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For Easier Deep-Frying, Just Add a...Carrot?

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Deep-frying can be scary, splashy, and smelly. But when you want French toast sticks, fried chicken, Wonder Fries, or cannoli, it's worth it.

And now that Hanukkah is almost upon us, frying's just about inevitable—at least if you're planning to make classic sufganiyot or Amelia Saltsman's zengoula (Iraqi funnel cakes).

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Zengoula with Lemon Syrup (Iraqi Funnel Cakes)

Zengoula with Lemon Syrup (Iraqi Funnel Cakes) by Alice Medrich

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Crullers by Erin McDowell

Luckily, when we were reading about the recipe in her book The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen, we came across a great "old-fashioned trick" to solve at least one deep-frying problem: the burning of any pieces that float away from the group, and the consequently bitter oil.

Amelia writes: "A couple of 2-inch (5-centimeter) chunks of raw carrot added to the frying oil act as magnets, attracting all those little brown bits that might otherwise burn and impart an acrid taste to the oil."

Those are carrots next to that donut.
Those are carrots next to that donut. Photo by James Ransom

A couple of notes on Amelia's great tip:

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  • It works best if you add the carrots along with the food you're frying. Otherwise, the carrots might shrivel up and burn before whatever you're frying is finished.
  • You might have to switch out the carrots in between batches of food—again, to avoid burning the carrots and thus defeating the purpose of the tip.
  • The tip is most handy when you're deep-frying items that have a lot of particulate matter on their exterior—think breaded foods like chicken fingers, croquettes, or mozzarella sticks. That's where you really run the risk of burning particles and where the carrots can truly come in handy.
Look at that clean oil.
Look at that clean oil. Photo by James Ransom

Ready to put this trick to use?

Use this old trick and your oil (and food) will be less bitter and gunky—which means you can use it for your next round of zengoula, too.

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Got any deep-frying tricks we need to know about? Share with us in the comments!

Tags: frying, hanukkah, tip, trick, hack, skill