Deep-frying is scary primarily because of the risk that you’ll suffer third-degree burns from spilled or splattered hot oil. You may also be deterred by the mess factor—so much oil, so many paper towels.
But my colleague Bryan Lowder has a recipe for deep-frying batter that will make you overcome your fears and hesitations, because it is easy, foolproof, and versatile. And you only need to go out of your way to buy one unconventional ingredient.
You can truly fry just about any ingredient in this batter—as you can see in the video above, it even works with tofu without getting messy or falling off—and you can vary it by adding herbs and spices. Here is the Sam Sifton recipe that introduced Bryan to the technique, and here is an explanation of how to reuse fry oil, which will make your life easier once you start deep-frying everything.