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Friday, August 17, 2012

Battered Fish

Fish in  ultimate crispy  batter
This was  a response to  a crispy  snack request . I had a nail biting moment , putting my air-flown salmon at risk trying this recipe. Previous attempt included batter that stuck to anything but the fish  or  batter that was  too dense or  too thin. As usual, there was also  the perennial problem of the batter not being able to sustain its crispiness.

This pillowy batter recipe needs no beer or sparkling water or special flour.  It uses baking powder as leavening and very cold water to shock the batter  into blossoming in the hot oil.  I may not be one for  deep fried food but while eating this airy battered fish, even I was already thinking of tempuras and  goreng pisang  ( banana fritters ) with this batter.

In case you are wondering if the batter could sustain its crisp, I am proud to announce that the battered fish remained crispy 2 hours after frying. To rejuvenate leftovers, simply put them under the grill and it will be as good as 'new'.

And finally one tip : Keep the batter cold, for optimum effect.  In between the frying  batches, keep the batter cold by leaving it in the fridge until the next batch of fish is ready for frying.

Adapted from here, which came with many rave reviews.

Ingredients :

1 cup  all-purpose flour , chilled in the freezer
1/8 teaspoon chilli flakes ( or any herbs you fancy )
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup water, ice cold  ( I chilled this in the freezer )
Enough  oil  to deep fry the fish. As a guide, the depth of the  oil should be at least 3 times the thickness of the fish to prevent the batter sticking to the base of the pot due to insufficient oil.
200g salmon

Extra flour for dusting

Method :

Cut fish to bite size, no  thicker than  one phalange.

Dust the fish with flour.  I shake the fish in a plastic bag of flour to do away with the washing.

Heat oil. Oil is ready when bubbles cluster around a  wooden skewer  dipped in the oil, about 200C.

Mix flour, chilli flakes, baking powder, salt. Whisk in very cold water.

Coat  dusted fish with batter.

Fry for 5 minutes on medium high heat until batter appears pale golden.

Drain on  kitchen paper. Serve hot.


  1. This looks good. One question if I may, would the batter be clumpy seeing that we are mixing in cold water?

    1. Hi Phong Hong,

      On the contrary. The cold water does not 'cook' the flour and is therefore smooth and 'un-clumpy' , provided you whisk it. Because baking powder works on heat, the cold water retards the leavening / blooming action until it is totally in the hot oil. Some people chill everything, including the container so that the baking powder will do its magic in the oil. That's the same principle for tempura batter ( cold water ) as well.

  2. thks! i will give this a try :)

  3. oh, i must bookmarked this as I have been looking for a good batter recipe. Thanks for sharing.