June 9, 2017

Building Beautiful Batters: Structural and Flavoring Successes

Step up your fried food game with these batter tips.
A great batter can be the difference between a standout dish and an average one. Battered foods come in many forms, and Austin culinary arts students can use the following advice to make sure all of their own efforts result in delicious, flavorful and well-seasoned success:

Improving on basic batter recipes

“A great batter can make a standout dish.”

There are many different batters, both basic and more advanced, that can be applied to a wide variety of foods. Some chefs gravitate toward specific mixtures, while others will utilize different recipes frequently. No matter what type of food you’re frying, consider this advice from Martha Stewart to bring out the best in your batter:

  • Club soda adds a light, crisp texture: Using cold club soda in the place of water or other liquids when making a batter introduces carbonation into the mix, adding an additional crunch that goes beyond basic batters. Experiment with this addition in your favorite batter recipes and remember to coat food and fry quickly afterward so the club soda doesn’t go flat.
  • Substitute rice flour or corn starch for all-purpose flour for a lighter profile: A heavy batter can be desirable at times, but there are plenty of applications where a lighter end product is preferable. Substitute rice flour – or corn starch, which leads to similar results – for the all-purpose flour regularly used in batter to reduce the heaviness of the dish.

Making these changes can improve the textural and flavor profiles of a dish without drastically altering the taste or presentation. When you have a few great batters developed, it’s time to think about seasoning.

Changing tastes with seasoning and flavoring

A batter that’s more than just a liquid and a flour or other ground grain can impart extra flavor to the crunchy shell. It can also lead to a more fully developed profile for the dish, including different tastes that blend together in the mouth. What seasonings can you use to improve your batters? Consider some of the following options:

  • Granulated onion, garlic powder, smoked paprika: Bon Appetit suggested these additions as a surefire way to combat the scourge of bland batter and provide a more flavorful meal. Use the judgment you’ve developed as a culinary student to decide if one or many are the best addition for your specific dish. There are plenty of other seasonings to consider, but these are a good start when you want to add zing in your flavors without getting too spicy.
  • Chili powder, red pepper flakes, hot sauce: These ingredients offer heat that can bring out the meaty flavor in classic fried food like chicken wings without overpowering the dish – as is possible with sauces added after the fact. Consider mixing in some type of hot pepper derivative to spice up your next dish.

A great batter goes a long way toward a delicious dish. Consider these ingredients the next time you’re planning to heat up the oil and mix some batter.