Master the perfect beer batter for all your deep frying needs!
This beer batter recipe will guarantee you'll have the best fish and chips ever.
I lived in England for seven years and let’s just say that when it came to fish and chips, I “got around.” From the northern to the southern tip of England, we hit many a fish & chip joint and it continues to be a favorite pastime. My family and I have tried several fish & chip places in the U.S. and sadly, none of them compare. Usually the problem is the batter.
Now, many will argue over what constitutes the “perfect” beer batter. Some will say the batter should be light and fluffy, others will say it should be more chewy and puffy (hey, that rhymes – ssssslick!), some will say it should be thin and others thick, and then others will say it should be crispy-crunchy. Of course it really just comes down to personal preference. But having made my way across the jolly old nation of England, enjoying fish & chips the traditional English way, I’m partial to one style: Perfectly crispy batter. The kind where you hear and feel it crunch when you bite into it and then encounter the tender flesh of the white fish. That’s what I’m talking about. And that’s what I’m going to show you today.
An “airy” batter is key and that’s achieved by using fizzy beer and some added baking powder. If you want a delightfully crispy batter don’t use egg. That will give you a chewier, cakier texture. If that’s what you prefer, feel free to use this recipe and beat an egg into the batter.
Another factor in achieving nice, crispy results is the thickness of the batter. Some chefs from fish & chip joints will argue that it should be so thin that when you lift the fish out of the batter you can see the fish through it. Others will argue that the batter should completely coat the fish. I like a happy medium – not too thin, not too thick – just thick enough to where I can dredge the fish in it, lift it out and let some of the excess drip off, and the fish is nicely coated.
Making a great beer batter is really simple and quick, and it’s also pretty versatile. For example, use it for fish & chips, battered and fried shrimp and calamari, or onion rings. I’m going to use some cod and onion rings today.
To make the batter, you'll need the following ingredients:
- 1 cup Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups light beer
- Extra flour for dredging
This will make enough batter for about 4-6 pieces of fish.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.
Pour in the cold beer.
Whisk until smooth. Your beer batter is ready!
Blot the fish with paper towels to dry them.
Dredge the fish in the flour and shake off the excess.
Dip the fish into the beer batter to thoroughly coat and let some of the excess drip off.
Make sure the oil is heated to 375ºF. Fish cooks quickly and we want the batter to be beautifully golden. Carefully drop the fish into the oil.
Fry the fish for 5-8 minutes or until nicely golden. Then remove the fish with a slotted spoon and let some of the excess oil drip off. Success!
Place the fish on paper towels for a minute and then serve immediately. If you let the fish sit for too long the batter will become softer and lose some of its crispiness.
Okay, let’s give the batter a try with some onion rings. For these you’ll want to add a little more flour to the batter (or a little less beer) to make a thicker batter so it adheres better to the onions.
Add a few onions rings to the batter and stir to coat.
Carefully drop the onion rings into the hot oil and fry for about the same amount of time or until they’re a deep golden.
Remove those crispy beauties with a slotted spoon and let them drain for a minute or two on paper towels.
And that’s it! You’ve got a deliciously crispy beer-battered meal!
For more delicious British eats, visit Kimberly’s food blog The Daring Gourmet.