Health & Wellbeing

Radiant fryer keeps the flavor but cuts the fat

Radiant fryer keeps the flavor...
The radiant fryer is a prototype device that simulates the deep-frying process, but doesn't add any fat to the food
The radiant fryer is a prototype device that simulates the deep-frying process, but doesn't add any fat to the food
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Prof. Kevin M. Keener with the radiant fryer
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Prof. Kevin M. Keener with the radiant fryer
The radiant fryer is a prototype device that simulates the deep-frying process, but doesn't add any fat to the food
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The radiant fryer is a prototype device that simulates the deep-frying process, but doesn't add any fat to the food

We know how it is. You can’t help but like the taste of fried food, but ... darn it, the stuff just isn’t good for you. Well, you may soon be able to eat your fried food without quite so many worries. A food scientist at Indiana’s Purdue University has created a “radiant fryer” that results in fried food with all the flavor, but up to half the fat and fewer calories than would otherwise be present.

Developed by Prof. Kevin M. Keener, the device uses radiant energy to cook pre-formed items such as hamburger patties. Elements are located on either side of a conveyor belt, which the food travels along as it gets cooked.

The idea is that the fryer would be used primarily to finish cooking frozen food products that have already been partially cooked by the supplier – this is usually the case with things like pre-made patties. Ordinarily, however, that finishing-off process is accomplished by immersing the foods in hot oil, in a deep fryer.

Prof. Kevin M. Keener with the radiant fryer
Prof. Kevin M. Keener with the radiant fryer

Because the radiant fryer uses no oil, this means that no additional fat is added to the food. There’s also less mess to clean up, less chance of cooks getting burned, plus cooking times could be up to 30 percent faster. Additionally, Keener points out, less oil in the food means that more of its own flavors should be able to be tasted. If frozen foods were made specifically to be prepared in the radiant fryer, he added, the fat content and calories could likely be reduced even further.

Keener thinks the fryer could be particularly applicable to school cafeterias, and the university is now looking into licensing the technology.

“Kids are familiar with fast food, and they consume a lot of it each year,” he said. “The radiant fryer cooks food in a way that simulates fried fast foods, but with fewer calories and fat. Using the radiant fryer could satisfy kids who crave fast food.”

More information is available in the video below.

Philips Electronics, incidentally, has also taken a stab at no-fat frying with its hot air-based Airfryer.

Source: Purdue University

Purdue-developed technology fries food with less oil, more flavor

15 comments
thk
My China made dollar fan-assisted broiler works the same way.
Randolph Directo
Looks like a broiler with vertical heating elements, but there would be less acrylamides and toxic isomers due to overheating a vat of fat; it's also 1000 times healthier than killing your essential nutrients in a microwave oven. (Real Chefs don't use microwaves.) My only concern is the "specially prepared frozen foods" intended for this radiant fryer.
Alien
Isn't this merely a process of vertical grilling? OK, so it enables both sides of an item to be cooked simultaneously and hence in half the time but it hardly seems worthy of professorial research.
piperTom
Fryer? It's a broiler. Using "fry" in the name is a sales gimmick.
DemonDuck
I've started microwaving my burgers. Just put the patty -- frozen or unfrozen -- in a glass bowl salt and zap for a few minutes. No fat except what's in the meat. It browns and has acceptable flavor. No carcinogens from overheating the meat. Nothing tastes as good as a flame grilled burger but microwaving works if you just want food to eat.
Tony Smale
I thought the use of oil was the immersion in a great conductor of heat... the same batch of deep fried fries takes 10-15x as long to cook in a convection oven. How fast is this in comparison to deep frying? I have no speakers so I don't know if this is answered in the vid.
SeekMocha
How is this new? The Char-Broil company makes two electric and one propane oil-less turkey "fryers". Easily purchased (this time of year) at Home Depot.
Bill Bennett
it is a broiler, I just watched two in action at The Gyros House Mediterranean Grille,, burp, they use http://www.webstaurantstore.com/suffixitem/604G200/NAT.html?utm_source=Shopping.com&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Shopping.com+Campaign
graybar11
@ Randolph, I understand your first statement about overheating, but most of the evidence that I have seen indicates that microwaving is superior to other cooking methods as far as preserving nutrients.
WhyEyeWine
Yes radiant heat, as in infrared, just like the Charbroil products that I'll be using on Thursday. Broiling has long been the mysterious, healthier, cousin of frying or grilling. Hey, it looks like a big toaster. Works like one too. Unfortunately, no hot oil to fend of the Barbarians or Mongolians. But at least I have speakers.