Rice Flour a Growing Coating for Fried Foods

Jan 25, 2005

An ongoing search for new, rice-based products has led to flours to use in coatings for deep-fried foods. This is very good news for consumers because rice-based batters have been found to absorb about 55 percent less fat than wheat-based batters during frying and to contain 60 percent less acrylamide. A chemical found in many cooked foods, acrylamide forms in the presence of high temperatures and specific interactions between protein components and carbohydrates. Some research has shown that excessive levels of the chemical may be of some concern, but there are as yet no guidelines on safe levels.

The new, 100-percent rice batter is also gluten-free, making it especially appealing to people with celiac disease, which is characterized by sensitivity to gluten.

Frederick F. Shih, USDA-ARS Food Processing and Sensory Quality Research Unit, New Orleans, La.; phone (504) 286-4354.