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Homemade Beer BatterBy Vicki McClure Davidson
It's difficult to believe that there are pre-made batter mixes out there that people buy (at a huge mark-up), and yet, still need to add eggs to it to create this easy batter. Or, they buy an overpriced package from the frozen food section of the store, but the fried batter doesn't have the lightness and tastiness of homemade.
This is easy and cheap to do yourself — and it's a fun way (although fattening, so don't do it too often) to present vegetables to children differently at dinner. It is also a terrific way to use up small leftover amounts of cooked meat pieces.
Be careful to not let the oil get too hot, or you may end up being splattered with hot oil (painful) or may burn the lovely batter (also painful). When entertaining, making a big platter of beer-battered vegetables (larger, sturdier vegetables do best as fried battered finger food, like fresh broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper chunks, mushrooms, etc.) with several dipping sauces (homemade, of course) are delicious, inexpensive hors d'oeuvres. Beer-battered cheese cubes (use the harder cheeses, like Cheddar) are also wonderful, as are any number of meats or seafood.
Homemade Beer Batter
- 2 c. flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Dash of black pepper
- 12 oz. beer (any kind—the cheaper, the better; must be flat before using)
- 3 egg whites
- Cooking oil (canola, corn) or shortening, enough to fill bottom of cooking pan by at least three inches
- 2 c. of your choice of sliced, firm vegetables (zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, cauliflower, bell or chili peppers, broccoli, green beans, carrots, parsnips, etc.), seafood, or cooked cubed meat
Combine and mix well in bowl the flour, salt, and flat beer (open can and let stand 30 minutes, if necessary).
In a separate bowl, beat the 3 egg whites until soft peaks form. Stir in a small amount of the beaten egg whites to the flour mix to lighten the mix. Then add the remainder of whites, folding lightly, but thoroughly to combine.
Slice raw vegetables or fish, shrimp, cubed cooked chicken, etc. Heat cooking oil or shortening in a deep pan on the stove (use enough oil so that it will cover the slices, at least 3 inches high from bottom). Heat oil until it is just starting to bubble (be careful to not make it too hot, or you could burn the batter). Dip the vegetable or meat pieces, one at a time, into the batter. Then carefully drop into the oil and cook until the batter is puffed and golden.
Any extra batter can be covered and stored immediately in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. If raw fish or seafood has been put into the batter, use it up sooner. It may start to separate, so when you are going to use it, gently fold it from the bottom up.
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