Being a health nut, I typically lean towards uncooking organic vegetables... but sometimes, I just want to make something a little more greasy.
Step 1: Gathering Ingredients
Deep fried foods have two components: The batter, and the filling. For our filling, we've chosen a number of items (listed below). The batter is a very simple recipe consisting of the following:
1/4 cup dry [powdered] milk
2 cups whole grain flour
2 cups water
The filling is entirely up to you. For our frying today, we selected a number of unique items:
1 can 'chunk' pineapple, drained
6 hot peppers, stuffed with cream cheese
8 hershey's kisses
1 banana, sliced, stuffed with cream cheese
1 apple, chopped
1 potato, chopped
6 'baby portabella' mushrooms, each cut in half
4 chicken tenderloins (or 2 chicken breasts), chopped
Step 2: Prepare Your Batter
Mix all of the ingredients for the batter in a mixer or by hand. Should be slightly thinner than pancake batter.
Step 3: Prepare Your Filling
Each item is prepared differenty, but they all wind up with one common denominator: their size. The final product from each of these items should be no larger than 1.5" cubed. Preferably, smaller than that. If you fry items that are very thick, you have to fry them a lot longer; and if those items are meat, you stand a reasonable chance of pulling them too soon, and having undercooked food.
Pineapple: Remove the chunks from the can, and lay them out flat. This will allow them to dry slightly.
'Poppers' (hot peppers): Remove the stem, slice down one side, and remove the pith and the seeds. The seeds are the spiciest part. Lay a bit of cream cheese inside, and close them back up. Be sure to use Jalapeno or Banana peppers. I mistakenly purchased Cayenne peppers, and they were so spicy that they left burn marks on my fingers (I wish I were kidding!). Spicy food is great, but be careful how spicy it is.
Hershey's Kisses: Pretty simple, just remove them from their wrappers. Foil doesn't taste very good!
Banana: One banana will make approximately 14 pieces. Cut the centers out, and stuff with cream cheese.
Apple: Cut into quarters, core, then slice into 8 pieces. These should each be cut into about 5 pieces.
Potato: Slice the potato into pieces about the same size as the apple.
Mushrooms: You can leave the mushrooms whole or slice them in half. I sliced mine, and found the size to work quite well, although if you have small mushrooms, you may be fine without.
Chicken: Cutting the chicken into cubes about 1" x 1" x 1/2" turned out final products similar to Chicken Nuggets. On a side note, always keep raw meat away from vegetables etc. E.Coli is not pleasant!
Now that your fillings have been prepared, drop the pieces one-at-a-time into the batter. Stir the batter over them, so that they're completely covered.
Step 4: Prepare Your Oil
The best dish for frying food is a Wok. They are a Chinese frying pan which has no bottom; they are perfectly round. They allow you to fry foods with very little oil. As I have recently been reminded, Wok frying is a little different from conventional American deep frying. While the methods are different, the outcome is the same.
I don't have a wok. The nearest thing I have is an 8 qt. saucepan. While it wasn't as good as a wok, it worked out very well.
The oil should be about 1/2" deep. I know this doesn't sound like much, but for my saucepan, that was about 2 cups.
Place the oil in your saucepan, and turn the heat onto high for ten minutes. Place a lid onto the pan. The oil will heat up and begin to smoke. After ten minutes of heating, reduce the heat to medium/low. After another ten minutes, test it.
Testing the oil is extremely simple! Just use a fork or spoon to take a small bit of batter, and drop it into the oil. If it bubbles and sizzles, you know it's warm enough.
A word of warning: Water, even a small droplet, will cause hot oil to explode. Make sure every utensil, the saucepan, the lid, and your hands are completely dry before getting anywhere near hot oil. Oil burns are extremely unpleasant!
Step 5: Fry, Fry!
Now that your oil is ready, use a fork to lift the items one-at-a-time from your batter. You will want to do this rather quickly, so as not to lose all of the batter from the items before they make it into the oil. When you set the items into the oil, lower the fork almost into the oil -- don't drop the items into the oil from a distance of more than one inch!!! Doing so will make the oil splash, and hot oil is not something you want on your skin!
Set the items close to one another in the oil, but don't let them touch. If they touch, they will instantly become one with each other.
After the saucepan is full, place the lid on top and let them fry for 1:30, or until the sides of the items start to turn a golden bown. Use a large spoon to stirm them around at that point, and make sure to turn them all over so that the top will get an opportunity to cook.
After the items have been in the oil for a total of 3 minutes, remove them. If you are cooking chicken, and you have larger pieces, let them cook for another minute or two.
Set your finished items onto a plate with a paper towl on it. This will absorb any unwanted extra oil.
A lid should be kept on the pan at all times. Oil can smoke a bit, and will splatter everywhere if you don't use a lid.
The spoon you use should be a serving spoon with drain holes in it. This will greatly reduce the likelihood of getting burned from splashes, and it will tend to leave more of your oil in the pan where it belongs.
Step 6: Enjoy!
Grab some barbeque sauce or honey, sit down, and enjoy!