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Nyonya Delicacies

Deep Frying Seafood

(Newsletter Issue #017)


How to deep fry seafood

The advantage to deep-frying seafood is that it comes out of the oil intensely hot, crisp and flavorful. No other cooking method creates such a satisfying and distinct contrast between the moist interior and the fragile, crunchy crust. Lean white-fleshed fish fillets are excellent deep-fried, as are shrimp, squid and baby octopus.


Prepare seafood for frying by coating it with something that produces a crust like flour, a bread crumb coating, a light flour and water (or club soda) batter or tempura batter. Flour results in a subtle crust that is barely noticeable. You'll taste more of the fish. Breading and batters make a more apparent, crunchy outer coating. Tempura batter makes the crunchiest coating of all. If you want to emphasize the fish, use a flour coating. If you want to emphasize the crust, use a breading or batter. For lots of crunch, use a tempura batter.


Tempura batter is fundamentally different from other flour-based deep-fry batters. While other batters are mixed until perfectly smooth (and perhaps strained) and then given a rest period to allow the gluten to relax before frying, tempura batter is mixed together at the very last minute. The ingredients are just barely blended together (and therefore contain lumps) and so quickly that the gluten in the flour is never activated.

Deep Fried Flounder Goujonettes

A goujonette is a thin strip of fish cut from a larger fillet, intended to look like a tiny fried fish. Serve fried goujonettes with tartar or gribiche sauce or sprinkled with malt vinegar, fish-and-chips style, as a first course.


1. If the fillets are attached in the center, cut them apart along one side of the thin gristly strip that runs down the middle.
2. Cut the strip off and discard it.
3. Cut the fillets crosswise on the diagonal into strips about 1/2 inch thick and 3 inches long (Those from the ends of the fillets will be shorter)
4. Just before you're ready to fry, toss the goujonettes in flour to coat.
5. Then toss over a drum sieve set over a sheet pan or a large strainer to get rid of the excess flour.
6. As soon as they are floured, fry the goujonettes in 370oF oil for about 5 seconds. Be careful not to overcook. Goujonettes cook very quickly. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

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