What makes the most shatteringly crisp breading for deep-fried fish? mamachef recommends a standard mixture of flour, cornmeal, and spices—but the magic is in the method of application. “The key is, you mix half the mix with water and batter the fish, and then roll it in the remainder of the dry mix,” says mamachef.
Veggo uses a mix of finely ground cornmeal, Guinness stout, and powdered chipotle for a fish or shrimp batter that crisps up nicely. celeryroot likes to add rice flour to the batter for extra crispiness. Cornstarch is another popular addition—that’s the secret ingredient that makes Japanese kara-age (fried chicken) so crispy, says Tripeler. And smartie likes a coating of crushed matzo meal.
mamachef has tried using potato flakes in the mix but doesn’t recommend it. “It made for a decent texture vis-à-vis crispness, but it had an undertaste I didn’t care for, and I think it was due to whatever preservative is used in the flakes,” she says.