Batter is a term for a variety of coatings put on food before cooking, to give a crispy coating.
Most batters contain beaten eggs and flour, but there is an enormous variety of recipes and techniques. Japanese cuisine uses batter extensively in the form of tempera.
Simple egg batter
This is a Basque batter, useful to coat fillets of fish. It is easily scaleable – use one egg for each two fillets.
- Preheat a large frying pan and add cooking oil when it is hot
- Separate the egg and reserve the yolk
- Beat the egg white until it is almost forming soft peaks
- Beat the yolk lightly on its own, then fold it into the egg white
- Coat the fish fillets in flour (which can be seasoned) then dip them in the batter
- Fry the fillets in the oil, turning once, until the batter is browned.
Examples of dishes dipped in batter before cooking
The following is a recipe on how to make breaded mozzarella sticks.
- ¼ pound fresh mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 large egg
- Preheat deep fryer to 350°F (175°C).
- Slice mozzarella into sticks 1-3 cm in diameter.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg.
- Fill another small bowl with bread crumbs.
- Dip 3-4 sticks at a time into the egg.
- Shake excess egg off sticks and place them in the bread crumbs.
- Shake bowl of bread crumbs, evenly coating all sticks. Add more bread crumbs as needed.
- Place coated sticks to the side and repeat for remaining sticks.
- After all sticks have been coated, repeat the egg-dip and crumb-coat for each once more.
- Place all sticks in fryer basket and submerge in 350°F oil.
- Let sit for 30 seconds, gently rocking basket occasionally.
- Lift basket and let cool for a few seconds. If cheese is not beginning to ooze out from half the sticks, re-submerge in oil for another 10-15 seconds, gently shaking the basket. Repeat until the cheese is just starting to ooze out.
- Dump onto paper towel and pat off excess oil gently.
- Serve hot.
Alternate – Mozzarella bites
- Slice mozzarella into cubes 2-3 cm on a side.
- Dip 5-6 bites at a time into the egg.
- Continue with the rest of the recipe as above, and enjoy mozzarella bites.
Onion rings are a type of fast food commonly found in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and other places.
The rings are made from slices of onion, coated with batter, breadcrumbs, flour, or other cooking substance and deep-fried until golden-brown and served as an appetizer. Here is one recipe:
- 5 medium white onions, sliced
- 1 cup milk
- 3 eggs, beaten
- salt, to taste
- 2 cups powdered pancake mix
- parsley sprigs, for garnish
- Separate the sliced onions into rings.
- Combine milk, eggs and salt to taste in mixing bowl.
- Soak onion rings in mixture 30 minutes.
- Place pancake mix in shallow bowl.
- Remove onion rings from milk mixture then dip in pancake mix.
- Deep-fry rings in 375°F (190°C) oil until golden brown.
- Drain fried onion rings on paper towels.
- To create an onion loaf, continue with the following steps:
- Pack fried onion rings loosely, without pressing, into 8″ X 4″ loaf pan.
- Bake in a 400°F (200°C) oven for 10-15 minutes.
- Turn onto serving plate and garnish with parsley.
Tempura is one of the fried foods of Japan. Various meats, fish, and vegetables are dipped in batter and then deep fried until lightly golden.
- 1 egg
- 1 cup ice cold water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Enough oil to fry food
You may also wish to include 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- Heat cooking oil (peanut oil is best) in a deep pan to 340 – 350° F (~171 – 176°C)
- Beat the egg in a bowl and add ice cold water (warmer water will produce a sticky batter and more oily tempura).
- Add flour and mix lightly. Do not overmix batter (a few lumps actually improve the result, adding crispness).
- Dip meat or vegetables briefly in the batter and fry until brown.
- Remove from the oil and drain.
- Serve hot.
If using shrimp, score them a few times crosswise on the underside, to prevent them from curling up during deep frying. Alternatively, skewer them before cooking. Remove the skewers before serving.
Serve over white rice garnished with black sesame seeds, in a bowl of udon noodle soup, or in a bowl of soba noodle soup. Serving in soup will make the cooked batter get mushy, of course.