A friend was visiting recently and we were having coffee in the kitchen when she spied my trusty little electric home fryer sitting on the counter.
“Why do you have that and do you ever use it?” She asked, adding, “Can’t you just put some oil in a deep pot on the stovetop?”
Yes, you can put some oil in a deep pot on the stovetop. But can you maintain the steady even temperature needed for successful deep-frying? I am thinking of our family’s jelly-filled sufganiyot (donuts), dusted with powdered sugar, that we make for Chanukah every year (and I am already hungry for one). In the old days “back home” my mother and her family did indeed put oil in a pot and somehow, with years of practice, were no doubt able to regulate a steady heat on a wood- or coal-burning stove no less.
That good I am not. I have tried deep-frying using a thermometer and the temperature margin varies much too much for comfort or consistency.
Another reason I love my deep fryer is that it is safe. It has a basket to safely lower the food into the hot oil and then remove the food from it and transfer it to a paper-lined tray without ever getting near the oil. The oil, by the way, is maintained at a steady temperature by the machine before, during and after cooking. The fryer also has a cover to prevent splattering, and a short, polarized breakaway cord, making it necessary to center the appliance on the counter, well back from the edge.
What is not to like? Oh, and did I say that mine cost less than $100? You can visit any online site that rates home deep fryers, which is how I decided on the model I have: Waring Pro Professional Deep Fryer DF175. It has a 3.4-quart capacity, which means that it uses a moderate amount of oil. The basket holds four to six chunks of food: chicken, donuts, fritters, and enough French fries to serve four people.
In the next few blogs look for my mother’s recipe for Sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts) and for Csoroge (crispy fritters), both favorite holiday foods and both made in an electric deep fryer.