I really like deep frying shrimp and veggies in tempura batter, but every time I put these goods in the deep frying pan they stick to the net that is in there to make the goods easy to put in and take out. It then fries around the bottom of the net and when I try to take the item out of the net it will tear off half the batter coating.

This is both incredibly messy and a bad for the look of the final product, which is now only half coated.

Is there any way to keep this from happening? I don't want to take out the net, because then the food would touch the heating coil, which will probably ruin the food and/or the fryer. I'd like to avoid frying in a regular pan because it uses huge amounts of oil and I can't easily reuse it, which makes it expensive and wasteful.

So ideally I'd like to know of a way to deep-fry tempura coated shrimp and veggies in a regular deep-fryer without sticking to the net.

(For reference and due to possible language issues, an image. I have one of these)

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    Have you considered using the net only to lift out the fried shrimp and veggies? I place only frozen (= not sticky) food in the basket, sticky stuff gets lowered into the fryer (carefully!) with the basket already in place. – Stephie May 14 '15 at 13:53
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    I've never really had this problem. Are you sure the oil is set to the right temperature, and that you're letting it heat up all the way? – RICK May 14 '15 at 13:53

What you are describing should not happen when using the right technique. I suspect this is happening because you are either lowering the battered food into the oil using the net, or your oil temperature is not hot enough to cook the batter before the food sinks to the bottom. The net is only for removing the food once it is cooked.

Battered food should be partially lowered gently into the oil by hand and then dropped the rest of the way once partially submerged, if you lower using the net the batter will get in the net and it will all cook together.

Temperature-wise your oil should be about 175C (350F), if it's much lower than that the batter won't crust up fast enough.

Also avoid crowding your fryer, if you put too much in at once your oil temperature will drop too much and it may end up forcing pieces in to the net too quickly.

  • I'm going to try this approach coming weekend and see if it helps, thanks. – Erik May 14 '15 at 15:40
  • I was going to forego upvoting because I agree with everything you said except that your suggested temperature was way too low compared to what I believed to be correct. So I checked and, to my surprise, The Professional chef says "heat the cooking fat to the proper temperature (generally 325 to 375 F/163 to 191 C)". Do you have a good source on frying temperatures? Is 175 the correct one for tempura? – rumtscho May 14 '15 at 15:45
  • @rumtscho that's 175°C in the post... – derobert May 14 '15 at 15:59
  • @derobert yes, I read that. Maybe I wasn't clear. I am right now reviding my old opinion of "all deep frying has to be done at 190 C" and asking for further pointers about which temperature (in the presumably correct 163 to 191 interval) is the best for which food, starting with asking why 175 is best for tempura as stated in this answer. – rumtscho May 14 '15 at 16:06
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    @rumtscho Tempura recipes give all a bunch of different temperatures, depends a lot on what you're battering. I've always thought of 350°F as a good first guess—it's in the middle of the normal frying range. I found tempura recipes from 325°F all the way up tp 400°F. Also, temperature control on a lot of deep fryers isn't that great... – derobert May 14 '15 at 16:22

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