Yes, I have a formula. And it’s something I developed over years and years. Trial and error. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Disney’s National Treasure. Ben Gates and Riley are talking about how to steal the Declaration of Independence, and Riley assures Ben it is impossible.
Ben: You know, Thomas Edison tried and failed nearly 2,000 times to develop the carbonized cotton-thread filament for the incandescent light bulb.
Ben: And when asked about it, he said “I didn’t fail; I found out 2,000 ways how not to make a light bulb,” but he only needed one way to make it work…”
Getting my batter right felt kind of like that. First, I had to find out what didn’t work. Then, I discovered a way to make it work. After that, I developed an even better formula.
What batter formulas don’t work?
- A mixture of wheat flour and water (the crust is too dense)
- A mixture of cornstarch and water (if the batter is thick, the crust is dense and tough)
- A mixture of flour, egg and water (the crust becomes bread-like and turns soggy fast as it cools)
- A mixture of wheat flour, cornstarch and water BUT only if the batter is thin.
- A mixture of egg, wheat flour and cornstarch but, again, only if the batter is thin.
What works best?
A mixture of egg white (beaten until frothy), wheat flour and starch. No water. Cornstarch is okay but potato starch is best. The batter should be on the thin side so it coats the food lightly. The batter expands into a cloud during frying.
So, how much flour and starch for one egg white? Well, egg sizes vary so the amount of egg white varies too. You’ll get less egg white from a small egg and much more from an extra-large egg.
As a tweakable guide, for one egg white, it will be anywhere from a tablespoon to two teablespoons of flour and an equal amount of starch.
Note to self: It might be a good idea to recook old recipes with battered meat, chicken and seafood using the newest and best formula for making batter.