Crispy Batter that Stays Crispy-Super simple recipe to get a crispy batter that stays crispy for a long time. All the tips you need to know. A gluten-free batter for frying is included.
I hate to deep fry food. The splattering oil, my hair, the clothes and pretty much everything else is infused with the smell of grease. I swear if I walk out there people will look at me like a walking fried chicken or something! That’s the reason why we got an air-fryer. We hardly deep fry any food, but the air fryer is very useful for crisping up food, heating food, roasting potatoes, and duck, chicken, and other things. Anyway, I’m not here to sell an air-fryer (even though my husband said I had been pitching about it every time I used the air fryer). Back to the topic, I hate to deep fry but I’m not gonna lie that I enjoy deep-fried food (who doesn’t). Every now and then I do have some recipes that required some deep-frying.
ANY SECRET INGREDIENT THAT MAKES THE FRIED BATTER CRISPY?
No. You only need 4 ingredients to make this batter. All-purpose flour or cornstarch, salt, ice cold water, and baking powder. I found this batter recipe is so crispy and not only that, it stays crispy even after one hour I let the fried food sit at room temperature.
WHY DOES THIS CRISPY BATTER RECIPE WORK?
If you look at the ingredients, they are nothing peculiar and seriously you don’t need to be a rocket scientist. It is all simple science.
1. Ice cold water
The are some arguments about using ice-cold water. Some said it will lower the temperature of the oil too much and resulted in a soggy batter. Some said that the cold batter prevents the flour to absorb the oil too much and therefore resulted in a light crispy batter. Using ice-cold water definitely makes the batter crispy and light (most importantly, stays crispy too!!)
2. Not over-stirring the batter
If you use all-purpose flour, which this recipe does, it has gluten in it and if you over stir the batter, gluten will develop and makes the batter gummy and absorbs a lot of oil when you fry it and you know what’s next! SOGGY! This is not so much of a concern if you are preparing the gluten-free batter because cornstarch doesn’t contain any gluten.
3. Baking powder
The baking powder provides that light and airy-ness to the batter
4. Double frying
It is no longer a secret that double frying will give you that super crispy texture you are looking for. Double-frying has been around for a long time and a common practice among the Chinese cooks. The first frying is usually done over medium heat to cook the food. The second frying is usually done at a higher temperature to remove moisture and crisp up the food
GLUTEN-FREE BATTER FOR DEEP-FRYING
My mom often used cornstarch, potato starch, or rice flour or combination of the three (depending on the recipe she’s trying to prepare) for deep frying. This is actually a pretty common thing to do in Asian cooking. Wheat flour wasn’t as common back in the old days. They were more expensive too. My first choice here for really crispy batter will be cornstarch. My second choice would be potato starch. Not so keen about using rice flour alone for deep-frying. Cornstarch gives you that thin, light, and really crispy coating on the food. So, if you ever wonder whether you can use cornstarch for deep-frying or not, the answer is a definite YES! I used cornstarch to make this TWICE-FRIED CRISPY PEKING CHICKEN WINGS WITH JING DU SAUCE and they were sooo crispy.
COOK’S TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. PAT DRY
Make sure you pat dry the ingredient you are going to fry really dry. Water is a nemesis here. A reader suggested dredging the ingredient in a thin layer of flour before dipping into batter and fry. The flour helps to absorb the moisture
2. MAKE SURE BAKING POWDER IS FRESH
Make sure it is fresh. If you are not sure, scoop about 1/2 tsp of the baking powder and add 1/2 cup of boiling water over it. It should bubble up vigorously. If it’s not, it’s time to toss it away.
3. REST BETWEEN FIRST AND SECOND FRYING
I highly recommend to let the food cool down for at least 10 minutes (longer if you have the time) before frying them for the second time. Why? The batter will have a stronger structure to withstand second round of frying
THE BEST OIL TO USE FOR DEEP-FRYING
One of the most important thing in choosing the best oil for deep frying is to ensure that it is heat-stable, which means you want to make sure it has a high smoke point.
Here’s what I would recommend: Peanut oil, Lard, Ghee (not butter), Coconut oil, Avocado oil.
Of course, you choose whichever that is suitable for your recipe. Peanut, lard, and avocado oils are pretty neutral in taste. Coconut oil may impart some coconut aroma to the food, if that’s not what you want, then you definitely don’t want to use it.
DEEP FRYING ON THE STOVE
WHAT CAN I USE THIS CRISPY BATTER RECIPE FOR?
Pretty much anything that calls for a batter. Vegetable fritters, onion rings, potato, seafood like fish, shrimp, oyster, chicken wings, etc.
Crispy Batter that Stays Crispy (for a long time)
- Cooking oil for deep-frying
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup ice-cold water
Prepare the batter only when you are ready to fry (applicable to both regular and gluten-free batter):
- Place the flour/starch (depending on whether you are doing regular or gluten-free batter), baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir to mix everything. Only prepare your batter when you are ready to fry your food. So, preheat the oil for deep-frying in a medium to large pot over medium heat
- Pour about 1 1/2 to 2-inch of oil into a pot. Preheat the oil to 300 F. It helps if you have deep fryer thermometer, if not, you can sprinkle a bit of flour on the oil. If nothing happens, the oil is not ready, if the flour got burn straight away, it's too hot. If it sizzles steadily, it's ready
- Pour in the cold water into the flour mixture and whisk it. DO NOT overmix especially if you are using all-purpose flour. It's fine if you see lumps in the batter. If you over mix the flour batter, it will turn out gummy and absorbs too much oil. If you are preparing gluten-free batter, this is not an issue because cornstarch doesn't have gluten in it
- Coat the food with the batter and fry the food. Another important note is not to overcrowd and frying too many. If you lower the oil temperature too much, the batter will be greasy, soggy, and almost definitely will not stay crispy (if at all). This step is to cook the food inside the batter. Depending on what you are frying, follow the instruction on the time
- Remove from the oil to a rack. Let them cool down for at least 10 minutes before you go for the second frying. You can even stop at this step if you are prepping ahead. Keep the half-fried food in the fridge and do the second frying just right before serving, whenever that is
- Remove any crumbs from the oil and bring it back up to hot again over high heat. This time we need about 350 F. When it's ready, fry the food for the second time. This round should be quicker. The food will turn golden brown too. This step is to draw out moisture and to crisp up the food further
Keep them warm:
- You can keep the rest warm in a preheat oven at around 200 F and serve when you are done with frying all. I found that the fried food (in this case fried tofu puffs) stayed crispy at room temperature even after one-hour has passed
- This batter recipe is good for seafood like fish, shrimp, hush puppies, tofu. You can also add spices or seasonings to it if you wish
- Make sure the fish or shrimp are patted dry on both sides. This is important so you won't end up with soggy fried fish or shrimp
- If using tofu, make sure to press the tofu with a heavy object to make sure you get the moisture out. You'll be surprised by how much water in a tofu. Extra firm is best in this case as less moisture
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