In the last year, we have witnessed the most bizarre of food trends go viral during the pandemic. Chocolate Maggi, McDonald’s ice cream, strawberry on pizza, vegan chicken, Nutella biryani, Chywanprash ice cream or butter chai, one has seen or tried all the possible weird food combinations from obscure corners of the internet. Or so we thought!
Deep-fried water has recently jumped on the list of the weird food combination wagon taking over the trend. No, it’s not just a fancy name for boiled water. This trend first grabbed eyeballs in 2016 when a YouTuber named Jonathan Marcus coated the water in flour, egg, bread crumbs and fried 12 globules in peanut oil for an event called ‘The San Francisco Stupid Shit Nobody Needs And Terrible Ideas Hackathon.’ Five years later, YouTubers are picking up where Marcus left off and bringing the lost trend back.
YouTuber and chemical engineer James Orgill, who runs the channel The Action Lab, produced a video in which he tried deep-frying water in December 2020. To prepare the dish, he used a chemical compound called calcium alginate, a gelatin-like substance from aqueous calcium chloride and aqueous sodium alginate, which binds the water in a liquid membrane, keeping it in a solid-state.
While James got it right in the first attempt, it is a potentially dangerous activity as water and oil don’t mix together, hence, even a small leak from the water globule can create an explosive splash. In the video, he states about his attempt to make and eat edible fried water and on the absurdity of the sentence, he explains he’ll make an ‘edible water membrane’ first.
“Now this works totally well for those who aren’t looking to add a lot of calories to your diet,” he says and proceeds to make water balls, coats them in flour, egg, and bread crumbs and deep-fries it in hot oil.
In the video, he explains the science behind the recipe for his audience and describes the resultant dish as ‘raw jellyfish.’
In an interview with Vice, he shared being surprised that one can turn water into an edible dish, “It’s a little comical to fry it after.”Talking about its taste, he described it as “really gross. There’s no flavour, and it just tastes kind of salty and slimy.”