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David Ross

Flour Blends for Deep-Frying

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Tonight I'm going to be making some deep-fried squid--but I won't be using the old standby all-purpose flour for dredging the squid. Rather than plain flour, I'll be using a blend of rice flour and constarch. Rice flour adds both flavor and texture to deep-fried dishes and cornstarch adds an incredibly crunchy texture to fried food.

For onion rings, I typically use a fry mix made locally that is a blend of flour, cornstarch, baking powder and spices. When I deep-fry fish I typically use flour and cornstarch for a crispy crust, but I'll leave out the baking powder because I don't want a cake-like crust.

Someday I might experiment with using potato flour as the dredging base for deep-frying, but I'm not sure how potato flour would react in hot oil.

What types of flours or mixtures of flours do you like to use when you are deep-frying?

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About the only two items I fry with any regularity are calamari and squash blossoms.

The blossoms get a light batter of water, rice flour and cornmeal (3/4 to 1/4) and the squid get just rice flour.

Have you ever experimented with cornstarch or rice flour alone?

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Good topic, I have been trying to duplicate the crispy shrimp recipe served at Bonefish Grill, PEi Wei, and Mama Fu's and possibly others. Bonefish calls it Bang Bang shrimp, and Mama Fu's calls it Dynamite Shrimp. The sauce is not difficult to duplicate, but the golden color lightly battered crispy shrimp is not easy. Corn starch gives me the crispy part but I cant get the golden brown color. I've tried rice flour etc. but still not there.

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Interesting: what temp are you frying at the cornstarch is not browning up? I wonder if you could cheat and add something to accelerate the browning action.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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when I make Buffalo Wings, I dredge/dust them in cornstarch. I think it really helps out a lot.

David,

Tell me a bit more about your onion rings. This is something I've been meaning to try out at home. I used to make them "professionally" when was in high school.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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Interesting: what temp are you frying at the cornstarch is not browning up? I wonder if you could cheat and add something to accelerate the browning action.

Sugar would (and does) the trick in a lot of batters. I'm still playing but mixes of flour, fine yellow corn flour, corn starch and sugar (with seasonings) seem to be having the most promise.

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Here in south east Louisiana, we fry almost all seafood in "fish fry" which is a blend of AP flour and corn flour. I can not imagine fried speckled trout or perch with anything else.

On catfish and sometimes oysters, some folks blend in corn meal for an extra crunch, but I am not a fan.

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I really enjoy using "potato flour" whenever I do some frying... just throw a little into the mix, and you get a lot of flavour, crunch and colour on what you're frying.

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Tonight I tested five combinations of flour(s) for deep-frying some large shrimp. Each test involved two shrimp. The shrimp in each test were dipped in a mixture of two whole eggs beaten with a tablespoon of milk, then dredged in the flour blend. The shrimp were deep-fried for two mintues in vegetable oil heated to 350.

All-purpose flour-

Test 1.JPG

Light golden color. Light crispy texture. Mild “pasty” flavor from the flour.

Rice flour (1 cup) and Cornstarch (1/2 cup)

Test 2.JPG

Light golden color. Light crispy texture but more crispy than plain flour, no flavor from the coating to interfere with the flavor of the shrimp, (plain flour had a slight pasty flavor).

Fry Mix (Pride of the West brand)

Test 3.JPG

Mixture of enriched flour, salt, baking powder, sodium bicarbonate, cornstarch, whey, yellow 5 and 6 dye, spices. Slightly deeper golden color, slightly more crispy than rice flour and cornstarch. Had the slightly pasty flour taste of the plain flour sample.

Potato Flour (1 cup) and Cornstarch (1/4 cup)

Test 4.JPG

Clearly the winner when it came to a deep, golden color. Light, crispy texture. A hint of fried potato flavor—I was almost wondering where the side of fries were. This would be a delicious blend for deep-frying fish for your Fish and Chips.

All-purpose flour (1 cup) and Cornstarch (1/4 cup)

Test 5.JPG

My least favorite choice. The color was light golden like the rice flour and cornstarch blend, but it was less crispy and had the most pronounced pasty flavor of all five tests.

Thank you Chef Jonny. Your suggestion of a blend of potato flour and cornstarch won my taste test.

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I do so appreciate when someone does tests such as this! Thank you. I am anxious to try the cornstarch and potato flour combination the next time I deep fry shrimp.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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It's my pleasure... I passed the baking aisle and found this product, trying it on some pan-fried chicken pieces and chili sauce. It held out really well with that satisfying crunch. Great homework David!


Edited by Chef Jonny (log)

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I am not familiar with potato flour- will have to experiment

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Is potato flour the same thing as potato starch? Or is it a different product?

I was also unfamiliar and assumed it was this product. David?

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Chris

So far I've found two products - the "starch" and the "flour". The starch is usually more granular and.... not that good. The flour is a pre-gelatinized product that "puffs" up when fried.... but it doesn't work if you want to go 1:1 with AP flour or rice flour... not enough starch. "Club House" makes an amazing Potato Flour product that I'm more familiar with... local flour distributors sometimes come out with products, but they are never really that good. Hope this helps.

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Is potato flour the same thing as potato starch? Or is it a different product?

I was also unfamiliar and assumed it was this product. David?

You are spot on Heidi, it's Bob's Red Mill Potato Flour. The company is located in the Portland, OR, metro area and we get a lot of their products in markets throughout the Northwest.

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I should say here that Japanese 'kara-age' (most commonly of chicken) uses a seasoned potato flour. Traditionally the flour is 'katakuriko', which strictly speaking is from the root of the 'dog-tooth violet', but nowadays most of the katakuriko that's sold is in fact potato flour / potato starch. Kara-age (literally 'Tang (dynasty) deep fry') is usually nicely crisp but I've never noticed it tasting of potato.


QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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