It doesn’t bear thinking about where we’d be if we didn’t have the deep fryer. The crunch of breading quickly crisped in a bath of oil is easily one of the one of the most satisfying feelings you can get from any food. Chicken, chips and vegetables are all made immeasurably better by a dip in something hot and bubbling.
Naturally, pretty much every country in the world has realised just how good deep frying can be. This means that there are thousands of recipes that showcase the flexibility and awesome power of this time honoured technique. Whether you’re into junk food or fine dining, these eight dishes all prove just how great deep frying can be.
Despite actually being invented in Portugal, tempura batter has become synonymous with Japanese cooking. A light, cool batter - sometimes made with sparkling water and ice - is used to give tempura fried foods an extraordinary airy texture, to go with their crunch. Working for everything from vegetables to prawns to noodles, there’s a reason tempura is today eaten all over the world.
2. Pizza Fritta
You might think it’s blasphemy to put a pizza anywhere near a deep fryer. As it turns out, the Italians have been doing it for ages. Pizza fritta traditionally features a deep fried dough base, which is then removed from the oil, topped with tomatoes and cheese, before being finished off in the oven. It may be unusual, but it’s also delicious.
3. Corn Dog
A staple of the great American State fair, a corn dog might not look like much to the untrained eye, but to anyone who’s ever tried one it looks like heaven on a stick. Battering and deep frying a hot dog might not sound like much, but there’s little doubt that the results speak for themselves.
4. Gulab Jamun
Deep frying doesn’t have to be about savoury food. One of the world’s tastiest puddings owes its entire existence to the power of oil. Made by reducing milk over a low flame, mixing it into a dough, deep frying and soaking in sugar syrup, gulab jamun are eaten everywhere from Nepal to the Caribbean and are easily one of the tastiest things you can do with milk.
Donuts come in all shapes and sizes. But, even in a world of Krispy Kremes and raspberry jelly, the absolute king has to be Brazilian coxinha. Shredded chicken is packed with seasoning and spring onions, wrapped in a ball of dough and plunged into the deep fryer to make the ultimate street food snack.
6. Fish and Chips
There’s a reason the fish and chips is Britain’s national food. When you’re on a greying pebble beach on a cloudy summer’s day, there is nothing better than crouching over a newspaper of battered cod and hungrily flicking forkfuls of fish and potato into your mouth. Add a bit of salt, vinegar and mushy peas and you have heaven.
Made by smashing meat until it’s as flat as a pancake, Austrian schnitzel is easily one of the most satisfying ways to cook dinner. Popular around the world, a traditional schnitzel can feature anything from veal to reindeer, and is always simple to prepare.
8. Fried Chicken
You can’t talk about deep frying without mentioning fried chicken. Eaten all around the world and a family favourite wherever you find it, fried chicken recipes dominate global cooking like little else. From Japanese karaage, to korean twice fried chicken, to an American buffalo wing, no food shows just what this technique can do quite like chicken.
Even with all these yummy things to eat, perhaps the best thing about deep frying is its flexibility. With a pot full of oil, you can make almost anything, from deep fried Coke to deep fried butter. The sky’s the limit. We can’t wait to see what makes it on to future lists.