For first time cooks, pan-frying is a great way to get introduced to cooking. This method is very easy and can be used to cook almost anything. Basic pan-fry is the most common, but shallow frying and stir-frying can also be done depending on your dish.
To try out basic pan-frying, you only need to follow these simple steps:
Choose Your Pan
You can use various pans for this purpose, including a heavy skillet, a frying pan or a sauté pan. It should be flat at the bottom, with sloped or straight edges. The most important thing is that it has enough space for what you want to cook because overcrowding your pan might leave you with undercooked food.
Switch on Your Stove to Medium-High
Allow the pan to heat up before you add any oil unless you are using a non-stick pan. By doing so, you will avoid any meat stuck to the pan and the oil will heat up more easily. On average, you will need about 2 – 3 minutes to thoroughly heat the pan.
If you are using a non-stick pan, add the oil while the pan is cold and warm them up together.
Pour 1-2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
You do not need that much more cooking oil, especially when you spread it all over the pan’s surface. The best oils to use are the ones without any flavor like light/refined olive oil, peanut, or canola oil. As much as possible, do not use EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) because it is not as flavorless and it has a low smoke point (325 to 375°F).
Heat Up Your Oil
This step should not take long because oil added to a hot pan will only take a few minutes. You can test the oil to be sure by using a cooking thermometer to measure the exact heat by sticking the end into the oil. Within 5 seconds you know what the temperature is. You can also do it manually through a wooden spoon, sticking it in the oil to see if bubbles are rising and popping.
Another option is to use a drop of water. When the water starts to pop and sizzle, then the oil is ready. Just watch out for oil splatters! Also, do not leave your pan alone because it can easily heat up and cause a fire.
Start putting your ingredients into the hot oil, checking that every single piece has enough space. Meat should not touch each other and vegetables should not be piled on top of each other. This ensures that the steam that is released while frying will not get stuck and leave you with soggy food.
Make sure you first fry the side that you want to put on top for a nice presentation.
Flip the Meat
Halfway through the cooking, you can start to turn the meat around. Use tongs to do this step so you do not accidentally puncture the meat.
When to flip the meat depends on the kind you are cooking. Chicken and steak should be flipped around 4 to 6 minutes, while pork and fish only need 3 to 4.
When cooking meat, use a thermometer to check for the temperature of the thickest part of the meat. If you are not sure if the meat is still raw inside, you can cut it a little to see better.
Part of eating safe is to make sure the meat is cooked all the way through. A good way to check is to use a thermometer. Chicken and turkey should have at least 165°F, with the meat looking white and the juices clear.
Pork needs an internal temperature of 145°F, with the meat looking white or brown, with a bit of a pink tint. Fish should also have an internal temperature of 145°F, as well as beef steaks.
Remove the Pan
Once your meat and vegetables are cooked, use tongs to remove them.
Pan frying is a very simple method but it allows you to cook many food masterpieces without having to do some complicated kitchen work. Moreover, just because the method is easy, does not mean it is less delicious.