Cooking inspiration has been a bit thin on the ground around here of late - busy work schedules and a lack of energy have conspired to put us into a bit of a food-rut, with one high wall built of things that J doesn't like, and another built of things that I object to eating, usually on ethical or nutritional grounds. We have been experimenting a bit, though, with deep-frying (only a bit: see above statement on 'nutritional grounds). My parents visited a couple of months ago, and Dad gave us a masterclass on making chips his way (in lard!) Since then, we've tried Heston's chips (cooked three times!), an attempt at sweet and sour chicken that turned out more like chicken nuggets, and, last night, some fish (pollock) 'goujons'. I wanted to find a good soft batter recipe - not what you usually associate with goujons, perhaps - but pollock was what I had to cook, and I was thinking back to that sweet & sour attempt. I used the batter from this tempura shrimp recipe (be aware: website launches advertising video without asking), reproduced below:
- Combine the flour, corn starch baking powder,sugar and salt in a 2 quart bowl and mix to combine.
- In a separate small bowl, vigorously beat the egg for at least 30 seconds.
- Add it to the dry mix along with most of the water. Stir to incorporate all the ingredients. Add more water if necessary until you get the mixture to break into a liquid state, barely. Not too thin.
- Let the mixture [rest] for 15 minutes.
I coated the fish in flour, then dipped it in the batter, allowing the excess to drip off (ideally into the bowl!) I fried each batch for 2-3 minutes at 175C/350F, which barely coloured the batter. It was a messy procedure, with batter and lard spatters *everywhere*, and I found it was important to hold each strip in the oil for a couple of seconds before letting it go (use tongs!). This allows the outside of the batter to 'set' a bit before it comes in contact with the basket. If I didn't do this, each strip dropped quickly to the bottom, where the batter wrapped around the wires of the basket quite thoroughly before setting. Not ideal. I have to say, the batter didn't turn out very tempura-like. I realised just now that I forgot the baking powder (not that double-acting is very easily found in the UK), which would have made a *big* difference, and perhaps I should have beaten the egg more. I suppose it depends on what you use to beat the egg with: 30 seconds with a fork is very different to 30 seconds with an electric beater. Anyway, I'd use it again for sweet and sour! And I'd be interested to try it with baking powder, too. (But J thinks sweet and sour should have a crunchy batter. Bah!)