Wednesday, October 28, 2009


High fat content in foods is caused mostly during frying and absorption of oil depends on the characteristics of the products fried. There are many factors which influence oil absorption which include composition of the product, its physical characteristics, water content, temperature of frying, duration of frying etc. In its effort to reduce oil in fried products, the food industry often removes part of the surface oil on the fried product by spinning provided the product can withstand the centrifugal stress without affecting the texture. Low bulk density products with fragile texture are not candidates for conventional deoiling operation.

There are many products served by the restaurants prepared by coating with wheat flour and these products have a tendency to absorb too much oil giving the fried product a 'greasy' feeling. Here is a development that claims significant reduction in oil uptake when coated products are fried. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service has developed a rice-based batter that can absorb up to 50% less cooking oil than traditional batters as rice flour was found to be more resistant than wheat flour to oil absorption.

Many Indian snack foods are based on the frying process and the oil content can be as high as 45-55% in the prepared product. These include poori, vada, bonda, katchori, samosa, etc in eateries while there are hundreds of savory products like chips, extruded snacks, gattias, chivda, many namkeens etc which are in the market available packed or sold loose. If rice per se has the potential to reduce oil up take, why not incorporate it in these products to get the desired results? Probably some in-depth studies are can fully explore this possibility.

Oil uptake is influenced by many factors, especially when it comes to batter frying. Most important is the viscosity of the batter and incorporation of viscosity modifiers has been tried with good results. While technologically it is possible to achieve low oil absorption in fried products, the moot question is whether consumer will accept such low oil products from the sensory perspective. Extrusion cooking technology, one of the best in modern times, can be used to make a variety of products resembling many fried foods and in these products oil content can be as low as 5-10%. But in India extruded foods have not been able to get any firm foot hold, probably because of lesser oil content affecting the texture and taste significantly and this reflects the mindset of the consumers.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just came across your article. The USDA development you mention has been licensed by us at CrispTek LLC and we are in the market with a product called Choice Batter ( It is a great alternative for those who enjoy fried foods, but want to do it healthier.