“Yes, beer is used to make those fabulous crunchy fish fillets. I believe it’s an Irish recipe and they serve very good fish and chips at Mulligan’s.” My friend Iya (Santos) told me. I was inquiring for a nice fish coating recipe for my cream dory and Iya came up with a better idea than plain eggs and flour.
Beer, I thought silently. I am not a beer drinker and in fact find beer to have a repulsive taste. Not that I’m anti-liquor, it just that I never got used to it. Although I have tried drinking a bottle or two in my youth, I find its taste disagreeable aside from the fact that beer makes me dizzy in an unpleasant way. This is why the idea of substituting beer for water in my fish batter disturbed me a little.
What if I get drunk after eating? What if Makus develops a stomach ache later? I hope not. Marvin isn’t comfortable with the taste of beer too and his meticulous taste buds might discern the metal-ish flavor of malt. I agree though, they taste good. I once had the pleasure of trying out Fish n Co.’s Fish and Chips (Iya mentioned earlier that it has beer in it’s recipe) and they’re really delicious that I didn’t even notice the taste of beer in the batter. If beer is truly used in that recipe as Iya claims, I admit it’s not a bad idea at all. I have all the ingredients for the making the batter and only the beer is missing. I’m going Oirish tonight.
Okay, I am sold to the idea of using beer, but I’m preferring the one with the light alcohol content, and not the strong one. I don’t want Makus to have some unexplainable funny feeling after eating dinner. I got a can of San Mig light (and really hope this would work) and immediately went to work on my batter. I really wish the fish fillets would turn out as nice as the ones they offer in Irish pubs, otherwise I’ll be wasting ingredients and time in this failed experiment.
By the way Iya dropped by the house today to see Makus, her godson and to spend time with him. She reckon Halloween is Makus’ favorite time of the year, so she came in with some Halloween paraphernalia like vampire fangs, red horn head-bands, a golden Victorian mask and a cute dragon jester’s head piece. She wouldn’t miss this year’s Halloween celebration with Makus so they both decided to spend it together in advance.
While the two were excitedly trying out costume after costume and posing for pictures, I was busy in the kitchen, preparing our dinner – Beer Batter Cream Dory fillets with garlic-mayo dip.
After thawing, my cream dory’s filleted meat turned very soft that I had to use a very sharp knife, the kind that could slice a meat in one pass. A sharp knife is best to clean cut a filleted fish to prevent the segments from being separated from each other.
After I’m done slicing each filleted slab in 1/2 inch-size, I separated it and worked on my beer batter.
In a deep, big bowl, I sifted the flour along with baking powder, salt, pepper and paprika. I set it aside for while to work on my wet ingredients.
In a mixing bowl, I beat the two eggs with a wire whip until they are smooth. Then I added the beer and continued mixing until ingredients are well blended. I poured the flour on the beer mixture little by little, while slowly whisking it to prevent lumps from being formed in the batter. That’s it. I just kept on mixing the batter until it’s smooth. Out of curiosity, I tasted the raw batter when it’s done and I should say my nose traced the scent of beer right away. I tasted the beer too. Goodness! I hope this is normal. I know it’s crazy saying that when I know very well that there’s beer in it, only that I was hoping the flour would hide the scent of beer.
Global parsley has no taste and I added it just for color contrast.
I set it aside for a while so I could work on my oil.
I poured the oil in my small pot then applied medium heat under it.
To check if my oil is ready, I tested it by dipping a small portion of the fish in it. If oil bubbles appear at once, they’re ready. If not, I heat it up some more. (Deep-frying flour in oil must be done when oil is really hot, otherwise oil will end up being absorbed by the flour instead of instant searing.)
I dipped each fish segment in the batter and fried them by batches since my pot can only hold so few. I fry them in batches because frying so many at the same time will cool the oil down.
After 3 minutes of frying, I fished out the fillets from oil and transferred them into a metal sieve to drain oil. For good measure, I shook the fillets in a paper towel to remove excessive oil some more.
The dip I prepared for my beer batter cream dory is a simple garlic aioli, combining 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 tbsp water, and a pinch of salt, very little sugar and a clove of crushed garlic mixed together in a bowl.
I served my beer batter cream dory (to the waiting little she-devil, dragon jester and the vampire) while it was still hot and crunchy.
I’m not sure if this is the correct way to make beer batter, but it worked for me. If you have any suggestions of how to make better beer batter, please let me know.
Remarks about the beer batter cream dory during meal:
Makus: “What? This is beer? Am I okay to ‘eat’ beer? How come it’s not bitter? This is so good; I think I’m going to get drunk later.”
Marvin: “Given this is delicious, but I think cream dory is too soft to batter up and fry. Let’s try sturgeon next time.” (He’s right, cream dory’s meat is softer than ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ feel. Actually, it gave a slippery and almost gelatinous feel to the tongue, making me wonder if the fish is indeed cooked or is it still raw. It is delicious nonetheless.)
Iya: “I told you, you won’t notice the taste of beer.” (She’s right too. The beer batter itself came out as crispy as expected and with a delightful zest without the bitterness of beer.)
After dinner, Makus slowly walked towards me as he was stroking his tummy. “I ate so many. I left no prisoners! I ate them all! I kept on eating the beer batter cream dory because they were so soft, crispy and easy to munch on, I didn’t notice that I am so loaded already. I feel like my gut’s about to explode.”
I believe him. That’s flour expanding in his tummy, making him feel so full. Moral lesson: Don’t over stuff your tummy ever again.
Marvin on the other hand had no issues with having beer in his cream dory dinner. I guess he didn’t even notice until we told him that he is eating beer.
Makus relaxed for a while and joined Ninang (godmother) Iya again when he was feeling better.
We were actually aiming for a ghoulish ambiance but it turned out to be different. We had fun though and we hope to do this again with Iya next year. I also had a few pictures of me wearing a mask.
Phew! I look better with the mask on.
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