How healthy is it to fry meatballs and what frying method should you use?
Simply, yes you can fry meatballs and you should! Not only to make sure they are properly cooked but for the great texture the method provides. But that does not make them healthy.
Frying meatballs is not a new method of cooking them but rather the traditional method.
Originating in Italy, it is custom for meatballs to be fried first and then the sauce is added after. This way the meatballs are properly cooked and you have all of your flavours combined.
However, fried food is not always the best or healthiest option and meatballs are no exception.
What frying methods are available?
Nowadays, there are ample frying techniques available, not just to a professional kitchen but also the domestic one.
Deep fat frying is the method that most people think of when frying is mentioned and is done by submerging the food into a pan of hot oil. Leaving to cook all the way through, you end up with crispy, golden brown results.
However, due to the huge amounts of fatty oils needed to produce the best deep fat fried results, you will find that this is the most unhealthy way to cook your food.
It is the fast food style of cooking which as we all know does not contribute to the most healthy of life styles.
But deep fat frying is nothte only frying option availabale. A healthier alternative is pan frying your food either in a frying pan or a wok for more Asian style dishes.
While pan frying does still use oil, it is no where near as much as deep fat frying and you do not have to submerge your food in it. Really the oil is only to make sure that your food does not stick to the pan.
Although, pan frying does not result in the same crispy coating that deep frying provides. That is why many people turn to air fryers.
The healthiest method of frying, air fryers use a heating device and an inbuilt fan to circulate hot air around your food until it is cooked.
Do no be fooled, just because no oil is used does not mean that you can not achieve the golden brown coating that makes fried food moresome. You are still able to achieve this just without the added fat, making it the healthiest frying option.
How should I fry my meatballs?
Out of the three frying methods available, it would be best to air fry your meatballs.
While it may not be the traditional method, air frying your meatballs will ensure that they are properly cooked through and prevents you from adding unnecessary fat to your meal.
You will still be able to achieve that crispy crunch on your first bite but you will be able to enjoy it a little bit more knowing that you have fried your meatballs in the healthiest way possible.
The best fried meatball recipe
Although meatballs are traditionally pan fried, there are still a whole load of great recipes available using an air fryer or a deep fat fryer. Here is a healthy, simple recipe for you to try:
You will need:
- 500 grams minced meat (this can be with a high fat % or low, whatever you like. For the healthiest option, chose a minced meat with less than 5% fat)
- 3 eggs
- 150 grams bread crumbs
- 1 slice of bread
- 400 grams plain flour (this is for the breading part so you may need more than this)
- oil to fry (however much your fryer takes)
- 50 milliliters milk
First you need to prep your fryer. Set your fryer to 180 degrees so that it is hot enough to fry your meatballs straight away.
Take your slice of bread and rip into cubes. Put these cubes into your milk to soak.
Now you prepare your minced meat. Place all of your meat into a ball and season however you wish.
I like to use a sprinkling of sweet paprika, a generous serving of parsley and salt and pepper to finish. Use your hands to make sure that the seasonings are all blended in with the meat.
Take your soaked bread cubes and one of the eggs and mix them into the minced meat like you did with your seasonings. Once everything is mixed in, set aside.
Put your flour and breadcrumbs into two seperate bowls. In the third, beat your two remainings eggs and place them next to the other bowls.
To shape your minced meat, take a walnut sized lump of meat and roll into a ball.
In order to coat your meatballs, first you need to dip the ball into the beaten egg, then the flour, back into the eggs and finally finish with the bread crumbs.
Set your coated meatball aside and repeat the process with the rest of the meat.
Once all of your meatballs are coated, take a few at a time and place them into your fryer. Be careful not to crowd them all together otherwise they will stick.
Depending on how big you have made the meat balls, the frying will take about 7 minutes or until a golden brown colour.
Once fried, place on a plate covered with a paper towel and cook the rest of your meatballs.
And there you have it, perfectly fried, delicious meatballs.