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Battered Fish Advice

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hello All


It's been a long time since I decided to try my hand once again at Battered Fish since my previous attempt weren't the best. I did some research and decided to get down with some good ol' English Style Fish & Chips.


I tried 2 recipes below - side by side comparison.


Recipe 1

Cake Flour (10% Protein) - 5BL

Rice Flour - 1TBL

Corn Flour - 1TBL

Baking Powder - 1/8tsp + a pinch more

Vinegar - 1tsp

Salt - to Taste

Black Pepper - to Taste
Sugar - pinch

Ice Cold Water - 6TBL

Batter was mixed as little as possible to retard gluten formation - it was thin consistency and just about coated back of a spoon


Recipe 2

Cake Flour (10% Protein) - 6BL

Corn Flour - 1TBL

Baking Powder - 1/8tsp + a pinch more

Vinegar - 1tsp

Salt - to Taste

Black Pepper - to Taste
Sugar - pinch

Mixed Italian Herbs - to taste

Peri Peri Spice - 1/8tsp

Ice Cold Water - 6TBL

Mixed same as recipe 1 but to a slightly thicker consistency than recipe 1. Still left it somewhat thin in consistency.


1. Oil was heated to 370F

2. Properly dried fish with paper towels and then sprinkled some pieces with a little flour and left some plain

3. Dropped some pieces into Recipe 1 and some in to Recipe 2

4. Fried for approx 4 to 5 mins before placing it into news paper and wrapping for 10 minutes.


Problems I experienced

1. The batter softened very quickly once it was unwrapped - I can understand that wrapping it caused steam to trap and then soften the batter but how do the Fish & Chips shops do it such that once it unwraps and left in the air for a minute or 2 - the batter crisps up a little - obviously not as crispy as when it's out the fryer but nonetheless still good.


2. The batter was slightly chewy for lack of a better word. Instead of a light crispy tender batter that I know, this batter didn't resemble those characteristics. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't as if it was inedible and we quite enjoyed it but there's definitely room for improvement.


3. I found that recipe 1 produced a slightly more tender batter than recipe 2 even on the crisp factor.


4. The fish was re-fried after we felt the batter was just too soft - it came out of the fryer nice and crispy but again lost it's crisp very quickly which leads me to believe that the wrapping may have not been the only cause of a soft batter although it could have been 1 of the contributing factors.


5. We fried some plain batter and found a similar issue - batter didn't stay crispy for long.


Every time I have a go at Fish & Chips i get so dissapointed at the results that I just frequent the local Fish & Chips shops but this time I am making it my goal to get it right. I'd like to set out on a mission to perfect my Fish & Chips but experimenting is expensive especially if I want to do lots of experiments. The other problem is who is going to eat all that fish so I thought what if I could make the batter without the fish - perhaps batter something else just until I find the solution to my problem then give it a go with some fish - what can you guys suggest?



post #2 of 18

I always make a pretty good fried fish.  I mix self-rising flour with pale ale for the batter.  Season and flour the fish before dipping it into the batter.  Then I fry it in a mixture of canola and peanut oil.


Here's what's important - as soon as it comes out of the hot oil it gets placed on a cookie rack and sprinkled with sea salt.  I don't place it on newspaper or paper towels or anything other than the wire rack.  If you wrap fried food it steams inside the wrapping and goes soft.  


What are you trying to accomplish by wrapping it in newspaper for 10 whole minutes?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks Koukouvagia for your response


The main reason for wrapping the fish is to help the batter adhere better to the fish as previous attempts resulted in my batter balooning around the fish which sometimes breaks of the fish and leave parts of the fish without batter - this is especially when you eating. You end up pulling at a pieces of batter thinking a piece of fish will come along with it but only batter comes along because it's so loose and not "glued" to the fish if that's a good term to use.


The other reason is to keep it warm whilst I prepare the rest of it so we can all sit and eat dinner together but I know this can be achieved in a warm oven.

post #4 of 18
I don't ever expect the batter to be glued to ththe fish, it never occurred to me that's even a desire.

Keeping it warm is different, try leaving it on a rack and then leaving it in the oven while the dinner crew is gathering. What do you have to lose? Wrapping it in paper is giving you undesirable results. You're not using real newspaper are you?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #5 of 18

Why such complicated recipes? 

The ones I've used are AP flour, baking powder, salt and water. 

As Koukouvagia said, you can substitute beer for the water. 

I've also encountered recipes using seltzer or tonic water.

You can add a touch of yeast to keep a good bubble production. 

Substitute some cornstarch for some of the flour for a more tempura like mix. 

But generally, just starch, salt, water and baking powder. 

Make sure the fish is pretty dry when you batter it and the oil stays hot enough. 

Letting the batter rest for a while helps too. 

post #6 of 18

I think a lot of people think the more ingredients will make the dish and the person making it more important to the quality outcome. In other words, if it doesn't have tons of ingredients and anyone can make it then how can it turn out good. Most Chefs learn that sometimes less is better. I for one like a tempura batter that just coats the filet. As for wrapping, just fry the dam thing and eat it. How could you wrap something that hot without creating steam that will make the batter soggy.....Don't try to reinvent the wheel!

post #7 of 18

@BurgerDude  I will give you some hints


1) Your batter falling off -  Pat your fish dry, then dredge, let it sit in this state in the fridge for 30 min before you batter.

2) The gluten problem - a shot of vodka will keep your batter from seizing up.  alcohol stops the gluten formation

3) it was already mentioned - corn starch in the batter.   I recommend looking up a korean fried chicken recipe for details...

post #8 of 18
I like to think I have a bit of experience when it comes around to frying fish.

There are 2 basic coatings and like BBQ sauce seem to be regional.
You have your basic bubbly batter and the finely ground cornmeal and flour mix.
With the batter sometimes the crust will puff while the fish "shrinks" .
The shrink is just normal dehydration of the flesh which like ours is mostly water.

In my kitchen and 99% of the restaurants in my part of the world the cornmeal crust is king.
The still damp fillet is rolled in the seasoned mix and goes straight into hot oil and from there to a cooling rack placed over a sheet pan which is residing in a warm oven.
Every bite has fish and crust so maybe the @BurgerDude would be happier with this method.

I guess it all boils down to the question....are you there for the fish or the coating?

post #9 of 18

Any thoughts on adding Vodka to your mix? It actively inhibits the production of gluten that forms when flour and water combine, and it evaporates more quickly than just water or beer. This seems to dry out the batter faster, resulting in a crispier crust that is thinner & lighter and remains crisp for longer than the typical flour-and-water mixture. I’ve had some success with the formula of equal parts cornstarch, flour, water, and vodka, along with a bit of salt and baking soda.


Of course, don’t use the “good” Vodka….:)

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your kind advice.


I think the everyone has a valid point - I'm trying to fix something that ain't broke.


My main reason for trying to do the fish like I mentioned was to mimic a local Take Away that does a DAMN GOOD fish & chips. Once, it's ready, they wrap it. I thought the wrapping added some magic to final product but I guess there's more to it in their case. For some reason, I've never been able to duplicate their recipe by eating the fish straight out of the fryer but I guess I may need to look at my attempts from a different angle - try and make this fish my OWN and not SOMEONE else.


Well, it's back to basics for me with just a simple batter of Flour, Water, salt, baking powder and see where it leads to from there.


There was mention of adding a bit of yeast - would that not make the batter more thick and structure due to gluten formation?


I'm also considering Panko Crumbs - how would I go about using it since it's a dry mix compared to a batter?

post #11 of 18
Try the beer batter you'll be very pleased. I've never used yeast, makes me think it would create a fish donut.

Let the fish n chips shop be the best, enjoy it when you go there. Why try to recreate something that's so good?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #12 of 18

hmm I would eat a fish donut

post #13 of 18
I agree with KouKou.
The most likely ingredient that makes the fish shop's food so magical is that someone else has to deal with the splattered oil lol.

post #14 of 18
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post

hmm I would eat a fish donut


Might we have a new million dollar idea in our hands?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #15 of 18
Googled fish donuts ( just for s**ts and giggles) and got over a million hits.
Everything from fish shaped water toys to an oddly humorous posting on
Did not come across an actual recipe but wasn't really looking all that hard.

Just mimi being mimi..... currently drifting slowly OT in her sea foam green kayak (nice day, not a cloud in the sky...altho a tad windy for such a small water craft).
Praying I don't get any sea spray on my IPad.

post #16 of 18
@BurgerDude re the Panko crumbs....
A nice product that works great with a mild saltwater fish like flounder.

First you have to walk the sandbars at nite and gig a few nice specimens keeping them within your local catch size and limit. When you get back to the docks, filet..... the easiest way would be to make a cut behind the head and angle the knife to follow the structural bones (should get 2 from the top) to the tail then flip over and finish up by removing the skin.
Toss into a ziplock to protect those tender, flaky filets from Heaven from the sharp edges of ice...then into the cooler and home to sleep.
Side note.......don't forget to remove the ziplock to the fridge when you get home.

Time to cook.
Gently rinse then pat dry.
Then sprinkle a tiny bit of Wondra "flour"that has been seasoned.
Since flounder has such a mild flavor I use only S&P...sometimes a pinch of cayenne.
Then dip into egg white beaten until frothy (a few drops H2O helps here) then into unseasoned Panko (if they aren't sticking press some in) and fry in a mix of olive oil and butter until golden.
Remove to a hot dinner plate (sprinkle with a nice finishing salt) and serve with lemon wedge.

post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 

Yum @flipflopgirl - will give this a try.

post #18 of 18
Hey Mimi,
Kid is coming home for a while. Know of anyone who will run us up the channel to the flats. I woke up the other night in fright ! wading the flats, saw 30-40 tailing, took a step back as to reach them and BAM! Ray barb through that back part of the ankle.
I have to believe battered fish is the result of shore lunches. My dry pouch carries some rope/hemp, spices, cake flour or cornmeal. Hot, hot, hot oil and a soft flour when it's hot outside, and cornmeal when it's chilly. I guarentee!
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