When I’m frying chicken, I prefer to dredge it in flour and shallow fry it rather than battering and deep frying it. For seafood and veggies, however, I like a beer batter or tempura batter (they are very similar). Batters coat food more evenly and make a thicker coating. They are wet, so it takes longer for the oil to drive off all the moisture, but in that time, steam bubbles up in the batter, making the finished coating lighter and crispier. Carbonated liquid such as beer in the batter makes it froth even more in the oil, creating a lacier finish.
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of SeriousEats.com preaches substituting some of the beer with vodka because it evaporates faster during frying, and I am a Kenji acolyte. The vodka also inhibits gluten formation in the batter and that keeps the mixture liquid longer as you are working with it. The alcohol in the beer and vodka is driven off during frying, but if you must, you can substitute club soda or seltzer water. Just don’t use anything with sugar in it. And before you start battering and frying, read my article on frying here because it’s soooo much better to fry on the grill.
Serve with: an amber ale.
Published On: 8/9/2018 Last Modified: 4/14/2021
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