¾ cup plus one tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ cup corn flour (not corn meal, use masa harina if you can’t find corn flour)
1 tablespoon corn starch
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups seltzer water, refrigerated
2 pounds any flaky white fish such as cod or haddock, cut into 2–3 inch pieces *
Canola oil for frying (need oil depth to be higher than the thickness of your fish)
Table salt to sprinkle on cooked fish
The trick to perfect tempura is to have extremely cold batter and very hot oil. The resulting fried product will have the perfect crispy light coating. Batter temperature and oil temperature are critical to success.
Take a small stainless-steel bowl and add both flours, corn starch and salt and whisk. Then put the bowl into the freezer for 20 minutes.
Heat oil in a wok or other pan to 375 degrees F and try to keep it at that temperature.
Once the oil is hot and the small bowl has chilled, fill a larger bowl with ice and insert the smaller bowl into the ice to keep it very cold, then whisk in the seltzer water. The batter will be thin.
Let it sit over the ice for five minutes then whisk again.
Dry the fish pieces with paper towels and then fry by dipping in the batter and dropping into the hot oil. (You may need to fry in batches to keep the oil at 375 degrees F.)
They will sink to the bottom and when fully cooked, will rise to the top and float, about 2-3 minutes depending on how thick the pieces are. You may need to dislodge them slightly from the bottom with tongs, a spider or strainer right after you drop them in.
Once they are cooked, remove using the spider to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle on a little salt. Scoop out all the cooked batter pieces* that float to the top before cooking the next batch.
*Full disclosure, the crispy batter pieces that float to the top are delicious. We devoured them.
Serve in baskets with tartar sauce, or make fish tacos.
*Realizing that a lot of people do not have access to fresh fish, I purposely made this with frozen cod loins found in the freezer case of my local supermarket. Haddock, catfish, flounder, sole or tilapia are other good choices.
Keywords: tempura fish nuggets