The verb ‘to fry’ denotes a cooking process whereby food is cooked in a wide, shallow pan on top of a heat source, usually high-heat.
Variants include sautéing, stir-frying, steam-frying and deep-frying. Sometimes regular frying is referred to as “shallow frying” to distinguish it from “deep frying.”
Frying has got a bad rap now as being bad for your health, because it usually involves at least a small amount of fat, such as oil or butter.
Most people don’t get their frying pans hot enough before starting to fry. Some recommend as a way around this to heat the pan first until a drop of water on it will dance and dissolve instantly, then add the oil or cooking fat. On the other hand, experienced cooks can tell by the “waves” in their oil if it’s ready to use or not as it heats in the pan. They want to get the cooking fat temperature raised to the right point, because the lower the temperature you fry at, the more frying fat the food will absorb.
You can drain fried foods on newspaper, paper towel or a wire rack.
Frying wasn’t a cooking technique used in the New World before the Spanish. It’s a technique that requires pans that can withstand high-heat, which usually means metal.
Mexican food was dramatically influenced by the introduction of frying.