What's happens when you fry food?

18 March 2007

Question

What's actually happening when you fry food?

Answer

Its called the Maillard reaction after a French chemist Louis Camille Maillard. This is a chemical reaction between carbohydrate groups (that's sugars largely) and protein or amino-acids (those are the building blocks of proteins). It takes place at around 148 degrees and when these sugar groups lock on to the amino-acid groups they form these nice, brown caramelised substances which taste great - that's the nice aroma you get from cooking. As it happens at 148 degrees - that's 48 degrees hotter than water boils at - that's why you get a very different consistency and taste and texture to fried food compared to boiled.

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