I need to use a wok for deep-frying?
No. Some people feel safer sticking
with a deep-fat fryer. If you do use a wok make
sure it is securely in place - flat-bottomed
woks work best for electric ranges; round
bottomed for gas stoves. (Make sure the round
bottomed wok is securely in place in the wok
How do I put the food into the wok?
Be careful to slide foods in to prevent
splattering. Also, add ingredients in small
amounts and don't overcrowd the wok.
Overcrowding will lower the temperature and may
lead to splattering or spillage.
What is a good temperature for
It depends on the recipe, but most
suggest you heat the oil to somewhere between
350 degrees and 375 degrees Fahrenheit. (Partly
this depends on the size of the food being
cooked, as larger items can be deep-fried at a
lower temperature). Remember, though, the
temperature will drop slightly when you put in
What type of oil should I use for
Peanut oil is good, as it has a high
smoking point and thus does not burn easily even
at high temperatures. You can also use
vegetable oil, but I find I have more trouble
with the oil splattering. Chinese recipes used
to call for lard, but most don't anymore because
of the fat content. Sesame oil has a low
smoking point and thus generally isn't used for
How much oil should I add?
Most recipes will call for a specific
amount of oil, although some just list "oil for
deep-frying," under the ingredients, while
others give a range such as 2 to 4 cups. How
much oil to add depends on the item being
deep-fried. Make sure the food is completely
submerged, but allow space at the top for the
oil level to rise when the food is dropped in.
How can I tell when the oil is hot
You can always go the traditional route
and use a wooden chopstick to check the oil -
it's hot enough when bubbles form all around the
object. However, it takes a bit of practice to
know just when the oil reaches the right
temperature. Add to that the fact that you need
to adjust for a drop in temperature when placing
the food in the wok, and the novice is better
off relying on a deep-fry thermometer. If you
don't have a deep-fry thermometer a candy
thermometer will work also.
How can I reduce splattering?
The food you are going to deep-fry
should be at room temperature. This reduces the
drop in the temperature of the oil when you put
it in, lessening the chance of splattering. You
might want to dry the food with a paper towel
before adding it. If the food to be deep-fried
is in a sauce, use a slotted spoon to let it
drain before adding it to the wok. Similarly,
if the food is batter-coated, make sure all the
excess batter has dripped off before placing it
in the hot oil.
What if the recipe calls for the food to
be deep-fried twice?
This is optional, but it does give the
food a crisp coating. The difference in texture
between the crisp coating and the juicy interior
makes a nice contrast. Make sure to recheck the
oil temperature before you add the food a second
Can I reuse cooking oil?
Yes, you can reuse cooked oil several
times. You'll know it has gone bad when it
starts smoking at normal temperatures or the
can I reduce the amount of fat?
First, by keeping the temperature up.
Food cooked at too low a temperature will be
greasy. Secondly, by not overcrowding the wok,
which lowers the temperature, again leading to
greasy food. Finally, using a wok actually helps
- the unique shape of the wok means that you use
less oil to cook with than is the case with a