Table of Contents
- 5 Basic Batters for Deep Fried Fish and Seafood
- Flour and Water Batter
- Baking Powder Batter
- Beer Batter
- Egg White Batter
- Yeast Batter
- The secret of the bubbles
- Best to rest?
- Order of ceremonies
- The big chill
- Added extras
- Perfect battered fish
- Deep Fry Secrets for Heavenly Fried Fish
- How to Deep Fry Fish on the Stovetop
- The Smoke Point
- The Flavor
- The Cost
- Now, let’s fry some chicken:
- Top tip for making Beer battered fish
- Latest Recipes
- Explore More
5 Basic Batters for Deep Fried Fish and Seafood
Nothing beats the crispy crunch and delicate flavor of batter-fried fish and seafood. While the simplest coating for fried fish is simple seasoned flour, batters form a protective coating that seals in flavor and has a pleasing texture.
For those of you with a fat phobia, properly deep fried foods should never be greasy. Just make sure to deep fry at a temperature of 365 to 370°F (use a thermometer!). Fry only in small batches to avoid having too much food drop the temperature of the oil too far. And let the oil come back to heat before frying the next batch. With the proper oil temperature, the batter will seal immediately and your dinner will only absorb a minimal amount of oil.
Take care not to overcook foods coated in a batter. The coating should just turn a nice golden color. Any darker and you risk burning the batter and turning it bitter.
Drain the cooked fish or seafood on paper towels to soak up that last little bit of unwanted calories.
Below are five basic batters that work well with fish and seafood. Experiment with the different types. Each one produces a slightly different final result. The measurements of flour and liquid are rough guides. You may have to add more or less of each to get the results you want.
You could also substitute 1/4 cup of cornstarch for 1/4 cup of the flour to get even crispier results. But don’t use cornstarch with the yeast batter. It doesn’t have the gluten needed to help it rise.
Flour and Water Batter
The simplest of all batters, this easy mix is best suited to thin fish fillets with a delicate flavor, like sole or pollock.
Beat 1 cup of flour and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt into 2 cups of water. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes before using.
Baking Powder Batter
When you want a crunchy crust — and you want it now — baking powder comes to the rescue. Don’t let this batter sit too long after you make it, or it will lose its leavening punch.
Stir 3/4 cup flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt together in a large bowl. Whisk in 1 cup of water until smooth. Use immediately.
Beer batters have great crunch and great flavor. Use your favorite ale or lager and toss back any leftover. Beer batter is perfect for fish and chips. You can make a non-alcoholic version with club soda or mineral water.
Add 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a large bowl. Gently whisk in 1 cup of beer until smooth. Use immediately.
Egg White Batter
Beaten egg whites give this batter its leavening power as well as its structural integrity. It forms fluffy, tender pouches around the fish or seafood.
Mix 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt with 1 cup of cold water until smooth. Set aside and let rest for at least 30 minutes. Just before you are ready to deep fry, beat 3 egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until they form medium peaks. Gently fold the whites into the flour-water mix. Use immediately.
This batter yields a complex, breadlike flavor and a thick, crunchy crust.
Stir 1 teaspoon of active dry yeast into 3/4 cup of warm (110°F) water. Set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup flour until smooth, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise. The batter will be ready to use in about an hour, or when the batter has doubled in size.
As I’ve admitted before in this column, I didn’t taste fish and chips proper (by which I mean not involving the word fingers) until tragically late in life, in part because of a shameful childish antipathy towards things with fins, but mostly because I’m embarrassingly middle class (coq au vin, yes. Fried stuff, no.)
On my first foray into the glorious fatty fug of the chippie, I ordered what was described as a fishcake, expecting the usual apologetic puck of potato. What appeared, after the mysterious plate of bread and butter and the obligatory pot of tea, was a petrified seamonster the size of a curling stone and standing, self-supporting, on legs of solid batter. Cracking its golden shell was an epiphany of the very sweetest kind.
The cake proved a mere gateway drug: drunk on the joy of dripping, I rapidly graduated to the haddock, when it dawned on me that, with fish and chips, the fish, if fresh and well-cooked, is largely irrelevant, a mere supporting actor to the star of the show, its crispy coating. And boy have I been making up for lost time. I’ve eaten in chippies from Stonehaven to St Ives, Dun Laoghaire to Dalston, I’ve tried frying every sort of sustainable fish Hugh can chuck at me, but I’ve never mastered the secret of proper professional batter.
The secret of the bubbles
Whether you prefer pollock or gurnard (or a strictly sustainably caught slab of cod), with the skin on or off, everyone agrees that good batter should be light and crisp, which means getting some air into the mixture. There are two principal methods for doing so: adding a raising agent, such as baking powder or yeast, or making up the batter with a carbonated liquid, such as sparkling water or beer.
Rick Stein recipe battered fish. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for the Guardian
Rick Stein, who, as proprietor of two chippies, ought to know what he’s talking about, uses baking powder – a hefty 3½tsp to 240g of flour, opting for ice-cold water instead of anything bubbly in his batter. It’s lovely and crisp, but quite solid, and lacks much volume. Conversely, The River Cottage Fish Book uses plain flour and beer, which gives a similarly crunchy, but rather dense and dry result, as if the batter might have been a little bit on the thick side. (It has a much better flavour than Mr Stein’s, however: the lager lends a nice, slightly citric yeastiness which works brilliantly with the fish.)
Gary Rhodes is a firm advocate of thick batter, writing in Rhodes Around Britain that the only secret to great fried fish is to “make sure the batter is very thick, almost too thick” so as the fish cooks, it soufflés around it, keeping it light and crisp. “If it’s too thin, it will stick to the fish and become heavy”. He goes for self-raising flour (which will contain a far smaller ratio of baking powder to flour), slaked with lager. The texture of his batter is much lighter – in fact, it’s bubbled up in a way that makes my heart sing, and the reaction around the table is considerably more positive.
Trish Hilferty recipe battered fish. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for the Guardian
Gastropub legend Trish Hilferty, writing in Lobster & Chips, her celebration of the magical union of fish and potato, uses fresh yeast for her traditional beer batter, as well as the eponymous beer. It must rest for at least an hour before use, by which time it’s risen obligingly, like an over-eager bread dough.
The batter has a quite astounding billowy texture, and a good crispness, but it seems to have soaked up more of the oil than the others, and we crunch thoughtfully, trying to put our finger on the flavour. Eventually, Anna hits the nail on the head with prawn toast: it does indeed have a slight yeasty, bready flavour which, coupled with the oil, is quite different from its rivals.
Like Rick Stein, Simon Hopkinson also does without a raising agent in his recipe, in Roast Chicken and Other Stories, which he claims “retains its crispness like no other”, a fact he attributes to the proportion of potato flour (a quarter as much as plain flour) in the recipe, rather than the half pint of beer.
Simon Hopkinson recipe battered fish. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for the Guardian
I’m excited about the potato flour, which seems just the sort of thing to constitute a trade secret, but disappointed by the result, which is runny and oddly grainy. The taste team, who are flagging by this point, push it round their plates disconsolately.
Best to rest?
River Cottage recipe battered fish. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for the Guardian
River Cottage, Trish and Simon Hopkinson insist on resting their batter before use, for up to a couple of hours – understandably in Trish’s case, as the yeast has to have time to get to work, yet they have the heaviest, densest batters. Logic suggests that effervescence decreases over time, which is why Heston Blumenthal stores his batter in a soda siphon.
Allowing a Yorkshire pudding to stand before baking is meant to help the flour absorb the liquid, but here it just seems counterintuitive: we’re looking for rise, not moistness.
Order of ceremonies
Gary Rhodes recipe battered fish, pre-floured (left), and not pre-floured. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for the Guardian
Gary says to flour the fish first, then dip it in the batter, as does Simon: but if your batter is thick enough, this shouldn’t be necessary – in fact, when I try it with Rhodes’ recipe, it gives a slightly soggy, thick result that finds favour only with Alex, who seems to have a slightly perverted taste in fried fish.
Indeed, Simon’s batter is so thin the extra flour is necessary to keep anything on the fish, but it gives an oddly textured, crumby look and taste.
The big chill
A tip from Matthew Silk, co-owner of 149 in Bridlington, current holder of the Fish & Chip Shop of the Year title and the brave man who let Jay Rayner loose behind the fryers, is that batter has to be “seriously cold, say 6C, so that when it hits the fat at 185C the reaction happens.” This fits with Rick Stein’s ice-cold water. I try Gary Rhodes’ recipe with cold beer and chilled flour, and get an even better result: it’s almost ethereally light. Just the thing to douse in vinegar and serve with mushy peas.
Adding an egg yolk or milk to the batter, as Simon does, just gives the batter an over-assertive flavour that seems “more about the batter than the fish”. Beer is as far as I’m prepared to go down that route. And, perhaps it’s just our imaginations, but the potato flour puts me in mind of French Fries. The kind that come in Worcester Sauce flavour.
I also, for the purposes of keeping a roof over my head (flatmates tend to prefer their washing not to stink of sirloin, in my experience), fry most of the above in groundnut oil, but, having written the final recipe, I can’t resist giving it a try with my old favourite, beef dripping. It’s absolutely glorious – no real difference in texture, but the rich flavour is far superior. Temperature wise, 195C, as recommended by Trish Hilferty for smaller fillets, browns them too fast for my taste, but 160C, as Rick Stein suggests, leaves them slightly flabby. 185C, like the fryers in 149, is perfect.
Perfect battered fish
Felicity’s perfect battered fish. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for the Guardian
Proper fried fish is a true British art form – and needs little in the way of fancy embellishments. Beer and raising agents, for flavour and volume, and good hot fat are all you need for pure, unadulterated happiness. (Oh, and a piece of fresh fish, of course. But that’s almost by the by.)
Dripping or oil, for frying
400g plain flour, put in the freezer for 15 minutes before using
3tsp baking powder
550ml very cold beer
4 pieces of sustainable white fish (I used pollock)
1. Heat the fat in a deep-fat fryer or chip pan to 185C. Whisk the baking powder into the chilled flour, along with ½ tsp salt, and then quickly whisk in the cold beer until you have a thick paste. This needs to be done just before you cook the fish.
2. Position the bowl next to the fryer or pan. Have a plate lined with kitchen paper ready. Dip your fish into the batter and then carefully lower it into the hot fat, and agitate the frying basket to prevent the fish sticking to it. This will also give the batter a more interesting texture. Do this one or two pieces at a time: don’t overcrowd the fryer.
3. Cook the fish for about 4–6 minutes, depending on size, keeping a watchful eye on it; it should be crisp and golden. Lift out of the fat and drain on kitchen paper then serve immediately.
Is battered fish an art best left to the professionals, or can you beat the efforts of your local chippie? Which recipe do you use, and what fish do you honour with it? And can anyone suggest a good recipe for proper mushy peas?
Deep Fry Secrets for Heavenly Fried Fish
The Lenten season began last Wednesday bringing with it a wave of seasonal fish frys. Over the next month tons of fish will be fried and sold at local churches and community centers. Contributing to that tonnage is the weekly fish fry at in Fenton.
One may ask why the frenzy over church fish frys? Beyond the price and community support it’s simple, the fish tastes great because it’s fried right.
Deep fat frying is a cooking technique anyone can learn. Just remember these few tips and you too can become a master of the deep fryer. First, don’t over heat the oil. If the oil begins to smoke it’s too hot and a sign that the oil is breaking down, which affects the flavor of the food. Optimum cooking temperature for fish is about 375 – 380 degrees.
Next, fry in small batches. They are easier to control while large batches can lower oil temperatures preventing perfect frying. Also, have on hand the right tools to place fish in and out of oil such as long handled tongs, slotted spoons or a fry basket. When using these tools dip them in the hot oil first before using, which prevents food from sticking to them.
Fish fries fast. As a rule when breaded fish has browned to a golden color it’s done. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Keep fish warm by placing in a single layer, on a rack placed on a baking sheet in a 275-degree oven.
St Paul’s fish fry opens at 3:30 p.m. each Friday and will run through Good Friday. St. Anthony of Padua Parish, in High Ridge also has scheduled a fish fry for every Friday during Lent. If you can’t make it out to St Paul’s or or St. Anthony’s or any other fish fry before Lent ends consider staging your own fish fry using the following recipes from Pushcarts & Stalls: The Soulard Market History Cookbook. Both are retro recipes inspired by the church ladies (and men) who keep the fish frying.
FISH FRY JACKS
- 4 whole, skinless jack salmons (whiting)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 cup white cornmeal
- 1/2 cup flour
- salt and red pepper to taste
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- oil for frying
- 3/4 cup bottled barbecue sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Place jack salmon in a shallow dish. Pour milk over fish, add lemon slices; cover and chill for an hour. Mix together the cornmeal and flour and place in a shallow dish. Remove fish from milk, season with salt and red pepper; set aside. Beat together the egg and 1/4 cup milk; dip fish in egg mixture, then roll into cornmeal mixture. Using a deep fryer or skillet, set at 375 degrees or medium high, deep fry fish in hot oil until golden brown. This takes about 5-8 minutes. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels. Heat together barbecue and worcestershire sauces. Serve warm red sauce with fish. Makes 2 – 4 servings, depending on the size of the jacks.
CHURCH LADY SPAGHETTI
- 2 16-ounce cans tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon Italian spice blend
- 1 pound thin spaghetti, cooked and drained
In a large saucepan heat together the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Add in garlic and Italian spices, bring to the boiling point, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Pour sauce over cooked spaghetti and toss. Serve with Parmesan cheese. Makes 6 – 8 side servings.
How to Deep Fry Fish on the Stovetop
Getting a taste of deep fried fish throughout our childhoods has turned many of us into seafood lovers—and if you’re not a seafood lover, chances are you at least dig a golden crisp fillet of beer-battered haddock or crunchy shrimp slathered in tangy seafood sauce. But—is it safe to deep fry fish at home on your stovetop?
Up until a few days ago, I’d never done it. Something about having a vat of blistering oil on my stovetop made me feel uneasy, but it was something I was going to have to get over eventually. After all, could I be a trusted pescetarian-focused blogger without a solid fish and chips recipe? (No.)
I’m happy to report that the process isn’t as terrifying as I imagined, but knowing what you’re doing and being safe is key.
Here’s how to deep fry fish on your stovetop.
- An Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven OR deep saucepan OR specialty wok
- Oil with a high smoke point (Peanut oil, vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, or canola oil, to name a few.)
- A deep-fat thermometer OR candy thermometer
- A solid stainless steel strainer/skimmer OR large slotted spoon
How to deep fry.
- When deep frying, you want to use a cooking oil that has a high smoke point of 400° F or higher. Fill your vessel no more than 2/3 of the way with oil. You really only want enough to submerge your food.
- Heat the oil slowly over moderate heat until the oil reaches 375° F (keep a close eye on it with the help of your thermometer).
- While your oil is coming to temperature, remove your fish from the fridge, throughly pat it dry, and season with salt and pepper. Bringing fish to room temperature results in an even cook, and patting it dry removes excess moisture. Water and oil don’t mix, and water and piping hot oil can create some kind of flaming hell.
- Once your oil reaches temperature, dredge your fillets in the batter and carefully place them into the fryer one by one. Don’t crowd the pot—cook one or two at a time.
- Cooking time will vary, depending on the thickness of your fillets. Plan to let them cook for about 2-4 minutes. The internal temperature of your fish should be 145° F when ready.
- Once the fish is cooked and the batter has turned into a golden crisp, carefully remove the fillets from the oil with your skimmer and place on a cooling rack or plate lined with paper towels to rid of excess oil.
Precautions and things to have handy.
- Clear the stovetop area of any flammable or loose items; have the lid to your vessel nearby, as well as some baking soda. It may seem extreme to have the baking soda out and ready, but you’re better safe than sorry.
- Never leave the oil unattended—not even for a moment.
- Do not overheat your oil. If the oil starts to smoke, the temperature is getting too high and you need to turn the stove off immediately in order to prevent a grease fire from igniting.
- Don’t overcrowd your deep fryer.
- Don’t splash water near hot oil and ensure any utensils you’re using are free of water beads.
If a grease fire occurs.
- Turn the stove off immediately.
- Place the vessel lid over the vessel to block oxygen and attempt to put the fire out. (You may want to do this with oven mitts on if they’re accessible to prevent burning your arms).
- Dump baking soda over any open flames to try and extinguish them. Do NOT throw water at a grease fire.
- You can also use damp (not wet) tea towels to try and put out flames.
- Don’t feel as though you’re being dramatic if you call 911. This isn’t a situation to wait out.
Do you have any helpful deep frying tips? Leave them in the comments below!
Here are some other useful ways to cook your fish:
- How to Grill Fish on a Cedar Plank
- How to Cook Fish in Parchment Paper
- How to Grill Fish in a Grilling Basket
Beer-battered Fried Haddock
I’ll never forget my first attempt at deep-frying calamari many years ago. My oil was way too hot, and I had neglected to thoroughly dry out the calamari before coating it. When I fired it into the pot, it immediately began to sputter, sizzle, and pop. In short order, hot oil was exploding from my stovetop like fireworks on the Fourth of July.
The first blistering burn was delivered to the top of my hand as I reached to turn down the burner. The second blob of burning oil landed on my forearm. By this point, the pot resembled a mini-volcano spewing molten peanut oil all over the kitchen.
The third and final burn would be the worst. A glob of hot oil rocketed out of the pot and delivered a direct hit to my left cheek, just below my eyeball. It hurt like the dickens.
The next day at work, I had to repeatedly explain the dime-sized red burn that now decorated my face. People seemed to think it was funny that the squid got its final revenge. But I wasn’t laughing. It was a severe burn, which left a mean scar that remained on my face for several years, serving as a constant reminder that I was not good at frying things.
It wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I truly got a handle on the fine art of deep-frying. I purchased an electric deep-fryer, and it was a game-changer.
Fried fish gone horribly wrong. These greasy flounder fillets were pan fried in a cast iron skillet, resulting in uneven cooking. The parts of the fish in the center of the pan were overcooked, and the pieces on the edge of the pan were undercooked. This resulted in the breading absorbing a lot of oil, causing it to flake off. Note the amount of oil absorbed by the paper towels. If you want perfectly crispy fried fish, using an electric-frying pan is the way to go.
Up until that point, I was pan-frying my fish in a cast-iron skillet, and the result was greasy, overdone fillets, from which the coating usually fell off. Then, one night I had an enlightening experience. I was watching Alton Brown’s cooking show on TV, and he made a very convincing argument that deep-frying was the way to go, and if done properly, it is actually healthier than pan-frying most foods.
When you deep-fry something, you immerse it in very hot oil. For the first few minutes, very little oil penetrates into the food because moisture is escaping. As long as moisture is flowing outward, oil will not flow in.
When the bubbling subsides, it’s time to remove your fish from the pot.
When pan-frying, on the other hand, you cook the fish one side at a time. Once the first side is browned and you flip it over, the cooked side will begin absorbing oil.
Over the years, deep-fried foods have gotten a bad rap and been deemed unhealthy. This is mainly because some people, and many restaurants, do their deep-frying in lard (a nice name for pork fat), which is loaded with cholesterol. But, if you deep-fry in vegetable oil, sure, you will add some fat, but not cholesterol.
There are two ways to deep-fry your fish. You can do it on the stovetop using a heavy pot or Dutch oven. If you go this route, you will need a thermometer to keep a constant eye on the oil temperature. While this method can produce good results, it’s messy and can be fickle, as it is harder to maintain a constant cooking temperature.
The other option, which I highly recommend, is to use a countertop electric fryolator (or an electric frying pan.) The beauty of an electric fryer is that you can set the dial to the temperature you want and the fryer’s thermostat will make any necessary adjustments. When you add food to hot oil, the oil temperature will drop. An electric fryer will automatically adjust the temperature, and heat it back up.
I’ve achieved good results with an inexpensive electric deep fryer. This model, made by Presto, costs around $25 and can be purchased at WalMart.
Below are 5 tips, which if you follow, will make you a better fish fryer.
1: Maintain oil temperature
Maintaining the oil temperature is crucial. Most seafood should be fried between 350 to 375 degrees. Smaller, thinner pieces should be cooked around 375, thicker pieces around 350.
2: Do not overcrowd!
When you add food to the fryer, the oil temperature will drop. Work in small batches and, if needed, you can reheat all the seafood at the end. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees, and insert a metal cookie sheet. When all the food is done, put it on the cookie sheet and reheat in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes.
3: Salt at the end
Avoid adding a lot of salt to your flour or batter, and instead season your seafood with salt as soon as it comes out of the fryer. Table salt will adhere much better than kosher salt.
4: Do not overcook
Once the seafood is cooked through, it will stop emitting steam, and oil will seep back into the food, making it greasy. Your eyes and ears can tell you when it is done. When the bubbles subside and the sizzling stops, the food is done. Most seafood will be done in 3 minutes or less.
Once your fish is done, remove it to a metal wire drying rack. DO NOT put it on paper towels!
5: Skip the paper towels!
When you remove food from the fryer, place it on a metal drying rack. When you put it on paper towels, the crust will steam from below, leading to soggy bottoms and a coating that is more likely to fall off.
Frying food at home is already kind of scary. We get it. You’re working with a tub of hot, bubbling oil. (They used to defend castles with that stuff, for crying out loud!) So to make things a little bit easier, let’s talk about the best oil for frying. Once you’ve got that down, you can go to town freaking out about all the other stuff. Ready? Okay.
If you’re frying at home, you should be using vegetable oil. Bam. There you go. You’re welcome.
Okay, let’s go a little deeper, because that’s not very specific. Technically, any oil derived from a plant can be called vegetable oil. Olive oil. Canola oil. Sunflower oil. Those are all vegetable oils. We’re talking about the stuff that straight up says “Vegetable Oil” on the label. This is usually a mix of different plant-derived oils blended together for maximum cost-effectiveness. It’s neutral in flavor, and while it’s not the oil we would reach for if we were, say, dressing a salad, we love it for frying. Why? Great question. Here are three reasons:
The Smoke Point
Every oil has a smoke point, the temperature at which the oil will start to burn and create smoke. You’ve probably encountered this when searing meat in a cast-iron skillet. Vegetable oil’s smoke point usually hovers somewhere between 440° and 450°, which puts it on the higher end of the spectrum. We lower fried chicken into oil that’s about 350°, which leaves a nice cushion between the oil and its smoke point.
Well, actually, it’s the lack of flavor. We’re not frying food to give it a particular flavor. We’re frying food to cook it through (and get it all nice and crispy). So we want a neutral oil, one without any strong flavor. Vegetable oil falls into the neutral oil category and keeps the flavor of whatever we’re frying pure. We’re taking a strong stance on neutral oil, which might seem counterintuitive, but we refuse to remain…neutral…on the issue.
You use a lot of oil to deep-fry something, and last time we checked, oil costs money. There are definitely other neutral, high-heat oils that work for frying—canola, sunflower, peanut, and rice bran, to name a few—but they tend to cost a whole lot more than our trusty generic vegetable oil. And because it has such a high smoke point, it can be reused—just let it cool after you fry in it, strain through a sieve to get any bits out, and decant it into a bottle for later use.
In short, the best oil for frying keeps things manageable. It keeps the expenses manageable. It keeps the flavor manageable. It keeps the whole frying experience manageable. Which is exactly what you want when you’re looking at a vessel filled with scalding hot triglycerides.
Now, let’s fry some chicken:
The Basically Fried Chicken Sandwich
Our incredibly simple method for breading chicken thighs (no brine! no seasoned flour! no dipping!) is based on karaage, a type of Japanese fried chicken. Using a high-sided vessel like a Dutch oven for frying—instead of a shallow skillet—helps to cut down on any obnoxious splatter. View Recipe
Learn how to make this delicious beer battered fish recipe in just a few simple steps. Fish has never tasted so good!
This beer battered fish recipe is full of flavour and gives delicious light and crisp results when deep fried. If you prefer you can replace all – or half – the liquid with sparkling water you can – as it’s the carbon dioxide bubbles in the liquid that create the crisp finish. Make sure the oil reaches the correct temperature before adding the fish– too hot and the batter will brown but the fish won’t be cooked through, not hot enough and the batter will soak up too much oil and be greasy and soggy.
Love fish? We’ve got loads more delicious fish recipes right here!
- 115g plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1tsp salt
- 150ml beer, light ale or lager, chilled
- Sunflower or groundnut oil for deep frying
- 4 x 175g white fish fillets, lightly coated in seasoned flour
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir in the salt. Make a well in the centre and gradually whisk in the beer to make a smooth and thick batter – it should be the consistency of double cream.
Heat the oil in a large deep pan or deep fat fryer to 180°C/350°F. Dip two of the fillets in the batter to coat then gently lower into the hot oil. Fry for 6-7 mins until the batter is crisp and golden brown. Drain thoroughly on kitchen paper and keep warm while frying the remaining fish fillets.
Top tip for making Beer battered fish
To make deep fried onion rings thickly slice a large peeled Spanish onion. Separate the rings and dip into the batter. Deep fry in hot oil for 3-4 mins until golden brown.
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