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

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