Since the first batch of Kentucky Fried Chicken was sold in the 1940s, people have been trying to recreate the dish in their home kitchens. The attempts are often unsuccessful since the moist and juicy flesh of fried chicken is accomplished by cooking it in a pressure fryer. For years, this appliance was only sold in commercial sizes for restaurant use but pressure fryers are now available for home use.
Pressure fryer method
Cooking food in a pressure fryer is much like preparing it in a traditional deep fryer. The appliance is large and deep to accommodate a large amount of oil. The chosen food is lowered into the oil in a basket or with tongs like a deep fryer, but instead of leaving the container open, a lid is firmly sealed on top during the frying process. This method cooks the food much more quickly so it retains its natural moisture on the inside while developing a crisp exterior.
In a conventional deep fryer, the steam of the cooking food escapes as it fries. However, in a pressure fryer, the steam builds up inside the food since the lid prevents its escape. Home cooks must take great care when removing the lid of the pressure fryer as well as the cooked food. Wear sturdy oven gloves when moving the food in and out of the fryer to prevent burns from splattering oil. Other safety precautions are outlined in manufacturer instruction manuals that come with the appliance.
Health and taste advantages
Pressure frying foods requires significantly less oil than preparing them in a traditional deep fryer. The reduced oil content is healthier, and less oil also makes the food taste better as the natural flavours are not masked by the taste of oil. Foods also retain their texture better due to the reduced cooking time and increased moisture retention.
If cooking poultry in a pressure fryer, dark meat takes longer to cook than white meat, so the latter should be added several minutes after the former. Carefully monitor the process as the pressure method significantly reduces the time needed for foods to cook. When the food is almost done, turn the unit off and let it finish cooking in the hot oil.
Pressure fryer history
When Colonel Harland Sanders first started frying chicken at his restaurant, he used a skillet. He soon became intrigued by a pressure cooker and its ability to cook foods so quickly. Colonel Sanders is credited with creating the pressure fryer in the late 1930s by using the basic design and structure of a pressure cooker and adapting it to be safely used to heat oil for frying.