How to make perfect batter fried foods

Crispy, golden brown fried foods are hard to resist. But mastering this technique that delivers a crunchy exterior with a moist and tender inside can be quite overwhelming to home cooks. Here are some basic tips to help you get it right. 

Get the right pot

Use a deep, wide pot for frying or a deep fryer. 

Choose the oil 

Oils like vegetable, coconut, peanut, canola, and corn are best. If reusing oil, it must be filtered through a fine-mesh sieve to discard any particles. Do not ever mix used oil with new.

Make the Perfect Batter 

You will need flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt and in a separate mixing bowl, combine water, beaten egg, and oil. Add wet ingredients to dry and combine until mixed. 
Don’t over mix or it can become too thick.

The right temperature 

To prevent oily food cook on high temperatures. 

Don't crowd the fryer 

Always fry foods in small batches or overcrowding will lower the oil's temperature which can result in food that's not properly deep-fried


Use a heatproof mesh or slotted spoon to retrieve fried foods and lay on a wire rack or on paper towels to drain excess oil. 

Tempering - what it is and how to do it right

Tempering is a common word associated with Asian cooking and is a traditional method to extract the full flavor from spices. The key to making a delicious meal is not only choosing the right spices, but adding them in the right order and tempering them correctly. Ingredients typically used are cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, fennel seeds, fresh green chilies, dried red chilies, fenugreek seeds, , cloves,  curry leaves, chopped onion, garlic and ginger.

Here are some tips to follow;

  • If making a curry, temper at the start. If making dhal or a sambar, best to do it at the end. Use a separate pan and add it to the cooked dish.
  • You don’t need lots of oil, a tablespoon or two will do. Ghee or vegetable oil is best. It should be very hot at first, then reduce to a medium and add the spices. 
  • Add the seeds (fenugreek, mustard or cumin etc) first, followed by other dry ingredients. 
  • You will know tempering is complete when the spices are crackling or have changed colour. Seeds should have popped in the oil. 
  • If spices get burnt it will spoil the whole flavor of the dish so heat control is key. 
  • Do not temper fresh herbs.