Deep Fried Wine with a Champagne Batter

A few years back now I used to enjoy stopping over at at Canadian friend’s tiny run-down apartment in Yokohama. We’d stop off at the su-pa- to get some beers and a bottle or two of French wine and drink until the small hours of the morning, listening to North Korean organ music on the radio, and getting through a few topics like the Russian language and four wheel drifting on ice. My getting my greasy fried chicken hands all over one of his immaculate copies of Car Magazine sparked a discussion on all food being good if fried. This led to the laughable idea of fried wine. My regular blog reads have been abuzz with things about food and health so I’ve been inspired to turn a 2am dream into reality

Theory

If deep fried ice-cream can work, then so can this. I’d turn wine into jelly (the gelatinous jesus) and then cover it with batter and fry it. It was wine with beer batter, then it was beer with beer batter (which made more sense but wasn’t “the dream”), and then I thought that instead of beer for fizziness, I could use champagne.

Jelly

I’d made jellied treats before but never with Agar-Agar . Agar Agar is used in Asian food and,as it’s a seaweed, by vegetarians.

Used two cups of dry red wine, 6 tablespons of Agar Agar

Brought the wine to a boil, and then put in the agar agar and let it simmer for 20 minutes and then strained (clean the strainer quickly as it sets). Put the wine in the fridge to chill. It’s incredibly strong, I remember waiting for jelly to set as a kid, but this was set as soon as it reached fridge temperatures.

Intermission

Went off to Chuntney Mary’s Indian Restaurant on the corner of Hay and Rokeby. We were actually on the corner, outside – Subiaco was heaving, it seemed to be half price drinks night for jailbait. Food was great again – go the goat. Brought friends back to share in the experiment.

Batter

Just one egg, SR flour and a half bottle of champagne lightly beaten.

Cooking

Used corn oil for frying and brought it up to 180c. Process was quite simple, a teaspoon of wine jelly dipped in the batter and the fried until golden. Well recommended to have a lid handy, any contact by the jelly with the oil sets of a shower of hot oil.

Practice

Disappointing but promising, the batter was great but the dry red was just too harsh. Under the guidance of a Doctor and an Engineer, I reduced the quantity of jelly, and added two or three tablespoon of caster sugar to the batter. This helped a little but the wine was still the problem – something gentler perhaps.

Possibilities

I’ve heard dusting helps the batter stick, I could dust with icing sugar to increase the sweetness. Breadcrumbs might bulk up the batter and make it a greater proportion of the flavour. I could add sugar to the wine but that’d make it more like a wine gum. Bitter chocolate sauce?

Daniel McNeil – thumbprints sorry.

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12 comments

  1. Jeanne’s avatar

    OK, now I’m impressed. I am clearly but an amateur in the field of experimental cooking (for amateur read “lazy”!!) – oh mighty pioneer, we are not worthy!!

    What a fab idea. Maybe you could try a sweeter red – how about an Italian Dolcetto?
    http://www.cal-italia.org/wines_vines/dolcetto.html

    Would love to have tasted a morsel! I could have done tasting notes… :o)

  2. Anthony’s avatar

    Well it did take me 5-6 years to get from drawing board to reality, so I’m hardly Thomas Edison. The wine would help the wine I used is pretty rough (didn’t use my recent purchase). I was thinking very sweet and going a sauterne but the red’s more of a challenge. You’re right a sweeter red might strike the right balance. If you’d seen my friend’s face when he tried it, you mightn’t have been so keen to be the guinea pig – so to speak.

  3. Jeanne’s avatar

    Guinea pig. Hmm. I sense a return to our earlier hamster discussion!

  4. Anthony’s avatar

    but did you find the recipe?

  5. Anonymous’s avatar

    Anthony,

    Do you want to know another use for agar agar? Remember those little Petri dish in the science lab? The clear growth agent at the bottom of those dishes was indeed Agar Ager. Appetizing, no?

    cheers,
    Pim
    chezpim.typepad.com

  6. Anthony’s avatar

    Pim,

    Scrumdiddlydicious! And with gelatine being rendered down Black Beauty things don’t look good for those who like their liquids hard and their solids wobbly.

  7. flygirl’s avatar

    wow…that is …well, deep fried wine. I’m speechless.

    6 tblsp of agar agar? surely that’s a little too much :-) speaking of the lab, we use about 1% agar weight per volume to make a firm (but not too firm!) gel…1g/100ml of liqiud…

    flygirl, posting wherever agar is concerned…

  8. Anthony’s avatar

    6 “tablespons” of agar agar which is different to “tablespoons”. : )

    I’m pretty sure I was referring to the strips rather than the powder and probably got the mix from somewhere. The balance you’ve given me is gold and once again I defer to your jelliness.

  9. Ampersand Duck’s avatar

    Maybe try a White Shiraz? It would have a pink glow and be sweet enough to do justice to the batter.

  10. Pomax’s avatar

    just found this entry after having the deep-fried beer-battered beer though, but rather than getting the liquid content in a jelly form, I was thinking actual liquid state after frying. My idea was to freeze over the liquid using gentle annealing (something like 24 hours at -0.5C) so that it sets without destroying whatever character the original liquid has. This would be followed by two rounds of deepfrying – firstly the frozen liquid would be dusted and battered very lightly, then deep fried for no more than perhaps 15 seconds so that the batter form a shell. then it’s out of the oil, for a proper coating of thick batter, followed by deep frying for however long it takes the batter to crisp up and the frozen liquid to reliquify. The idea was that this would be the setup for a snack-and-drink item: when almost entirely thawed, the ball could be removed from the oil, dried, wrapped in fish fillet and rebattered and fried for a combination “battered fish with beer” consumable.

  11. Sam’s avatar

    Is there any way you can not boil the wine? You’ll lose a lot of the alcohol and it’ll probably contribute to the poor taste of the finished product.

    CowJam

  12. David’s avatar

    I just happened to run across this post.. I am a chef, my specialty is hors d’oeuvres. What a interesting idea.

    Have you tried Sangria and dust with vanilla sugar?

    Poached pear with red wine, cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper jelly. Just a thought.

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