Have you ever bitten into fried foods like fried chicken, tempura, or onion rings and ever noticed how some are just so much crispier than the other times you have eaten them? There is just something about the crispiness of foods that just seems to make it that much tastier! Because they taste so great, you have probably tried making your own deep-fried foods at home. You basically have all the ingredients prepared for the batter. However, after a deep frying session, just somehow, it may not have been as crispy as you had imagined.
In fact, the food you tried to fry may have ended up being more soggy if anything. What is going on here and what went wrong? Well, to make the batter of foods crispy, it helps to understand a little science first.
What Creates that Crispy Effect in Foods?
The crispiness from the foods that we enjoy as we bite into it comes from the air bubbles that are trapped within the batter mixture. Because the batter is so thick, the air bubbles cannot escape and maintains its infrastructure when you fry the food. In some cases, the bubble might expand and still be trapped. In a sense, the batter is almost quite hollow from the air bubbles!
Typically, the batter contains the basic ingredients like flour, water, and perhaps some seasoning. There isn’t quite anything that can form the bubbles unless there was probably already yeast inside the flour. But then again, you probably made the mixture really quick and have not allotted enough time for the yeast to start producing gas.
So What (Extra) Ingredient Can Help Produce Those Air Bubbles?
Knowing that the crispiness of the batter comes from air bubbles, what is something you can use that can help create it? Instead of using water, you can try replacing it with carbonated water!
Carbonated water is FILLED with A LOT of air bubbles. When you mix that liquid into the batter, there will definitely be a lot of air bubbles that becomes mixed with the batter. You are now ready to create your own extra crispy deep-fried foods!
What if You Don’t Have That Ingredient?
Carbonated water might not be the most readily accessible ingredient we have in our kitchen. We may have drinks like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, or similar, but that might not go so well with our batter mixture. But there are a few things you can try as a replacement.
- Baking soda
- This ingredient is something that can be added to the batter mixture. This will help create bubbles into the mix.
- The only thing is that you will need an acidic ingredient to be added. This will help to trigger that chemical reaction (since baking soda is a base).
- Acidic ingredients can include:
- Lemon juice
- Brown sugar
- Cream of tartar
- (Keep in mind that these are just a list of acidic ingredients. They might not necessarily go well with your batter mixture)
- Acidic ingredients can include:
- Baking powder
- Compared to baking soda, baking powder is in a sense more “fully packaged”. This means that it has both an acid AND a base component. When acids and bases mix, carbon dioxide gas gets produced. Remember that volcano eruption science experiment in elementary school? This reaction gets triggered when you add a liquid to baking powder.
Advantages of Baking Soda?
You might think that if baking powder is “fully packaged”, why even go for baking soda? Baking soda is sometimes more advantageous. How so? It can produce triple or quadruple the amount of Carbon Dioxide gas than baking powder. Therefore, for a certain amount of gas you need, you could be using either:
- 1 serving of baking soda or
- 3 to 4 servings of baking powder (in teaspoons, cups, boxes, etc.)
What if You Do Not Want to Work with Baking Soda/Powder?
The amount of baking soda and powder required varies depending on the type of food and the amount you are making. Unless you have an exact recipe list, you will have to be doing some guess work. It’s kind of a hassle to do some calculations and convert that into the serving size you want to make. Arithmetic is definitely not my best friend here. (Unless you like it of course!)
If you would rather stick to using carbonated water (but don’t have any in stock), there is another method. You can invest in a DrinkMate Machine, which will carbonate ANY drink you want.
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The DrinkMate Machine does not require any batteries or a plug/outlet. It is simply gas-powered. You will need some replacement gas cylinders. They contain about 60 L of gas and lasts up to about 2 weeks depending on your frequency of use. You might be thinking, do I have to keep on buying these expensive canisters??
The great thing about this brand is that there is an “Exchange Program“. This is where you just need to pay once for these canisters. You can return your empty canisters to the company for free refills. In other words, it is a canister refill program where you can pretty much refill forever for free.
Therefore, in addition to making carbonated water for your batter, you can also enjoy your batter product with something else. Something like a nice, icy cold carbonated drink of ANY choice!
Although deep-fried, crispy foods may not be the most healthy for you, it is definitely one that is good for the soul! Whenever you plan on making your own batter, you can make it extra crispy by using bubble formation science! You can do this with carbonated water, baking soda, or baking powder.
You can also make your own carbonated solution with the DrinkMate Machine. If you do get one, remember to purchase the gas cylinders! Now you know the secret to making crispy foods! Hope you enjoy your enjoy your crispy food products!
Are you also grilling for a barbecue event? Be sure to check out this tool to make the grilling session easier.
Do you need some desserts after your meal session? Click here to learn about which ones are actually healthy for you!
Did you enjoy this life hack on making extra crispy batter? Please leave a comment below!