enough. If you prefer to use a thermometer, you can use a deep-fry thermometer or a candy thermometer.
Add food which is at room temperature, to reduce the chance of spattering, perhaps drying the food with paper towels before adding it. You can reuse the oil a number of times. When it turns dark or when it begins to smoke at normal temperatures it needs to be changed. Once you know how to deep-fry like a Chinese chef you can make all your favorite crunchy Eastern snacks.