Deep-fried foods (e.g., French fries, potato/veggie crisps) are popular among consumers. Recently, there has been an increased interest in the application of Pulsed Electric Fields (PEF) technology as a pretreatment of plant-based foods prior to deep-frying to improve quality (e.g., lower browning tendency and oil uptake) and reduce production costs (e.g., better water and energy efficiencies). However, the influence of a PEF pretreatment on the frying process and related chemical reactions for food materials is still not fully understood. PEF treatment of plant tissue causes structural modifications, which are likely to influence heat, mass and momentum transfers, as well as altering the rate of chemical reactions, during the frying process. Detailed insights into the frying process in terms of heat, mass (water and oil) and momentum transfers are outlined, in conjunction with the development of Maillard reaction and starch gelatinisation during frying. These changes occur during frying and consequently will impact on oil uptake, moisture content, colour, texture and the amount of contaminants in the fried foods, as well as the fried oil, and hence, the effects of PEF pretreatment on these quality properties of a variety of fried plant-based foods are summarised. Different mathematical models to potentially describe the influence of PEF on the frying process of plant-based foods and to predict the quality parameters of fried foods produced from PEF-treated plant materials are addressed.
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