Using the oven to 'fry' food

I make "fried"? turmeric chicken in the oven as well as "fried" spring rolls.

We make too little use of the oven, which is a shame, for it can be used for a variety of kitchen tasks.

Aside from baking and roasting, I do a lot of "frying" in the oven.

And so I make serondeng, a spiced shredded coconut dressing, traditionally fried in a wok, as well as hae bee hiam, spicy dried prawn floss, in the oven.

I just mix the uncooked ingredient with the spice paste, spray some oil and roast on low until it is beautifully browned.

I like to finish off stews there, too, as simmering is better controlled in the oven than on the hob.

And nothing beats roasted cauliflower or pumpkin, both of which turn exceedingly sweet after roasting.

There are a few tips when oven-frying: You need oil; which I apply both on the pan and on the items to be "fried".

This can be from a spray (Crisco and Pam are reliable brands) or brushed on.

You need to pre-heat the oven to sear the food, leaving it for 15 minutes before lowering the heat to cook the food through.

This means 200 deg C at first, to be turned down to 180 deg C or even 150 deg C for the remainder of the time.

I also keep aluminium foil on hand.

If everything seems to brown too quickly, I use it to cover the food so they do not burn.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2015, with the headline 'Using the oven to 'fry' food'. Subscribe