TODAY   |  April 02, 2013

The healthy way to fry food

Fried food is often said to be a staple of Southern cuisine, but some fear the calories and high cholesterol. Registered dietitian Norman King proves fried doesn’t have to mean unhealthy, cooking up a dinner of pan-fried pork.

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>>> this morning in "today's kitchen" southern fried food is what's for dinner. is there a way to vavor the taste without the fat and cholesterol?

"southern living: the way to fry, fresh fabulous recipes for the modern southern cook." i'm tired.

>> you shouldn't be. you should be hungry.

>> i am hungry now. it's not so much the food that's the villain, it's the way people prep it.

>> correct, it's all about the oil and what we wanted to explore in this book was actually trying to tell people how to balance out your plate to make those southern fried classics using the right, the correct temperatures and also processing.

>> so we're going to do pork chops .

>> correct, we're going to do southern fried pork chops . can you sprinkle those with cajun seasoning. if you don't have that, use paprika, salt, pepper. we'll make cornmeal, self-rising flour and more of the cajun seasoning to get the flavor on top of it and then we'll dredge this in this mixture and pan fry .

>> dredging you're coating it.

>> coating it. we want to develop the actual crust and when you're doing things that are lighter you want to make sure you have the crispiness of traditional heavily fried food . the fun thing about this we're only frying this in three tablespoons of fat. there's two tablespoons of olive oil . i'll add butter for flavor.

>> what about the temperature for oil?

>> immediate wmedium to medium high in pan fry . you don't want it to burn or splash before you want to preserve the flavor of your food. that's how do you it. we lay our pork chop in here, get a nice sizzle so you can get that going and this is what you'll have.

>> how long on each side do you do this?

>> eight minutes.

>> on each side?

>> yes, sir. when you're doing that at a medium heat you can take the time.

>> because it's higher it's going to burn.

>> that's a common mistake. that's one of norm's notes.

>> norm's notes.

>> exactly. so we wanted to show people how to do things lighter so we reduced the oil and also showing you how to plate it.

>> you'll get oil that will render out anyway from the pork chop .

>> correct. we have black-eyed pea salad, watercress, and a pepper jelly vinaigrette. you can serve some of the vinaigrette on the side and drizzle it over the salad.

>> nice.

>> it gives you a different sauce.

>> i heard an involuntary mmm from my stage manager, mark. how about for dessert?

>> for dessert we went a little bit more decadent, i hope you don't mind.

>> no.

>> i'm going to show you how to do a deep fried bananas foster . we got some firm, ripe bananas, just yellow, not brown spotted, not green. we have some baking mix, a little bit of cinnamon. can you throw that in there, raspberry wheat beer .

>> why raspberry wheat beer ?

>> it gives you a great, airy texture and it is just an amazing thing and it has a little bit of that raspberry flavor in there as well.

>> okay.

>> once this is all whisked up, i need to you drop in a few bananas, drop them into this batter.

>> all right.

>> dip them in and get them covered and then we're going to fry these at 350 degrees.

>> you don't want to put too many in there or the temperature will drop.

>> correct. we're doing a couple at a time. drop one in here.

>> how do you know when they're done?

>> these will be golden brown and a crisp airy shell.

>> something like this.

>> if you want to break it open and see what you have.

>> and a neat sauce you're making.

>> i went old school, used banana liquor, cognac and brown sugar . spoon it over the top and served it with ice cream and a little bit of fresh raspberry so it's kind of like a banana doughnut, if you will.

>> that's very nice. few berries.

>> big old scoop of ice cream at the top.

>> there we go.

>> hello, how are you?

>> right on time. right on time.

>> for anything fried and delicious looks good to me.

>> that is fantastic.

>> get in there, willie. come on.

>> get in there. you no he what, you should try it because these are really moist.

>> comes full circle .

>> the book is " southern living the way to fry" norman king thank you so much. way to go. we're back in a moment but first this is "today" on nbc.

>>> well, well, well, look who's