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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.

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.

Servings: 4


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.