Foodies and cooking experts can’t decide on one thing. Which is the better method of preparing a meal, grilling or frying?
Grilling involves cooking over direct heat, usually over an open flame or a grill, whereas frying involves submerging the item in a base; usually, the base is fat of some sort such as oil, lard, butter or ghee.
Both of these methods affect the final dish in taste, flavour, smell and nutrition. But which one is the best for modern foodies?
Which one’s healthier?
As much as we try and say health doesn’t matter, the truth is we’re all secretly planning to get a Fitbit or a pair of jogging shoes. To prevent cholesterol clogging up your blood vessels.
It’s no secret that fried food absorbs a ton of fat - making it extremely bad for your heart. On the other hand, grilling ensures most of the fat drips off, thereby reducing the fat content.
Arko Ahmed, the owner of the clothing line SYAN, explains why he prefers grilled food.
“The food isn’t soaked in oil the way fried food is. You get to save oil, too, as you don’t need so much oil to grill a piece of meat.”
That golden crust of a fried samosa? You’re making your digestive system’s job 10 times harder by having a bucket load of that.
On the flip side, you’ll notice that most grilled food has a greater nutritional value because of all the vitamins and minerals retained within vegetables and proteins.
Which one’s easier to learn?
Most home cooks will say frying. Grilling may seem intimidating to beginners. Frying seems dangerous at first, especially deep frying.
Firstly, because grilling is a little bit more difficult in terms of the tools required, it isn’t cost-effective either - most home cooks don’t have access to proper grills that allow the meat or veggies to be well-rested. Secondly, even if you do have the equipment on hand, the process of setting up can be daunting.
Which one’s tastier?
This is where opinions become polarised. Most people would pick frying. Samin Rahman, an aspiring content creator who helps people with foreign university applications, argues that fried food tastes better than grilled food.
But proponents of grilled food will disagree for a number of reasons. Arko, for instance, would agree with what a current BRAC student had to say about grilled food,
“I like the smoky flavour grilled food offers. Plus, in fried food, the spices are just layered on top of the crust. You can feel the spices seeping into meats very well when it’s grilled.”
There are other reasons why fried food tastes better, though. Fried food has versatility in its technique - flash-frying, deep-frying, stir-frying and pan-frying are all vastly different methods of frying and affect the taste of your finished dish significantly. Grilled food doesn’t offer that broad horizon of flavour differences unless you change the wood chips being used in the fire.
Fried food can also vary in texture depending on what kind of batter you use - a buttermilk batter has a striking contrast with a tempura batter. The number of fries also have an impact on what your taste buds pick up.
All in all, I’d still pick fried food for a beginner like me who doesn’t want any more fuss when it comes to cooking and just wants to enjoy homemade food. If you’re a new parent struggling to make your child eat fish, fried food may be the way to go. However, if you’re planning to become a weightlifter in the future, you might want to switch to grilled food.
It really depends on your priorities but in the end, what matters is mastering the technique so that you and your loved ones can enjoy whatever they eat.