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Restaurant Fish Battering Advice Needed

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi folks,


First time poster here; this bulletin board looks like a great resource. I'm really glad I ran across it.


Quick introduction. I bought a pub in Florida about 5 years ago. It'd been up and running for about 20 years before I took over. Previous owner was really into taking shortcuts to save time. Now we're cooking out own roast beef and pulled pork and making much higher quality food than we used to.


One thing that's still frozen and crappy, in my opinion is the fish & chips. We're using Icelandic brand, frozen, beer battered haddock. It's decent for a frozen product, but not as good as i'd like it to be. It's also really pricey @ $5.50 per pound.


I'd like to try out making fish and chips from scratch, but we don't really have room for a breading station. 


I'm looking for hints on breading fish in a small kitchen. Keep the flour and batter in buckets in the fridge? How long will the batter stay good, and which type is best if we're only making one batch per day?




Dave @ Coasters Pub

Melbourne, FL

post #2 of 17

you always have room for BB fish.


You can make it a gillion ways and everyone has their own way to do it. But good quality beer makes a differance, then you just need flour, seasoning and some sort of leavener.


My basic is as follows. this is just a guesstimate recipe, you may need more or less flour depending.


1 bottle beer 375ml i usually use an ale, dark works better in my opinion

1 cup SR flour

1/2 cup rice flour

pinch cayanne pepper and pinch of tumeric


teaspoon or so of baking powder


So it's just a matter of getting the consistency correct. You want it to coat the fish, so a little thinner than a pancake batter would be ideal. Throughout service you will need to feed the batter. What i mean by this is that once you have used it a few times, the flour you have used to dust your fish will thicken the batter, so i like to thin it out throughout service with either more beer, or i usually just use soda water. This will also help give it a bit more kick through service.


As mentioned, there are literally a million ways to do this. Some use yeast, some make a tempura style batter, some use cornflour. Just find an easy way for you to do this and it will be a million times better than packet bought stuff.


As for chips, you need to buy a 'floury' potato like sebego. Cut them into even pieces and rinse off some starch with running water. Pat dry. You can either do it triple cooked which is the best but takes a lot of prep. or you can do the easier double cooked.


Fryer needs to be low for double cooked around 120-130, blanch chips until tender with no colour. cool and dry chips in fridge. Then all you need to do is crank the fryer up to 180-190 for service and finish them off to a golden brown. The longer harder method for triple cooked involves cooking the chips first in salted water until just tender. Then repeat with above cooling and drying in between.




to answer your questions above


you can keep batter out or in the fridge. If the batter is in hot area, you can add ice cubes to batter to chill it down. The flour you dredge the fish in can be kept anywhere during service, but once service is over you need to sift it and chill as you would anything that has fish touch it. Your best off just throwing it unless its a lot of flour. Find some sort of flat tray for dredging the fish, and same for the battering, though a bowl works well also, so you can have room to wipe off excess batter.


The batter will only last one day, it's best to make it from scratch everyday. I find the best is either a beer batter or a tempura. you can make a 'dodgy' tempura batter with the same recipe as above, but the differance is that i wouldn't mix it until smooth, i'd be looking for lots of lumps in my batter. (i have a tempura recipe, but i cannot remember it, if you want it i will find).

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Many thanks for the info. It's those little logistical details that I was wondering about. We'll do some experiments next week in the kitchen!

post #4 of 17

Now that you're not using a pre-battered product remember that you're either going to have to drop it slowly (10-15 seconds a piece) or remove the baskets completely. Since you're in Florida why not look into local fish? Flounder is quite tasty battered.

post #5 of 17

Try Atlantic Cod

Batter            rice flour./ egg,/ s&p / tiny amt cornstarch  / garlic powder small amt ./ tiny amt.sugar(helps with color and cooking time)  beer or ale. pinch baking powder / / drop yellow food color. 

dry fish, dip into batter, cook till golden brown  drain well on icing rack or brown paper. serve with chips, tartar sauce, vinegar, and or cocktail sauce real lemon wedge.  Try and cook to order put at busy times can be 3/4 cooked prior. I make my batter daily. flounder is to costly and to thin. try grouper, cobia,halibut, haddock if you like. All good deep fry fish

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Appreciate all of the advice.


Another question, though, if you can spare the time...


We have family in town this week and went to the theme parks in Orlando in New Year's Eve. We went to Bonefish Grill on NYE night and tried their fish & chips to see how the OSI restaurant does theirs. They use cod, and batter to order, according to the waiter. I was pretty happy with the taste but was disappointed with how easily the breading slid off the fish. How can I avoid that when I start to do my own F&C from scratch? My hunch is that they didn't pat the fish dry or flour it enough before it went in the batter?

post #7 of 17

We do flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, cream of tar tar, beer


It fries up crispy and has a good enough consistency when you find the proper mixture

post #8 of 17
Originally Posted by David Swartz Jr View Post

 I was pretty happy with the taste but was disappointed with how easily the breading slid off the fish. How can I avoid that when I start to do my own F&C from scratch? My hunch is that they didn't pat the fish dry or flour it enough before it went in the batter?



Very correct.


The devil is in the details. 


The fish must be dry - then put into the flour.


Some people think that because more flour sticks to wet fish the batter will be thicker.  So not true.  You wan't a thin coating of flour - then into the batter.


You see that thick coating of flour will soak up moisture like you wouldn't believe - leaving you with a 'dry' fish and also becoming very gummy... which allows that nice crispy batter to slide right off the fish.



"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold





"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold


post #9 of 17

And they probably did not add an egg to hold it. ,as well as dry piece of fish.

post #10 of 17

instead of food colouring ed, why not use tumeric?

post #11 of 17

Here's an old New England recipe. 

2 lbs Flour

1Tbsp Salt 

1tsp Baking powder

38 oz water

Mix together the day before. Should be thick enough to

hold shape momentarily when you draw an S in it. 

Dip fish in batter. Drop slowly into hot oil. Beef fat is best. 

post #12 of 17

You could use Tumeric or paprika but both impart some flavor.

post #13 of 17

Scottish recipe: AP flour/33% cornstarch/light ale/Onion salt/pepper/pinch of garlic/tumeric/pinch baking powder/pinch sugar


Use whitefish: halibut/cod/haddock/tilapia/catfish/mackerel(it's oily, careful)


Chips:  If you're american, cut "steak fries."  Chips are much thicker in the BCW than in the states...wait, you call them "fries."


I fry my fish/chips in peanut oil mixed with lard.  No, I'm not concerned with the health effects, just the flavour.


Serve it with whichever dressing you prefer, vinegar/cocktail/tartar/butter/just lemon.  I've also got a vodka batter, but that's less common.



post #14 of 17
Here is my Beer Batter recipie. 2 eggs beaten, then 1 bottle of beer, 3 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. paprika, and 1/2 stick of butter. The eggs make it a bit more expensive but really make the difference in taste and consistency. Thin out with water to your desired consistency if you need to. This is a very versatile batter. Lasts a day if kept chilled.
post #15 of 17

When I went to England , I ordered fish and chips in a medium sized  fairly busy place. It was served in a newspaper like cone. It was the worst I ever had, greasy and rancid oily tasting. I asked one of the employees about it and she said ""Thats the way they like it here""    I can't believe that.

When I went to Germany i wanted real German Potato salad  I ordered it and it was the same junk that comes already made here with mayo etc. This is not German Potato Salad.

When I was in Italy I ordered Geletto from a vendor and it was loaded with ice crystals.?  All in all  food I have had here is better.   France was authentic and good.

post #16 of 17

Patrick what a great guy you are for all this info. I just wanted to say that and Thank You for being an awesome person. !!! I wish all the best for you and appreciate your knowledge. I was looking for info on using a beer batter and found this..  :)   ...Bill

post #17 of 17

I did a fish and chip on the last bar menu and it killed. Best selling by qty next to our mac and cheese. Even had some people from england try it and server came back with " they said it was one of the best fish and chips they've tried, while not traditionally authentic." 


I actually went out to say hi to the table and jokingly said," only one of the where is the best?" We all laughed and server got a big tip. 


We ran fish and chips because our old chef had bought a crap load of fish for New years pre fixe menu and I was tired of looking at it, plus i wanted the freezer space. I was going to do fish tacos, but my assistant GM didnt like it because the restaurant across the street does it. So i opted fish and chips, tried a few recipes for family meal and then I found "the one"


I locked eyes and I instantly knew....


Also recipe calls for cake flour which has less gluten than regular AP which lends a lighter crispier crust. If you dont have any on hand, you can sub it with subtracting 2 Tablespoons from 1 cup of flour and adding in 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. Totally just googled it and have no idea how well it works. 


The main difference is the vodka, i use the same method when I make korean fried chicken. Since water evaporates at a higher temp, using a portion of vodka and something with gluten formation and you know like molecules and stuff... ok, i may not know the exact science behind it, but I ask the Chef Talk to try this recipe and NOT tell me it's better than theirs. 


However, it sucked because it was made to order so Garde Manger station hated me, plus it will stick to fryer basket unless you hold it while it fries for 5-10 seconds to form a light coat and it degrades your oil(so do most fish and chip recipes) 


Used monkfish, cut into 1 oz strips, brined, dried with paper towels, and placed in fish flats with parchment(2 layers max.) froze the rest with very little noticeable degradation in quality. 


Also if using water...use cold water or even use seltzer , but only in the absence of beer. Keep the fish as dry as possible and a simple ...into dry and then into wet. 

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