Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Not-So-Secret Beer Batter Recipe

This beer batter video is from the author of The River Cottage Cookbook, which my cousin Tony is currently reading, and enjoying very much. He has recently moved back to San Francisco to continue his culinary career, and like most young cooks, his appetite for knowledge, both literary and otherwise, is voracious.

Besides a plug for the book, I've posted this because every cook needs to know a simple, easy to remember beer batter – and this is about as simple as it gets. By the way, when he says to fry at 175 degrees Celsius, what he really means is 350 degrees F. Enjoy!


Pyrofish said...

He missed a crucial step, wet doesn't stick to wet. Dredging the fillet in corn starch will give a more even coating with no batterless spots.

If you've ever had beer battered anything and there were spots where the fish was exposed underneath, it wasn't dredged properly.

I don't consider flour an alternative dredge, as you will taste the raw flour.

There is much more to a truly great beer batter, but it isn't in the recipe, it's in the technique and preparation.

Bill W, NH said...

isn't groundnut oil peanut oil to us Yanks? Dark Beer or ???

Chef John said...

yes on the oil, but any veg oil will work also. I use a regular beer, but some like the extra flavor and color of dark. You'll have to buy a few extra and "experiement"

Megan said...

Chef John! I emailed you once about making fish an chips at home and you said it would be better if I go out for fish and chips. I tried it anyway, and they were the best fish and chips I've ever had. Silly!

Chef John said...

well, it is an easy recipe, but the frying usually messes people up. Also, great crispy fries are tough to do, but you a clearly up to the challenge! ;)

childsdish said...

Your reply to bill w nh:


Proof you take your own advise!

Pyrofish said...

I enjoy Fosters in my beer batter. It doesn't have alot of flavor, but it does add a little something to the flavor. Plus, one big can is just enough for 2 cups of flour. That makes alot of batter, but I usually cook for fish fries, so I'm feeding 10-15 people.

Another great addition to the batter is cayenne, and Old Bay. Finishing with panko will put you over the top.

Look up "Good Eats Fry Hard" on Youtube for tips on frying. There's lots to know to not screw it up, and AB is a good source.

Chef John is correct (as usual) when he says most people screw up the frying part.

tobeng said...

Looks simple and good, i would use a lager or ale for a "beerier" taste ;)

For taking batter and cripsy fries to a nutter lever i would recommend Heston Blumenthals fish and chips episode from in search of perfection (whole series is entertaning)

Paul said...

I've tried making beer batter in the past and when eaten fresh its very crispy; however they get "soggy" very quickly.

Any tips for long lasting crispy-ness? =p

Chef John said...

they will stay crisp in a warm oven for a short while, but all batters become soft if the battered item is moist. so, eat it fresh!

Anonymous said...


Noz said...

Man...looks delicious but I avoid fried food like the plague these days.

I'll tell you what though...I've mastered the NO KNEAD DOUGH BREAD system and have made so many variations it's of which uses beer as the wet ingredient....try it with a Hefeweizen...delicious.