Golden brown, crisp and scrumptious, deep frying isn't all bad. True, it's not the healthiest method of cooking but deep frying's most important benefit is that it allows for a change of texture when constructing a plate. Variety in texture, flavour and colour is key in plate composition.
For this reason I love deep frying as it contributes a beautiful golden brown colour, a crispy texture and added dimension to any meal. However in order for this to apply, it needs to be done properly. Deep frying works on the principal that it cooks the moisture within the food. If your oil is heated to the right temperature and food is cooked for the optimal time, this moisture repels the oil and prevents the food from absorbing the oil, meaning that the food gets cooked without unnecessary calories.
What to deep fry?
You can deep fry just about anything (ask America in general) however it is best to steer clear of foods with a high water content as they make for soggy crusts and cause splatter during frying. I like frying food that are high in starch and high in protein.
What oil should I use?
Unless you are after a specific taste, you want to choose an oil that is neutral in flavour. Furthermore, you want an oil that has a high smoke and flash point. Check out 1:50 and 2:38 in the video below if you don't know these terms as they can help you prevent accidents in the kitchen. I like to use canola oil as it is easily available, fairly inexpensive and easy to work with. This leads to the next question...
How hot should the oil be?
Generally a deep frying temperature is between 177 °C and 191°C. This is important as the heat of the oil determines whether the food will be cooked to perfection, or whether you'll end up with a fry that has absorbed a tablespoon of oil. The ideal temperature when frying with canola oil is 190°C. If you don't have a thermometer, use the wooden spoon test. Dip the handle of the spoon in the oil. If it bubbles immediately, you are ready for frying.
So now that you have the basics down, your deep frying is only limited to your imagination.