Quarantummy: Beer-battered fish and onion rings

My brother got this recipe from a friend, and we agreed to try it. It was supposed to be shrimp, but we decided to try it with fish first.

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels.com

I’m not normally fond of deep fried anything, and I have a terrible history when it comes to frying fish. But in recent months, I’ve fried dory according to my mom’s instructions, and it’s been pretty good! So I decided I would give this a shot.

I’m happy to say it was delicious–so delicious that I didn’t bother taking pictures! (It should be pretty obvious which ones are the stock photos.)

Ingredients

  • Flour – You’re gonna need a lot! We used one 200g box, plus whatever we had leftover from previous recipes, for one 1kg of cream dory.
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Beer – We used Red Horse. One 500 mL bottle was enough for 1 kg of cream dory and two or three onions, for impromptu onion rings.
  • Shrimp or fish – We used Frabelle Cream Dory. One 1 kg pack was more than enough for one meal!
Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

Procedure

  1. Using a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, cut the dory into small pieces. Squares might be easier to fry, but strips look nicer.
  2. Drain the fish as much as you can, then arrange the pieces on a flat surface to dry out. Sprinkle with some salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl: flour, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder.
  4. In another bowl, pour out some beer.
  5. This part is a little tricky. Add flour mixture to the beer, and mix well. The original instructions said to keep it clumpy, but I didn’t like the dry flour that remained, so I mixed thoroughly. The thickness of your batter will determine the texture of the finished product, so you can experiment with the proportions of beer and batter until you find what suits your preferences.
  6. Pour oil into a pan and turn up the heat.
  7. When you’re ready to fry, take a piece of fish. Dip it in the dry flour. Make sure it’s coated evenly.
  8. Dip the fish in the beer batter, the drop into the oil.
  9. Repeat until all the fish is cooked.
  10. If you have beer batter, beer and flour mix left, you can mix them all up and add onions sliced into rings. Fry until your desired doneness.

This recipe wasn’t as difficult as I thought! As I was cooking this on a hot Saturday though, I had some realizations.

Realizations

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  • I now understand why chefs in Japanese restaurants use long chopsticks to cook tempura. It’s easier to use than forks or tongs. You can use them to pick up the fish or shrimp, dip it in the batter, drop it gently into the oil, flip it, and remove it from the pan. It also leaves less of a mark (think Achilles’ heel) in the food, so you don’t have a horrifying spot that isn’t coated by the batter. And it’s definitely more sanitary than using your fingers to pick up the food!
  • I understand why chefs wear long sleeves, as I look balefully at the oil splatter on my arms.
  • I understand why kitchen staff need hairnets and caps and chef’s hats. It’s hard enough figuring out what to do with which ingredient, and what step goes next, without having hair in our eyes, or worse, on the food!
  • Now that I know how I like my onions (fried in beer batter or caramelized in butter), it seems I actually like onions!
  • The Frabelle cream dory came with free lemon-butter sauce, and wow it was really yummy.
  • My brother makes really good dips and sauces. To go with this, he made a garlic mayo dip, and it was so good!

Now I wonder how it would taste with different beer, and I want to try my brother’s original suggestion: beer-battered shrimp!

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

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