Whether you have an egg allergy or you're out of eggs, don't give up your hopes of frying the vegetables, chicken or fish in your fridge. You have plenty of choices for frying that do not include an egg wash but still create that crunchy coating you expect from fried foods.
A simple solution to use when frying foods is to make a batter instead of breading, omitting the egg wash altogether. A batter is made using a liquid, while a breading is a dry coating, typically held in place with a liquid, such as beaten egg. Fish and chicken both work well battered, as do several types of vegetables, including pickles, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato and mushrooms. Prepare a thin batter using flour, salt, pepper and either baking powder or yeast or a carbonated beverage, such as beer or sparkling water. The tiny bubbles provided by a rising agent or carbonation create a light and fluffy batter that makes for a delicious, crunchy coating when fried. Dip your food in the batter and then place it into the hot oil and fry as you would a breaded item.
While an egg dip is commonly called for in fried food recipes, it is by no means necessary to create a top-notch fried chicken or fish. A easier way to fry meats is to season them well and then roll them in flour. This provides a lightweight coating that crisps nicely on meats that are slightly wet when breading. For a crunchier coating, dip the pieces in water after an initial dredging and then roll them again in flour for fuller coverage and a thicker coating.
Breading With Crumbs
If you want to create a thicker coating with breadcrumbs for frying, use another comparable wet ingredient to pump up the sticking power of the breadcrumbs. First dredge your food in flour and then dip it in milk, butter or yogurt before giving it a firm roll in breadcrumbs or panko. This will create an even crispier coating that will become well browned when frying. Use breadcrumbs only when cooking smaller pieces of boneless meat or vegetables, as they will become too dark when cooking bone-in pieces of meat to doneness.
To skip the frying while still having juicy, crispy food, consider oven-frying your chicken, fish or vegetables. This simple method makes little mess and requires little active cooking time compared to deep-frying. Roll seasoned meat or vegetables in oil, butter or yogurt before rolling them in breadcrumbs or panko. Place all the pieces on a baking tray and cook until golden brown and cooked through.
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