Beer: that filthy brown fizzy liquid that on first glance has no use other than helping people get drunk on the cheap.
It was created originally when water supplies were contaminated and unsafe to drink. Hops were added not to enhance flavour but as a preservative, to stop the beer from going off as quickly.
British teens grow up believing that drinking beer (rather than drinks that taste nicer) is in some way manly. The reality is however that drinking something that doesn't taste good just because everyone else is doing it doesn't make you manly at all; it makes you an idiot.
OK. Rant over. As it happens there have been occasions in the past when I have enjoyed a pint, peoples tastes do differ and I appreciate the skill of and craft of brewing. The only beer kept in our house however is used for cooking and to give to guests!
Being a fizzy liquid lager is useful in making batter. You can use carbonated water as an alternative, but the slight taste imparted by beer is a pleasant addition and makes the batter taste less like wallpaper paste.
- 150g Self raising flour
- 30g cornflour
- 250ml Lager
- Pinch of salt
It's better to make more than you need as it's cheap to make and easier to coat when you can fully submerse the food rather than try to paste batter on. Ensure the beer you use is vegan; despite popular misconception being made in Germany guarantees only gulliblity, not vegan suitability ;)
Sieve and mix the dry ingredients then add the beer in stages, until you have a semi-thick batter that easily coats the back of a spoon. If you you get any lumps use an immersion blender to remove them. The resulting liquid should be smooth and bubble:
Heat oil in your fryer to 190oc and coat the food you want to fry in self raising flour. This step is important, as it stops the batter from sticking to the food, allowing it to puff up and float in the fryer not stick to the bottom of the basket.
In this example I'm using mock chicken seiten chunks (link), torn into pieces roughly 1 inch cubed:
Fully coat the food you're going to fry in batter and gently drop each item into the hot oil, with few seconds between each to stop them from dropping the temperature of the oil too much. If they don't bob to the surface give them a little knock with a metal spoon. If there are any legs of batter hanging off the balls knock them off once the batter has started to crisp. Try not to overcrowd the fryer as it will cause the balls to stick together. Cook them in batches instead.
When the balls have turned golden brown remove the basket and give it a good shake over the oil, then dry with kitchen tissue and serve immediately. If cooking in batches then add all batches to the oil together at the end to heat through for a few seconds.
I used to lust after a veganised version of sweet and sour chicken from English Chinese takeaways. After almost 10 years of trying I've finally gotten there :)