Every winter I miss one particular snack that I used to get as a child in Korea.
Loaded with thinly sliced winter root vegetables, and coated with simple batter, then deep fried in hot oil…, this deep fried vegetables are perfect winter snack not only on the streets of Korea but in any household.
My dilemma is that, can this be considered as healthy?
Well, yes and no – depends on how you see it.
I would like to consider it to more of “yes” side.
Root vegetables are packed in nutrients and fiber. No comments on that.
But people have trained to think low-fat equals healthy, therefore deep frying is the enemy of healthy body and mind.
Our body actually needs good fat (from the right source of oil and fat) in our diet.
Olive oil, grape seed oil, flax seed oil, and canola oil offers good balanced omega-3 and omega-6 fats. These fats are heart healthy and reduce the risk of other diseases.
If you look at the U.S department Agriculture symbol of healthy diet (MyPyramid) chart, you will see a thin yellow strip among all the other colors. The yellow strip indicates healthy oil. People with 2,000 calorie diet have allowance of 2 tablespoon of oil daily.
Some research shows that deep frying method retains more antioxidant than pan fried in some vegetables.
Eating vegetable raw is perhaps the best way to obtain all the nutrients of nature, but since we are not rabbits, we can’t always do that.Here I am presenting a wonderful root vegetables (except pumpkin) that are common in winter season.
We mostly roast them to serve as side dish, but I am going to deep-fry to eat as snack.
Choosing the right oil to deep fry is critically important to get the best benefit.
Deep frying with good smoking point oil (at least 400ºF) such as canola, corn, safflower, sunflower, and peanut oils are great choice.Unlike the restaurant deep fried food, which often use the same rancid oil for multiple frying, these home-made fry will give a little peace of mind to consume great benefit of healthy oil. Remember that everything should be consumed in moderation, especially in deep fried food.
Here is how to:Grab a sharpest knife you own, or sharpen your knife to the ultimate sharp that your knife can get.
Pull your sleeves and be prepared to do some serious slicing. If you have a mandolin slicer, this is their glorious moment.
Slice potato thinly first and cut into matchsticks, about 1/8″ thick.
Same goes to his cousin, the sweet potato.
Rinse both potatoes in the water to remove their starch for a crisp texture.
It also prevent them from browning.
Drain and set aside.
Peel the parsnip and slice into matchsticks.
Same goes to pumpkin and carrot.
If you are a lucky mandolin slice owner, use the thinnest cut (1/8″) possible
Oh, don’t forget the onion. You absolutely need her in this recipe.
Put them all in a bowl, sprinkle some salt and toss well to mix them.
Here is the Korean deep-fry flour mix and cornstarch. Use the cake flour substitute if you can’t find the mix.
Get ice cold water.
Add the flour mix and cornstarch to the vegetables and add ice water.
Toss thoroughly to coat evenly. A tong is perfect tool for this job. Or use chopsticks.
You only need a little amount of batter for this recipe. They will work as a glue to hold the vegetables together.
Grab a small bunch of these vegetables with your tong.
Drop in hot oil. The oil should be 350ºF (170ºC) for the perfect deep fry.
It should only take about 1-2 minutes on each side to reach a golden perfect beauty.
If your cut is thicker, it will take longer of course.
Ooooh, lovely nest!
Taste it! If not seasoned well enough for you, then sprinkle a little kosher or sea salt on top.
Crunch and soft at the same time,
I couldn’t get my hands off from these golden beauties.
My 8 year old boy,
who doesn’t like french fries (which I don’t complain much),
nor sweet potato,
Carrot? No way!
He would rather skip the dessert for not eating parsnip
ate 5 of these nests…, with two thumbs up!
That says more than I need to say.
Deep Fried Winter Vegetables
- 1 medium potato sliced into 1/8" matchsticks
- 1 medium sweet potato sliced into 1/8" matchsticks
- 1 parsnip peeled and sliced into 1/8" matchsticks
- 1 carrot peeled and sliced into 1/8" matchsticks
- 250 g 9oz pumpkin, seeded and peeled, and sliced into 1/8" matchsticks
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup Korean deep-fry flour *
- 4 tablespoon cornstarch
- 5-6 tablespoon ice cold water
- pinch kosher salt
- canola oil or other choice of oil for deep frying
- * substitute: 2/3 cup cake flour + 1/8 tsp baking powder + 1/8 tsp onion powder
- Combine all the vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and mix well.
- Add the flour, cornstarch, and ice water, toss with a tong or chopsticks to coat evenly. Adjust amount of water for the batter to get slightly wet and vegetables stick together.
- Heat oil to 350ºF (175ºC).
- Grab a small bunch of vegetables with a tong or chopsticks and drop in the hot oil.
- Fry for about 1-2 minutes on each side or until it gets golden. It might take longer if your cut is thicker. Transfer them to a wire rack to rest.
- Sprinkle more salt on top if you desire. Serve immediately.