Since I am coming for all your fried foods, I figured I would start with two stories
I was on the world’s immediate source of breaking news TWITTER sometime last year, and as was my custom, I would go through the tweets of those Twitter Doctors giving us correct free and valuable info. Don’t recall his handle but he tweeted something about how we needed to STOP frying plantain, and that even when we fry, we now make it worse when we salt before frying. Plantain was tasty enough, it didn’t need salt.
I was enthralled so I tried it out when frying for hubby and kids (not really a big fan of fried plantain) and I did realize that true true, plantain is A-OK without salt. Tradition from our mother’s mama just makes us keep salting, but SAWRY G-Mama, WE QUIT haha.
Let us talk about salting and frying later in this article while we move to story 2, shall we?
A squaddie had sent me a picture her sis had sent to her from ‘the abroad’ during thanksgiving, and she was HORRIFIED at just how much oil came out of this chicken during the grilling process (no oil had been added before yet it was dripping oil) and wondered why we still bother to fry chicken.
Definitely food for thought there!!!
‘Well, I KNOW but FRIED CHICKEN IS SO MUCH TASTIER’
I know some of you just said that to yourselves and I do agree with you.
Deep-frying stuff just takes taste to a whole ‘noda level – the level where it touches all the right places in the brain leading to a foodgasm, right?
Fried plantain/potato tastes better than their boiled counterparts.
Oh and small chops?
Especially when – GOD BLESS THEM – they serve you as e dey hot?
And come on now for FRIED CHICKEN!!! Phew.
Some of you are already salivating. Close ya mouth jor.
Yes, I get it, fried foods are tastier.
Ok let me not lie, I REALLY do not care so much for deep fried foods and I mean it. And this is fitfam aside. I believe that seed was sown in my heart when a friend back in Uni saw me frying fish and was like ‘why would anybody FRY FISH when boiled fish is SO MUCH TASTIER?’, and she said it with SO MUCH ATTITUDE AND PRIDE as if she knew something we MERE MORTALS didn’t know.
Because she was a cool kid and I too wanted to be cool like her, I stopped frying fish and chicken (when my student money could afford to buy chicken).
Till today, I have absolutely NO TASTE for fried fish, chicken or beef…
So while you argue for taste, may I argue for health?
We start with DANGERS to ALTERNATIVES to BEST PRACTICES!!1
Listen to me honey, DEEP FRIED ANYTHING IS A WHAMMY ON MANY LEVELS
First the big bad wolf called CALORIES…
For my sisters on a weight loss journey, this is KEY.
One small boiled/baked Irish potato (100g) contains 93 calories with ZERO gram fat, but when you fry the same portion, the same potato moves to 319 calories and 17 GRAMS OF FAT
Yawl, that is just MAD!!!
Over 3 times the calories and a WHOOPING 17g of fat added!!!
Chances are high that when you audit the meals of anyone obese or overweight, it is high in deep-fried foods (among other junk)
When you fry, you lose water and absorb fat and then frying further makes this fat HARDER to break down.
Guess what an accumulation of that means? Overweight, heart diseases and possible heart failure.
FAT and HEART may rhyme, but JesusGirls, they don’t mix well.
And while all commercial fried foods are guilty of the next sin I wanna point out, MOST of us are guilty even in our homes…
WE REUSE OIL!!!
How many of us fry once, or even thrice, with the same oil and then discard it?
I am sure this is STRANGE news to you, but yes, ideally, oil is not to be reused over and over again at high temperature. Trans fat, which is the bad kind of fat, increases with every reuse as hydrogenation (this is BAD) occurs. This can also lead to diabetes and more.
Let me throw in something about smoke points, which is the point oil starts to bring out smoke, or burn. In simple terms, we should only use oils with high smoke points to deep fry (coconut oil, groundnut oil, sunflower, canola and co) but must be careful not to use oil beyond its smoke point. Repeatedly heating oil to that high temperature further brings down the smoke point making it more dangerous (think free radicals and cancer) and can also change taste, aroma, and color of food, while destroying some of the phytochemicals and nutrients in the food.
This is why reusing the same oil over and over again is DANGEROUS
Imagine how many times you reuse that one in your home, and then multiply it by 179 which is how much reuse the road side/commercial food vendor does hers.
And let’s not even talk about the fact that MOST TIMES at commercial levels, cheaper oils are used making everything worse.You know those nameless brands in funny containers. Phew!!!
Let me just stop here and move to the next point
How am I just going to spell all these dangers and not help your fried food love ministry the best way I can?
No way ma. There is good news. We can still enjoy our fried taste of foods without deep-frying.
My first alternative would be the MOST AMAZING invention ever Grand Square bread and that would be
Air frying is God’s answer to your prayers if you LOVE err’thang fried.
Yes ladies, we can INVEST in an air fryer and use it for everything we would normally deep fry
The air fryer circulates very HOT air around food giving it the fried effect of crispy outside and moist inside, and it works for EVERYTHING including plantain!!!
I say INVEST because it can be pricey but what price is too much to pay for your long term health, ma?
Of course, there are other alternatives
You can also stick to BOILING (like me, yay and I also give my kids MORE boiled plantain and potatoes than fried), GRILLING and ROASTING (these two require just little oil like the air fryer).
I also love to BRAISE my foods especially Carbs.
This is one step above boiling as here you get to use flavorful liquids like chicken broth and the likes. So for instance, instead of just boiling your sweet potatoes in water and salt, you can use chicken/fish broth (the liquid from boiling it) and then the taste enters your carbs and changes everything.
Ok I hear you CoachE’ but what do I do to my deep fryer wedding gift? Do I throw it away and kiss deep-frying HASTA LA VISTA?’
Well, while I am tempted to say YES, I wanna give you a few deep frying BEST PRACTICES… You would need to take notes here…
THE BEST PRACTICES OF DEEP FRYING
Because it may be impossible for some of us to completely eliminate deep frying, we can make it work for us. At least twice this year, I have sat down and fried plantain for myself in what we could call a miracle similar to turning water to wine at the wedding in Cana.
My family eats fried plantain too about once a week (or less).
We can really limit our consumption of deep fried foods at home (say once a week?) and really eliminate commercially fried foods (I am looking at yawl always asking for dodo with rice at the canteen in/near your office/school).
When you deep fry at home, use really good quality oil. Saturated and mono-unsaturated oils are the choice for deep frying as they are stable under that high temperature because of their high smoke points. Coconut oil is actually THE BEST for deep frying and we know it don’t come cheap.
Groundnut oil is also good but you cannot just buy those cheap nameless brands. For my abroad sisters, avocado oil is amazing too. Olive oil is good too but hey, na your money kill am ooo.
Also don’t reuse oil endlessly. Three times max and we are done, and I don’t mean use it for plantain, then potato then fish.
The same oil for the same food item three times MAX and we have to toss the oil. A good tip would be to have a narrower pan to fry with so you don’t need too much oil to deep fry.
Oh, and you recall that plantain and salt story by the good Doc I shared at the beginning? Please my sisters, DO NOT SALT AND FRY as this further reduces the oil’s smoke point, AND THEN creates free radicals (salt is an ionic substance) which are really dangerous to your health (think cancer).
This is especially bad for hypertensive patients (or even those with a history)Frankly you should not even reuse any oil to which salt has been added in the frying process.
YES IT IS THAT BAD!!!
Now who is going to give your fave local food seller all this wisdom? And even then, will she apply it? And trust me, even the big time eateries and all are certainly about the profit so MOST of them, especially in Nigeria, are compromising from best practices too.
You can fry AND SALT immediately removing it from oil (so it sticks) if you still need to add salt.
Finally, my #JesusGirl Tip?
Babes, we can TRAIN our taste buds.
Bad foods, similar to sin, can be quite enticing and addictive but the less exposure we have to them, the less hold it has on us and soon we don’t even miss it, because how can you miss what you don’t even know? Don’t always eat for TASTE, also eat for HEALTH.
Your taste buds may protest at the start but it soon aligns as it can be trained.
So there you go, the B.A.D OF DEEP FRYING
Drop a line let me hear how this made you feel haha
Cheers to HEALTHIER You,
Eziaha (for CSL)