Let’s be frank, fish sticks are disgusting. For what seems like an eternity, I have been chewing on dry, overcooked chicken tenders with a side of fish, all while standing in front of the television. Even worse, when I was a kid, we’d often get food poisoning from eating fish sticks. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for restaurants to jot down a health warning next to these crispy little snacks on their menus. But, do they really have to be avoided?
The answer is, quite possibly, not anymore.
Thanks to a new generation of home deep fryers, which utilize the instant heat transfer system, the world of fish sticks is at last ready to be reformed. The innovation of these home fryers allows users to simply and effectively deep fry their favorite snacks, such as fish, chicken or vegetable sticks, in a jiffy. In fact, the only thing you need to ensure for is that they are kept dry during the frying process, otherwise, the texture will be compromised.
So, if you’re looking to give fish sticks a go-round as part of your diet, here are some tips on how long they take to cook in a deep fryer.
The Thickness Of The Sticks Matters
It goes without saying that the thicker the sticks are, the longer they will take to cook. With thicker sticks, there is also more surface area for the oil to absorb, so more time is required to create a perfect crunchy exterior.
Thicker fish sticks, for example, will need about 10 minutes per side to be fully cooked. However, if you have thinner sticks, such as chicken or vegetable ones, you can get by with 7 to 8 minutes per side.
The Size Of The Pieces Matters
The larger the pieces are, the shorter the cooking time will be. Throwing larger pieces into the oil will cause the temperature to rise quickly, resulting in a crunchier texture. Smaller pieces, on the other hand, will take longer to cook.
The Type Of Fat You Use Matters
When deep frying, using healthy fats, such as avocado oil or coconut oil, will result in healthier, crisper fries. Since the body does not need to work as hard to break down these essential fats, the food tastes superior and the health perks are endless.
For the best tasting, healthiest fish sticks, opt for these oils since they have been shown to dramatically reduce the amount of calories and fat in the food and retain the texture, mouth feel and look of the original food.
The Color Of The Meat Matters
When the meat is colored before frying, the resulting product will be lighter and, therefore, will take less time to cook. The color of the meat, in fact, determines how crisp the resulting product will be. The darker the meat, the crispier the fries will be. You can use this same concept when coloring the vegetables as well.
To illustrate, cooking chicken pieces on the bone will result in a more juicy and, therefore, an easier to chew through product. When the meat is already cooked, the only way to keep it juicy is to add a ton of butter while serving, which also results in some amazing fries. Overall, the texture is amazing. It’s like eating a candy bar while having French fries for dessert.
Take Your Time
When preparing food for frying, take your time in order to ensure that the food is sliced and cut to the appropriate thicknesses. Slicing the food too thin will result in greasy food that is virtually inedible. Thicker products will require more time to cook, which, in turn, means that the flavor is more likely to be retained.
As a general rule of thumb, 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick products are best for frying. Anything thicker and you will have to cook for a little longer in order to get the proper texture. This means that, if your first attempt at cutting the food results in 1/2-inch thick slices, you will need to continue slicing until you get 1/4-inch thick pieces, as that is the minimum thickness required for the food to be fried properly. Thicker products require more time for the oil to absorb into the food, so be patient and take the necessary time to ensure that the food is chopped thoroughly and evenly.
How Do You Keep The Fat And The Tastes Of The Original Food?
Once the product is cooked, you must keep it as dry as possible. The easiest way to do this is to simply place the cooked pieces on a wire rack that has been placed on top of a baking sheet. This will leave the food completely exposed to the air, preventing any possible moisture that might otherwise form, resulting in greasy food. If you must place the food in a serving container, use parchment paper or a grease-proof mat to keep the food from becoming greasy and soggy. If the food is greasy, it will affect both the flavor and texture, resulting in something that is far from perfect.
Serving The Product
When serving the product, be careful not to mix all the ingredients together. Serving the product in this way will cause the food to lose its texture. Simply place each type of food in a separate container and give the guest the option of which one they want. By doing this, you will retain a good part of the original food’s texture and not end up with a mushy mess.
Some people prefer their food hot, so ensure that the container(s) holding the raw food is (are) brought to the table so that the guest can turn the food into hot goodness as soon as possible. Alternatively, the guest can choose to leave the food cold, in which case, it should be served either at room temperature or warmed up slightly before eating. The choice is completely up to the guest.
Giving fish bites a try might not be as bad as you think, and, in fact, with a little planning and practice, you can enjoy this food type without risk of gastrointestinal distress. With a little bit of research, you can determine the proper equipment and add the necessary steps to your cooking procedure in order to yield perfectly crunchy and juicy fish sticks. So next time you are feeling a tad under the weather, instead of rushing to the pharmacist to fill that antibiotic prescription, try making some fish sticks instead. You might just find that they are the perfect alternative, since not only are they low in calories but they also provide your body with some essential nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, which our bodies do not produce at all, naturally.