Chai Pani Kale Fritters

At Chai Pani, which has locations in Decatur, Ga., and Asheville, N.C., chef Meherwan Irani prefers canola oil for its high smoke point and to ease concerns about allergies. The menu features such fried items as kale fritters.

The fine art of frying

Chefs balance performance and flavor to find the right oils and techniques for any ingredient

Americans love fried food, and eat a lot of it. The word “fried” appears on 73 percent of the more than 93,000 restaurant menus tracked by data analysis company Food Genius, and that doesn’t include descriptors that generally mean the food is fried, such as “crispy” or “crunchy.”

Fried food is trendy, too: Of all the menus that use the word “fried,” 44 percent are fast-casual restaurants, the fastest-growing segment in the in

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