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The Best Tips and Techniques for Batter Frying

When we need a light, fluffy batter for deep-frying, we turn to the classic Japanese method of tempura-frying for addictive fried results with a feather-light crust. 

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Photography by: Bryan Gardner

These tips will make your batter better and keep it light and crunchy:

 

1. USE BUBBLES

Our secret ingredient for the lightest results imaginable is chilled club soda. The bubbles from the carbonation are suspended in the batter, producing crisp, crunchy results. Whisk together the batter just before using to keep it from going flat. 

Get the Extra-Crisp Vegetable Tempura

2. Keep it Light

For extra-light and crisp results, rice flour is our go-to as it imparts a wonderful lightness that is absent in an all-purpose flour-based batter, making it worth the extra effort when sourcing ingredients for your next foray into deep-frying in the kitchen. Find it at any Asian grocery store or try the ethnic foods aisle at your local supermarket. Corn starch produces similar results. 

 

3. Don't Overmix

Whisk ingredients together until just combined; it's important not to overmix as that produces a dense batter and tougher results.  

 

 

4. Small is Good

Always fry foods in small batches, without overcrowding the pan: the more foods dropped into the oil, the lower the oil temperature and the longer it will take to cook the food. The longer the food sits in the oil, the more oil it will absorb, giving fried foods the greasy, soggy aftertaste most palates would rather do without.  

 

5. Wide and Deep

Use a deep, wide pot for frying -- the wider the pot, the more surface area, making it easier to heat the oil and fry the food. Use a spider (one of Martha's favorite tools), or slotted spoon when frying, to allow the oil to run through, and transfer foods directly to a wire rack set on a baking sheet to drain -- a paper towel-lined surface also does the trick and absorbs any excess oil. 

Watch our Kitchen Conundrums expert Thomas Joseph mix the perfect batter for frying everything from fish fillets to your favorite vegetables:

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About the Author

Teri Tsang Barrett

Teri is a southern California native who left it all to work in magazines in New York City. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, she completed the Culinary Arts program at the Institute of Culinary Education, skipped out on music journalism for the food world and never looked back. She eats everything -- except for water chestnuts -- and does not believe in reduced...

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