does the oil have to be a certain temp for frying or is "really hot" OK?
Are you channeling your best self with this comment? (If you're not sure, check out our Code of Conduct.)
Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.
The oil should be 375 degrees if you have a thermometer. If not really hot I find to reach 375 it takes about 15 minutes
You can test the oil by putting a small trial piece in it. You want it to cook quickly so that it does not absorb excessive amounts of oil, and not be overheated -- oil that is smoking is damaged and not healthy.
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
I agree with sdebrango on the temp. And be careful about which oil you choose, per susan g's point. A frying oil would be grapeseed, canola or peanut oil for their higher smoke points.
I always use this trick I learned from the Canal House Volume No. 1 by Christopher Hirscheimer and Melissa Hamilton:
Their friend Julia Lee (whom they call the fry queen) uses the chopstick test to see if the oil is hot enough for frying. Dip the wooden chopstick (I use a skewer) into the oil until the tip touches the bottom of the pan, if lots of bubbles form right away around the tip (like champagne) the oil is ready for frying.
The sweet staple that James Beard Award-winner Joanne Chang swears by.
The Best Natural Sweetener
Eat Your Way Around Italy
What's New in the Neighborhood
Sweater Weather Soups & Stews
The Hits Keep Coming