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Old 08-31-2008, 10:12 PM   #1
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Why do we fry with grease?

If water didn't boil away, would we use that instead?

Is there some other reason?

It just occurred to me while watching my pork chops sizzle. :)

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Old 08-31-2008, 10:42 PM   #2
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It's the difference between boiling and frying. Drop pieces of potato into hot water and get mashed potatoes. Drop them into hot fat and get french fries.

Fat gets 150-200 F hotter than water. That higher heat is what makes fried foods brown.
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Old 08-31-2008, 10:42 PM   #3
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i don't fry but rather sautee, but note that fat ads flavor.
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Old 08-31-2008, 11:40 PM   #4
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It's the difference between boiling and frying. Drop pieces of potato into hot water and get mashed potatoes. Drop them into hot fat and get french fries.

Fat gets 150-200 F hotter than water. That higher heat is what makes fried foods brown.
Then could I pressure cook potatoes in water (achieving the oil-like temperature) and get a similar result?
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Old 08-31-2008, 11:51 PM   #5
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When you drop a piece of potato in hot water do you get that "sizzle" that says it is getting crispy on the outside? No...

You can certainly pressure cook your potatoes in water and you will get cooked potatoes quicker - for mashing - not fried potatoes. You don't fry in water. Can you just accept that answer? You CAN'T fry in water
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:21 AM   #6
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When you drop a piece of potato in hot water do you get that "sizzle" that says it is getting crispy on the outside? No...

You can certainly pressure cook your potatoes in water and you will get cooked potatoes quicker - for mashing - not fried potatoes. You don't fry in water. Can you just accept that answer? You CAN'T fry in water
Can I both accept it and ask why?
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:30 AM   #7
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Yes, you can accept it and ask why. But it would be better to accept it and try it both ways. And as my mother always said................BECAUSE!

Another answer is - "it don't work" Water absorbs into the food - period - not gonna happen any other way. Oil causes a barrier to form on the outside keeping the oil out and leaving a crispy coating.
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:57 AM   #8
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Oil goes to a much higher temperature for cooking so seals rather being absorbed - if you use fat/oil at a lower temperature, it can be absorbed and make your food very greasy,
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Old 09-01-2008, 02:52 AM   #9
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You're getting into a very special area of cooking science called "Mailliard Reactions" or "Mailliard Browning Reactions". It's basically a chemical reaction between sugars (including carbohydrates which are sugars) and fats at high heat. Moisture (water) retards, limits or prevents those browning reactions.

Even if you could get water to 600ºF - you would not get browning ... the browning is a chemical reaction between the sugars in the food and the fats used in frying.

Humm .... example ... ever hear that when you want to sear some meat (like to make stew) you should not over crowd the pan? The reason is because if the meat is crowded too close together it steams and does not brown - thus the flavors generated during browning never develop.

Many people think that it is the fact that oil can be heated to a higher temperature than water without being under pressure that makes the difference - that just isn't so.
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:49 AM   #10
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Then could I pressure cook potatoes in water (achieving the oil-like temperature) and get a similar result?

A pressure cooker doesn't raise the temperature enough.

As Michael explained, You need the heat to generate the Maillard reaction. That won't happen with water.
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