9 Great Coatings for Fried Foods

We are Up North at the moment and recently ate some of the splendid fish and chips that is rife in the North East,  my real man's piece of haddock was as big as his forearm and it is not a small arm


This got me thinking about various coatings for fried food~ here are nine good ones.


    1.        Seasoned Flour

This is a very light coating which is not suitable for deep frying and is suitable for delicate items. It's just plain flour with a little seasoning. Turn a piece of fish or fish cake or whatever in the flour and it should adhere to quite naturally Shallow fry and it will form a light crust as in these fried green tomatoes. 

 ~   Batters  ~

Pin for later reference!
When applying batter it is a good idea to first give the food a light coating of flour to help it stick.

2.       Flour & Water Batter

This is a light and crispy batter which absorbs little oil.  It is important to cook no further than a  pale ivory colour.  Rest the batter for 30 minutes before using to allow the gluten to relax or will shrink and expose the fish or whatever you have under it.  This makes enough batter to coat 4 x 200g fish for instance.
110g self-raising flour
½ teaspoon salt
150 ml water

~   Sift together the flour and salt (plus other seasonings if you wish).
~   Gradually whisk in the water to form a smooth batter.

This is even lighter if made with sparkling water.  Which leads me, quite naturally, to ...

3.      Beer Batter ~ a classic for Fish and Chips

A great tasting light and crispy batter which is a classic for fish 'n' chips.

Replace the water in the above batter with beer, English bitter is usual here but lager style beers work too.


Taking this a step further ...

4.      Yeast Batter

This batter has a pleasant slightly bready taste. 

15ml warm water
1 x 7g sachet easy-blend dried yeast
225g plain flour
½ tsp salt
300ml beer

~   Stir the yeast into the water and set aside somewhere warm for about 10 minutes till all foamy.
~   Stir the salt into the flour and make a well.
~   Put the yeast mixture into the well and then gradually whisk in the beer to make a smooth pancake batter consistency. If too thick add a little water when you run out of beer.
~   Cover and set aside at room temperature till bubbly – about 30 mins.
~   Chill till needed.

5.      Tempura Batter

Very light, good for delicates such as shrimp and vegetables. This batter should be made at the last minute, just before using.

90g plain flour
1 tbsp cornflour
½ tsp salt
200ml sparkling water – as cold as cold can be

~   Sift together the flour, cornflour and salt.
~   Whisk in the water till just combined – a few small lumps are OK!
~   As I said before – use immediately
~   Dip the food to be fried into the batter and then hold aloft to allow excess to drip off.

6.      Cornmeal Batter

This make a pleasant gritty coating with shades of the Deep South so flavour accordingly with Cajun seasoning or, if you can get it, Old Bay Seasoning which is ubiquitous in the States and is especially good with seafood. Failing that a pinch of chilli powder.

80g yellow cornmeal
60g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 beaten egg
120ml milk

~   Stir together the dry ingredients.
~   Whisk in the wet ingredients to a smooth batter.

~   Dry Coatings   ~

To add a dry coating follow these guidelines ...

~   In addition to the breadcrumbs or other coating have ready a dish of seasoned flour and a bowl of egg beaten with a spoonful or two of water.
~   Make sure the item to be coated is dry.
~   Coat said item in the flour, dip in the beaten egg and then coat with dry coating.
~   Set aside for a few minutes for the coating to set a bit before frying.

An easy way to apply the dry coating is to have the crumbs or cornmeal in a deep straight sided box. Drop the eggy item into it and shake the box to coat.  Lift it out and continue with the next piece.


   7.      Cornmeal Crust

Mix together equal quantities of yellow cornmeal and plain flour together with seasonings; salt, black pepper and perhaps paprika and cayenne to taste. As this is a recipe from the Deep South buttermilk is traditional instead of egg for dipping.

8.      Bread Crumbs

You could use the vibrantly coloured bought in crumbs or alternatively make your own!  You knew I’d say that.

~   Fresh Breadcrumbs – run leftover bread through the food process or hand grate to crumbs.
~   Dry Breadcrumbs - bake leftover bread at 300°F/150ºC/130ºC fan/gas 2 till completely dry. Cool then process or crush to fine crumbs. 

9.      Japanese Bread Crumbs (Panko)

If you are familiar with this blog you will know that I am very keen indeed on these and use them in all sorts of unusual ways.  They make a lovely thick crunchy coating for fried food - these are shallow fried slices of avocado.


SERIOUS WARNING – if perchance you don’t have a deep fryer and use a saucepan make sure it is a deep one with straight sides and fill it no more than a third. Some people say half full is OK but I don’t believe them!

Of course crispy coatings are a great way to make all sorts of leftovers delicious!

In Other News ...

~   I’m rather proud that "The Leftovers Handbook" and I have been mentioned in the May/June issue of Marks & Spencer’s Magazine thus ... 

M & S review of The Leftovers Handbook

... although I really wish they’d got this blog’s name right, added a link and perhaps a picture of my book.  Still buggers can’t be choosers!


Sue said...

I've just been reading your piece in the M&S mag, yes I am THAT behind with my reading at the moment.

It's very good. I always do a 'whoop' when I spot someone I 'know' in a magazine, it makes Lovely Hubby jump in his chair, so then I am doubly delighted :-)

Sudden Lunch ~ Suzy Bowler said...

Thank you and so glad it made your Lovely Hubby jump!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone every tried farina as a coating like you would use cornmeal?

Sudden Lunch ~ Suzy Bowler said...

I've never even thought of using farina but I think it would be a good idea!

Anonymous said...

Only wanna say that this is very useful, Thanks for taking
your time to write this.

Anonymous said...

I could not resist commenting. Well written!

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