Frying Chicken 101: How To Prevent Oil Splatters
Here's what to do to prevent "talsik".
The Koreans may be on to something more with their double fried chicken technique. You not only ensure the chicken is cooked through because it's fried twice, you also get a fabulously crunchy crust on each fried chicken piece you bite into. While it's the amazingly delicious soy-garlic sauce they introduced to the world that has people obsessed, the frying technique is a unique one that isn't used often.
However, crunchy skin is not the only benefit from doing this technique. If you're one of the many cooks who fear the dreaded oil splatters, you'll be thankful that this double fry technique will also minimize the big oil splatter you may frequently encounter while frying foods.
How? The low temperature of the oil during the initial cooking.
Here's why: in most frying recipes, you're commonly instructed to heat your oil to a certain temperature, usually around 350 to 375 degrees F (around 180 degrees C). Oil by itself doesn't splatter. In fact, even when heated to a high temperature, oil will more likely smoke than splatter. This superheated oil is not the only culprit of the dreaded "talsik". It also introduces water droplets present in the food you're cooking that causes the splatters. It's the water molecules rapidly evaporating and becoming steam and then rising and bursting just as quickly from the surface of the hot oil.
That's the bubbles you see when frying. These seemingly small steam "explosions" happen very rapidly upon contact with the superheated oil. It may seem like it's an "oil splatter" but in fact, it's a pocket of steam coated with layer of oil that is being ejected from the hot oil. It's when the water droplet is so big that causes the big oil splatter that many fear and dread happening.
If you've ever tested how hot a dry pan has become with a splash of water, you'll notice that the water "dances" on the surface of the pan. Imagine now that same "dance" submerged in hot oil, and you'll "see" the splatter that's just waiting to happen.
That's why frying instructions always remind you to blot your food dry as much as possible, especially those which have been marinated, before cooking in oil. That is also why the double fry chicken technique the Korean fried chicken introduced to the world is so revolutionary to many cooks. You first cook the chicken at a lower oil temperature and then fry it again at a higher temperature to achieve the golden browned and delicious crisp chicken we all know and love.
This two-step process not only cooks the chicken thoroughly, it also minimizes the big oil splatter that commonly happens.