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Deep Fried Winter Vegetables, healthy or not?

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January 31, 2012

Deep Fried Winter Vegetables, healthy or not?

 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.

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
250g (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

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,
Naturally sweet...,
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 pumpkin, 
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.
The End.

Need a printable recipe? Click here.

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At January 31, 2012 at 8:54 PM , Anonymous Meagan Ness said...

This looks great! I plan to make this in the future. But what you have there is a Parsnip and not a turnip. (My boyfriend calls them turnips too!)
I love parsnips. I make them into wine, which I didn't think would be delicious, but there you go.
Thanks for the great recipe!

At January 31, 2012 at 9:19 PM , Anonymous Norasaad700 said...

simple way^^Interestingly, turnip semi-islands. Vegetables in Korea Oddly shaped
Because of this man I loved Korea(JANG KEUN SUKღ)

At January 31, 2012 at 9:53 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Thanks for the correction, Meagan. I often get mixed up with their names. I fix the post.

At February 1, 2012 at 8:32 AM , Anonymous kitchenriffs said...

Deep-fried anything is great.  Done at the proper temperature, whatever you're frying actually absorbs much less fat than you'd think.  But I'm with you - even if it's "unhealthy," an occasional indulgence is well worth it.

At February 3, 2012 at 6:05 AM , Anonymous Fidelia Horns said...

That's looks good!

At February 4, 2012 at 9:00 AM , Anonymous Hyosun Ro said...

My childhood favorite! I bought a box of Korean sweet potatoes some time ago and have been thinking about making this. You're inspiring me now. 

At February 5, 2012 at 10:51 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

Thnaks, Hyosun. I miss more and more of Korean street food that I used to eat as a child.

At February 9, 2012 at 5:15 PM , Anonymous romanian.books said...

you make me very hungry! if you had time you can look at

At February 10, 2012 at 6:20 AM , Anonymous Mark and Gaz said...

On a cold lunchtime in the UK I now feel very hungry. If you would liek to chekc my blog too

At February 11, 2012 at 9:15 AM , Anonymous Darkchilda121 said...

I'm a huge food fan, so this is a biggie.

At February 27, 2012 at 2:22 AM , Anonymous Koala Leo said...

Wow.... that looks delicious! I might have to try this later this week! :P I should make a Korean banquet! Thank you for your lovely recipes! 


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