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A few months back I made beer-batter fish. I don't remember the exact recipe I used but I think I got it from foodnetwork.com. I fried in vegetable oil at 350. Everything came out OK, but the breading seemed to peel clean off of the fish while eating rather than sticking to it. Are there any tricks for prep/cook to prevent this from happening?

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6 Answers 6

I usually dredge the fish in plain flour first and then the beer batter. I actually made beer battered fish tacos for dinner last night and the batter stuck perfectly.

It probably also depends on your batter consistency. The recipe I use says the batter should be slightly more liquid than pancake batter.

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Give your fish a light dusting of corn starch before dredging in the batter. Flour works to some extent but without gluten formation flour is working as a drying agent more than anything else. Corn starch is, as its name implies, a starch which will actually act as a weak glue when heated wet. Just don't pile it on. dredge each fillet in the corn starch and tap off the excess until you're left with a thin, uniform layer. Your batter will stick to the corn starch, which will stick to the fish.

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Shaking off the excess is probably more important than the exact starch used -- you don't want to be sticking the batter onto cornstarch or flour that isn't actually sticking to the fish. –  Joe Jul 20 '10 at 1:42
    
I can agree with that. Corn starch is likely more common in US households than other forms of starch. You could experiment with any neutrally-flavored starches such as Wondra flour, tapioca powder, arrowroot, etc. –  yock Jul 20 '10 at 1:45
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If you did AB's recipe, you need to lightly dredge the fish in cornstarch as @yock mentioned. You should also make sure that the batter is cold -refrigerate for 15 minutes to an hour at most. It turns out pretty good if you follow that recipe.

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+1, for being an AB fan. –  Pretzel Aug 12 '10 at 16:52
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Pretty sure that the problem you are having is moisture; here's how I do it.

Take the fillets, pack them with flour and set them on a wire trivet and let them dry a bit and then shake them off then let them dry some more. When the outside of the fish is dry to the touch I dip them carefully in the batter and cook them. This method seals the fish inside the batter 'envelope' holding in the juices for that first delicious bite.

Note that if the batter is too thick the outside of the batter will contract so much faster than the inside that it will crack, allowing fat in and letting the juices out.

While the last of the fish is cooking I will add an egg, some cornmeal and spices etc to the left over batter and make hush puppies in the same pan I cooked the fish in.

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+1 ... but now I want hush puppies. –  Joe Jul 21 '10 at 2:14
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If it's English style beer battered fish the batter "shouldn't" stick to the fish otherwise it will be too dry or soggy depending on which way you go rather than light and crisp. To be light and crisp it should not adhere to the surface of the fish too closely.

Breaded fish is a different matter. Take a look at the pic here:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/7785/golden-beerbattered-fish-with-chips

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Be sure to pat the fish dry as completely as you can. Don't salt the fish beforehand to avoid drawing out any moisture.

Also, like Frankie suggested, dip the fish slowly into the oil. Dipping it slowly allows some of the initial moisture to escape and lets the batter cling to the fish before there's a shell of batter holding in all the moisture.

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