These quick and easy to make potato bites make a wonderful addition to any meal, and they also make a great tailgating snack to offer to your guests, as well as for virtually any other type of gathering you may be having.
There are, however, dangers associated with working with hot oil, so we thought it would be a good idea to outline some safety basics for doing so.
When you are dealing with hot oil, you must follow some simple guidelines for making deep frying safe. If you follow our tips, you will avoid accidents in the kitchen.
Regardless of how popular deep-fried food is, it has a margin of error that can be devastating when it comes to cooking with this kind of method. In order to deep fry safely and confidently, you need to follow a few simple rules.
- Make sure you use oil that has a high smoke point. In the case of oil, this is the temperature it can be heated to before it starts to smoke and burn. The most stable oils to use for frying are the saturated and monounsaturated oils. The oils rich in polyphenols or antioxidants also appear to be easier to work with, since they appear to become less damaged when heated at high temperatures, such as olive oil and rapeseed oil.
- Make sure that you use a large, sturdy, wide pan. When frying food, never fill the pan more than two-thirds full with oil since the oil can bubble up when the food is added, and it could spill over.
- Ensure that you have a well-fitting lid on hand so that if the oil catches on fire, you will have a lid to cover it. Alternatively, if your pan does not have a lid that fits, you can try a large, flat baking sheet.
- Make sure that you check the temperature of your oil on a regular basis. Using a food thermometer, heat the oil to 160 degrees Celsius for low, 180 degrees Celsius for moderate and 190 degrees Celsius for high. The oil should not be heated any higher than these temperatures as it may catch fire. A cube of bread can be used if you do not have a thermometer to test the oil’s temperature. When the oil is heated to a moderate temperature, it should brown in 30-40 seconds.
- Food that is wet should never be placed in a deep fryer. Oil splutters if it is exposed to excess liquid, and this can cause injuries if the excess liquid is not removed. Before frying food, it is particularly important to pat wet food dry with kitchen paper.
- Leaving a pan of hot oil unattended is dangerous. It only takes a minute or two for the oil to fall into a state of overheating and catching fire.
- Deep-frying should be carried out in an area free of children. Getting little hands into hot oil can cause disasters, so children should not be present when doing the frying.
- Food should be removed with a sturdy tongs or large slotted spoon, something that will allow the oil to drain as you lift the food out of the pan.
- If you wish to dispose of the oil properly, let it cool completely, then pour it into a jug, and then put it back into the bottle. Please make sure not to pour the oil down the sink, or your pipes will become clogged.
When deep-frying goes wrong, here’s what you should do
- It is advisable to turn off the heat and let the oil cool down if the oil starts to smoke.
- You should turn off the heat if the oil catches fire and smother it with a lid, a large baking tray, or a fire blanket – a fire extinguisher will work too, if you have one.
- Water should never be sprayed on fires. If you do, the fire will spread quickly.