A couple of months ago, my roommate Jason decided to invest in a deep fryer for the apartment. It gathered dust on our shelf until one Friday he finally bought some surprisingly expensive peanut oil and got to work. Curiosity and the culinary potential drew me in as well, and quickly we were both rooting through the fridge and pantry for anything that might be friable. Now I know the county fair would suggest that anything can be battered and fried, but we were sticking to the basics for this first time around.
The first time we hauled the equipment out, we only had panko (a word of Japanese origin) crumbs. These work great for larger items, but not so much for finer items like onion rings. The Arby’s sauce hoard that we keep at our house provided enough flavor to justify eating them, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say they were good.
We got the thing going again the following week, this time armed with tempura (also Japanese) batter. This makes for a much finer batter that actually adheres to the food. Our thicker cut onions were better this time around, but we have a long way to go before they are restaurant quality. Trial and error will surely develop this life skill.
Another fried food attempt has been potato crisps, which I don’t yet have right either. Whatever I do with them, they come out tasting like soggy grease sponges, and really have none of the crisp that I’m looking for. I really can’t slice them any thinner, nor can we get the oil any hotter, but I’m thinking that my newly acquired toaster oven may be able to help out. We also make a lot of deviled eggs at our place, as bachelors do, since at any one time we probably have a dozen ova sitting pre-boiled in the fridge. Good on the left, not so much on the right.
By the third weekend, I had really figured out how to make it work well for slabs of meat. I went to town on some Alaskan cod, and pork chops too, which both turned out incredibly well. To have tonkatsu in my repertoire feels good, and I’m sure that I’ll only improve on it. I no longer have a camera of any sort, but this stock photo is basically what my pork cutlet came out looking like.