My family are convinced I watch too much of the BBC foodie series, Come Dine with Me 😛 Often recording many episodes to mull over and try and create an alternative to the gluten, dairy and sugar versions. This recipe was no exception, and in watching the various programmes, I hankered after the fish that doesn’t have a fishy taste, in Monkfish. A call to our local fishmonger a few weeks ago requesting he contact me when he receives fresh stock, came in at a very opportune moment and I decided to try out this version of a Paleo batter, a similar recipe using cornstarch and beer was used on an episode of Come Dine with Me for pub-styled fish and chips.
While this recipe does not include beer, the ingredients for the batter are simple, 3 in fact, tapioca flour, egg whites and salt to taste! I had particular fun making the batter, involving my kids in first separating the egg whites from the yokes, then whisking up the eggs to stiff peaks as for meringues – and holding the bowl over our heads one we were confident that that the desired state had been reached…priceless cooking moments, even to a mom of boys!
What was imperative in this recipe was the method of cooking…while on the TV episode, a deep fryer was used, and I am loathe to deep fry any of my foods, I realised that extra-virgin coconut oil, which has a high heat and smoke point for cooking, [while I do not have a temperature guage or thermometer for measuring the heating point of the oil, heating it on stove setting 7, until melted and hot, and reducing it to 6 when frying the fish, worked well] was the perfect oil to fry the fish in, although a slightly larger amount was used than what I am accustomed to cooking with, this has indeed proved to be the correct oil for frying the battered fish – which turned out exactly like pub-styled fish, ensuring the batter provided a crispy coating and an amazing cover for the monkfish.
Any firm white fish may be used in this recipe, from hake to kingklip – they will all work well with this amazingly easy to make batter. Very simiar to my Tempura batter, using soda water, I prefer this egg white and tapioca flour one – and that it cooks to a crisp, so very perfectly!
500g – 750g monkfish fillets or any fillets of firm white fish like Hake, Cape Whitting, Kingklip
½ cup Tapioca flour for batter + ½ cup tapioca flour for dredging the fish fillets
3 egg whites
Himalayan or Sea salt to taste
4-6 tblsp extra-virgin coconut oil for frying the fish
- Wash the fish, allow the water to drain off well and pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper
- Add the coconut oil to a non-stick frying pan to melt, then turn up the heat to setting 7 to allow the oil to heat up.
- While the oil is heating, prepare your batter.
- Add the egg whites to a glass bowl and beat the eggs with a hand or electric whisk until stiff. Fold in the tapioca flour and salt and carefully mix until well combined.
- With the oil ready to fry, dredge fish fillets first in tapioca and then dip in batter (you will have to use your fingers to spread the batter evenly over the fish, this will be thick and gooey)
- Add the fish carefully into the pan
- The fish will take about 7 minutes in total to cook, depending on their sizes, allowing you to gently and carefully flip the over after 3-4 minutes. Smaller pieces of fish will take less time and of course this will vary depending on the temperature of the coconut oil.
- The battered fish is ready to be removed from the oil when a light golden brown hue has been reached and the fish is cooked.
- Carefully remove the fish from the hot oil, place on absorbent paper towel or a cooling rack, until you are ready to serve.
- I served the fish with baked sweet potato chips and Paleo mayonnaise, which delivered a tasty pub-grub in this fish and chips