If deep-frying is a technique you fear, remember these simple rules: You don't need vast quantities of oil. Use a deep pot or wok. Balance the wok on a wok ring to prevent tipping. Fry in small batches to keep the oil at a constant temperature. Use a slotted spoon, tongs or strainer to remove the food before draining on paper towels. Well drained and fried at the proper temperature, food does not absorb much oil.
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Batters for the fish vary by region, but my preferred one is a crisp baking powder version. Use the batter as soon as the baking powder is added to ensure crispness.
Vegetable oil for deep frying
1 cup cold water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 pounds halibut or cod
Cut fish into approximately 2-by-3-inch pieces.
Heat about 1 inch of oil in a wok or deep pot to 375 F or until a cube of bread turns brown in 15 seconds.
Combine water, oil and salt in a mixing bowl. Gradually whisk in 1 cup flour. Stir in baking powder immediately before use, making sure that it is evenly blended.
Season remaining ½ cup flour with salt and pepper and place on a plate. Dredge the fillets in the seasoned flour and dip them, one at a time, in the batter.
Drop fillets into hot oil, cooking for 4 to 6 minutes, or until puffed and brown and fish is cooked. Drain fillets on paper towels. Serve with chips.