tempura

I must admit that I rarely do much deep frying these days, since it tends to adversely affect the waistline. Still I do love crispy, light fried things on occasion. Deep-frying in batter is a rather tricky thing though, since it's so easy to get it all wrong and turn out a soggy, heavy mess. The always interesting Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking and other must-have books, has a new article in the New York Times about two deep-frying techniques that yield crispy crusts. For one, you need a fish with its skin intact - not too practical for most of us who must buy fish from a supermarket or so. The other method is one I saw in last year's Heston Blumenthal BBC series - making a beer batter for the fish part of fish and chips with half beer, half vodka. He also uses some rice flour, and (the don't-dare-call-it-molecular-gastronomy part) a syphon to foam it up with carbon dioxide.

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