Among all the delicious things that are deep-fried, you might be hard-pressed to find someone who actually enjoys their water in this manner.
There has been no dearth of wacky and bizarre trends that have gone viral over the last year. While a lot of them may have had to do with fashion, there is one fad in the culinary world that will make you say "What?" in a very confused tone. That fad is none other than deep-fried water. Yes, take a moment to let it sink in.
While a lot of delectable treats are deep-fried, this particular dish will make you wonder who even had the time of day to come up with something like this. According to Vice, deep-fried water is a fat-free and meat-free dish (as long as you don't count egg as meat). Unsurprisingly, it's also taste-free.
Deep fried water? Yes, it’s a thing – regardless of how weird it might be pic.twitter.com/5q2rYwD7Fe— TRT World (@trtworld) April 1, 2021
Are you ready to hear the whole story now? Well, the whole process is very simple. All you have to do is boil water and then add a chemical compound called calcium alginate which can turn the water into a jelly-like substance. This trend is believed to have been started by a YouTuber, chef, and fried food connoisseur, Jonathan Marcus, in 2016. To make his deep-fried water blobs, he coated the gelatinous water in flour, panko crumbs, and eggs before placing it in shimmering oil. And now, people have picked up on his method and putting their own twists on it.
Deep fried water.— Tanisha Porwal (@_tansssss) March 31, 2021
Whaatttt? Ughhhh noooo!
“First of all it’s surprising that you can turn water into an edible dish, and it’s a little bit comical to fry it after,” said James Orgill, a chemical engineer who runs The Action Labs channel on Youtube. “It seems ridiculous to say, even impossible.” Additionally, it sounds a bit dangerous given the reaction that water and hot oil produce. But Orgill took the risk and made his deep-fried water balls... correctly, too. “There were a lot of cooking channels doing it, but nobody seemed to be talking about the chemistry behind these edible polymers, which I used sodium alginate to make,” he said. While the process was done right, it's a stretch to say he enjoyed ingesting his creation. “It tasted really gross though. There’s no flavor, and it just tastes kind of salty and slimy.”
He isn't the only one to have taken on this challenge though. 18-year-old social media star and home cook, Eitan Bernath, who has over four million followers, also gave it a try. “Since I was a little kid, we’ve always had oil on the kitchen stove, just in case we needed to deep fry something. So when my followers told me about deep-fried water, at first I thought they were joking." Then he made a small adjustment to the recipe. “Most videos were using sodium alginate, but when we used that, it formed very delicate bubbles that would break when we tried to bread them," he said. "So, we tried using agar agar, which is a sort of vegan gelatin that is widely used in Asia."
And it was in this change that the influencer gained a bit of valuable knowledge. “So many Asian cuisines use agar, so it’s kind of like you’re learning about that food and culture when you try to make deep-fried water.” Despite the learning opportunity, his opinion of the deep-fried water remained the same as Origill's. “It tastes like jellyfish."
A lot of food items are great when they're deep-fried like ice-creams, mochi, fish fingers, french fries, jalapeno poppers, onion rings... the list goes on. But I don't think deep-fried water is ever going to be on that list.
Cover image source: YouTube | The Action Lab