This recipe experiment actually took place several years ago, and when I didn’t have a forum in which to share. I was looking for a batter to make fish and chips–the perfect fish and chips, like I remember having at The Scottish Games in Altamont, NY when I was younger (in my teens and twenties). It’s been awhile since I’ve been there, but that meal always sticks fresh in my mind. So how do they do it? I couldn’t tell you, other than the usual basic deep fry fish batter you encounter at fairs. That’s easy enough–except not. The weird thing is, that when you attempt to duplicate these recipes at home, they don’t quite pan out.
That’s right. Try a beer in the batter. For some reason that totally changes the game. No worries, there’s not going to be an overwhelming beer flavor and alcohol cooks off in the fryer.
But What Beer???
That’s a great question. It’s all about aesthetics and flavor. Everyone’s palate is different besides. Some like stouts, others like cheap beer. First of all, you can believe all you want that saving money on the products that you put into your food is going to merit you the same outcome. The truth is that is not the case. When you buy cheap ingredients, you’re buying low quality ingredients too. That’s why they’re cheap, my friends! That means that there is less of the stuff that makes them wonderful inside and your recipes will suffer. (PS – Stop Using Margarine. It’s one carbon off from being plastic. It’s not okay and doesn’t save your health. Plain butter kids. I switched from butter to smart balance back to butter after understanding the chemical make up of what I was putting in my body and how that affects the living tissue I need to go on with life. You should probably also drop using diet sodas and drinks–considering the ‘sweetener’ in it gives rats large tumors and doesn’t do a thing for your diet. Back to beer batter.)
For the recipe that I use to make deep fried fish and onion rings. I use Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Not only is it magnificent in the recipe, but the beer has a nice smooth light taste. Being a Stout drinker myself, this was an ale I could get behind. Usually I think things like that are piss water. (Don’t get me started on Bud and Coors, etc.–is that even really beer?)
I picked this recipe up on the web and have been using it since. They list other batters on the site, which you’re welcome to try and give your self headaches over. I found that this one is all I need. Similar to tempura in consistency, it has the perfect taste and texture for the intended outcome.
Add 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a large bowl. Gently whisk in 1 cup of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale until smooth. Use immediately.