Deep frying or deep fat frying is a cooking process whereby food is cooked by submerging it into hot oil usually in one of the many deep fat fryers that are on the market. In recent years this process has been maligned as a fast-track way of having a heart attack. You hear of soggy, fat drenched food and wild tales of deep-fried Mars Bars in Scotland. However is this fair? There are lots of cooking methods whereby if the proper methods are not followed you will end up with an unhealthy dish. Are deep fat fryers suffering this lack of awareness? This article hopes to provide some insight into the art of deep frying. The first thing to ask is how does deep fat frying actually work. The answer may actually surprise you. It is not actually oil that cooks the food. The role of the hot oil is to actually heat the water inside the food. The desired result is that as the water in the food heats, it steams the food from the inside out. So given that it is the water inside the food that does the cooking, why is deep fat frying considered so unhealthy? The reason for this is that unless you deep fry properly, the oil penetrates the food. However if you follow the proper procedures this does not occur and you are left with non-greasy, perfectly cooked food. So what makes the oil penetrate the food? It all has to do with the temperature of the oil. If the oil is hot enough, the water vapor escaping the food will keep the oil at bay. If the oil is too cool, the water vapor being released will not be powerful enough to keep the oil from penetrating the food. The other thing that can lead to oil penetration is time. If the food is overcooked, the food will be dry, no vapor will be released and the oil will start to seep in. The key to perfectly deep fat frying food is therefore about keeping the food submerged at exactly the correct temperature for exactly the correct time. These are variables that will differ on the type of food you are cooking but if you follow the recipe correctly you should have good results. So to summarize, is deep fat frying food as healthy as eating a salad? No. Is it anymore unhealthy then pan frying or stir frying? Not if you keep in mind the pointers on heat and time discussed above. When deep fat frying is done well - think beautifully light and crispy king prawn tempura, it is sublime and a million miles away from the soggy horrors dished up in late night holes in the wall.