By Jim Boyce | I can’t help it. Every time I watch our deep-fried baijiu videos, I feel a deep-down need to post about them. The mention of those very words—deep-fried baijiu—tends to inspire looks of confusion, worry and even disgust. But experience shows a tasty treat awaits the adventurous.
Our tests date to 2015 when chef Dustin Merrett took over the Jing-A Taproom kitchen for a morning, went on a deep-frying binge that expanded to tequila and Bourbon, and had us buzzed by lunch. I made three videos to cover the main steps.
Drench cubes of sponge or angel’s food cake with booze. In this case, we started with Niulanshan, a light aroma baijiu that cost a mere 11 kuai (USD1.6) at the supermarket. My favorite baijiu that day was Xiaohutuxian as a tropical fruit character came through in the end: think a pineapple cake kind of smell.
Once those cubes are soaked, it’s time to heat things up. Slip the cubes into a hot fryer. The one we used was set at about 190 degrees: Dustin suggests cranking it to between 230 and 250 to get those cubes crispier outside and retain more booze inside. He fried them several minutes until the sides were golden brown.
The last step is to fancy up your baijiu cake. Dustin used powdered sugar, whipped cream, blueberries and mint, but there are plenty of other possibilities. It would be fun to try some jams, fruits like hawthorne and pomelo, maybe honey, and to test them against different styles of fried baijiu. And if you are curious as to how much alcohol is left, we were surprised at the potency of the cake: it had our heads spinning by lunch.
If you’re planning to try this, you might want to experiment with a baijiu from each of the sauce, strong and light aroma categories. And try a taste of each baijiu straight against the finished cake in which it was used.