Fried Foods – Coatings for Fried Foods
While it is possible to fry foods without a coating, potatoes for instance-this does not always result in the crispy golden morsels, cooked throughout but not greasy, that a good coating helps to achieve. The pieces of food can be rolled one at a time in flour or crumbs, or dipped in milk and then rolled in flour or crumbs. The Japanese dip their foods into a batter called tempura batter, and the delicious shrimps prepared this way are a familiar item in Japanese restaurants. The English use a mixture of egg, water and oil, with seasonings; so this kind of coating is call a’l’anglaise. The foods are coated with bread crumbs after being dipped into the anglaise mixture.
Egg and crumb coating is particularly good for deep-frying as well as for other kinds of frying. In the case of mixtures such as croquettes, egg helps to hold pieces together.
To obtain a chef’s result, prepare food ahead of time, dip it into the egg and crumbs, then refrigerate it for one hour before frying. This allows the egg to dry and any excess liquid in the food to evaporate. The coating will then adhere better.
Basic method to coat food: For 1 to 2 pounds of food, beat 1 egg and 1 tablespoon cold water with a fork, only enough to blend the two. Add ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon paprika and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Spread the coating material on a sheet of paper. This coating can be fine bread or cracker crumbs, cornmeal, and instant potato powder of flour. Any of these can be combined, and part of the coating can be grated cheese. You will need about 1 ½ cups of any of these, plain, combined, or with cheese added, for this amount of food.
Dip the prepared food into the coating material. Do this gently; you want only a light coating. Then dip the food into the egg mixture, then a second time into the coating material. Set the dipped pieces on a plate, one piece next to the other. Do not overlap or put one over the other. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, or when possible for 1 hour; then the food is ready to be deep-fried.
Batter Coating: Almost any batter can be used but thin batters make a thinner layer and a more delicate product. Here is a version of the Japanese batter:
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup water
2 egg whites
- Sift flour, salt and baking soda together. Mix in water and egg whites and beat with an egg beater till thoroughly mixed. The batter will be thin.
- Dip the food into the batter. Let any excess drain off. Chill the food, if time allows, to set the coating.