Fish is a popular dish to cook in a deep fat fryer, you only have to think of the traditional British dish of Fish and Chips to understand the popularity. But there can often be problems such as the fish sticking to the deep fat fryer basket.
There are a number of ways in which you can stop fish sticking to the side of a deep fat fryer basket, these include making sure the oil is hot enough, not overcrowding the basket, and moving the fish around. These simple methods can change the way you cook and the results of your fish.
In this article, I am going to talk about why fish sticks to the side of a deep fat fryer basket, how to prevent it and what you can do to ensure you cook your fish just how you want without any mess or fuss.
Why Is Fish Sticking To The Side Of A Deep Fat Fryer Basket?
Anytime you are frying something, you run the risk of it sticking to the sides of your cooking vessel. The number #1 reason why your fish would be sticking to your deep fryer basket is user error.
If you are leaving your fish alone while it is frying and are not taking the proper steps to ensure that it cooks properly, it is very likely that it will stick to the sides and become a mess.
Some of the reasons your fish might be sticking to the basket include:
- You aren’t moving your fish around enough.
- You are inserting your fish into the basket wrong.
- You did not allow enough preheating time.
- The oil is not hot enough.
- You are putting too much food in your basket.
- You are using too much batter.
If you don’t want to lose some of that delicious batter, take the following steps to fix these issues and make sure that you are using your deep fat fryer properly.
How To Stop Fish From Sticking To The Side Of A Deep Fat Fryer Basket
There are a few key things you can do to easily keep your fish from sticking to the sides of your deep frying basket. Keep in mind that you may need to try one or more of them in combination with each other in order to achieve success.
However, using these methods should make an instant difference in your deep frying results.
Move The Fish Around
Just like you would flip a burger when grilling or stir your veggies while sautéing, you must do the same thing when frying fish. Whenever you are frying a dish of any kind, it is very beneficial to move it around.
As tempting as it may be, you never want to just “set it and forget it” when you are frying something. You will still need to keep an eye on your fish while it is cooking and occasionally pick it up with tongs and move it around in the basket.
Alternatively, you can pick up the entire basket and gently shake or move it around in the oil (just as you would see in a restaurant) depending on how your fryer works. Just make sure to follow all safety instructions for your specific equipment.
Prepare The Fryer First – Then Add Food
Many people want to load up their basket with their battered fish first, and then lower it into the oil. However, fry cooks agree, this is the wrong order of operations if you want to achieve a nice golden brown food that doesn’t stick to the sides of the basket.
Instead, you want to lower your basket into the oil while it is still empty, and then slowly and gently add your battered fish.
If you can dip your fish into the oil first with tongs, allowing the oil to fully coat the fish, and THEN let the fish slowly go into the basket – you will achieve an even greater result. The more you allow your battered food to absorb the hot oil before dropping it into the basket, the better.
Most importantly, be careful and make sure that you aren’t getting your fingers too close to the hot oil. You can use tongs or a slotted spoon to gently lower the fish into the oil.
Make Sure Your Oil Is Hot Enough
Piggybacking off the prior topic, if your oil is not hot enough when you are placing your battered fish into the oil, it will not have a chance to properly coat the fish as it sinks down into the basket. Preheating your oil and basket are important, as is setting the right temperature in the first place.
Instead of rushing things, be sure to wait until your oil has had enough time to heat up to at least 350F. This will give you a much better chance of avoiding stuck batter. You want the oil to be hot enough to begin to instantly cook your fish and batter the moment you stick it in the pot.
Don’t Crowd The Basket
Even if you are following all of the proper steps above, your fish may still be sticking to the sides of the basket if you are crowding the basket or putting too many pieces of fish into the basket all at once.
Pieces of battered fish should be gently lowered into the basket 1 at a time, and you should take care to ensure that they are not stacked on top of each other so full that the fish has nowhere to go but next to the sides of the basket.
If you are preparing a large portion of fish in your fryer, make sure that you prepare it in batches to give your food enough chance to cook properly.
Don’t Use Too Much Batter
Although less likely, it is possible that you could be using too much batter. Especially if you have a small fryer and fry basket, using the wrong amount of batter could be causing your fish to stick more often than not. The more batter you use, the higher the likelihood for it to get stuck.
You’ll want to use just enough batter to evenly coat your fish without lumps and clumps sticking out that could get stuck to the basket sides. After all, no one wants to eat a mouthful of fried batter anyway.