Batter for Frying



A mixture of flour and a liquid, known as a batter, is used in many different ways in all regional and national cooking.  

A batter is made with flour, a liquid, a rising agent and sometime herbs and spice to add a particular taste. 
Crepes, muffins, waffles, crespelle and pancakes are made with different batters that have flour in common, but the liquid that is used—either eggs, milk or water—gives the product its own character. Batter is also used to coat food before frying, as can be found in Asian cuisines (batter-fried shrimp, chicken and vegetables), the fish and vegetable tempura famous in the Japanese cookery or the famous southern dish, batter-fried chicken. 


In   Sicily,  we make many different types of batters for frying vegetables, fish or cheese or to make special sweet fried specialties. 

My cousin, Angelo Spadaro, has his own recipe for pastetta, and on holidays, he prepares vegetables, baccala’ and cheese in his original pastetta recipe for the enjoyment of the family and guests.

My mother used to make a very good batter, but Angelo’s recipe is much tastier…especially if you like the taste of anchovies!

Following are three different batter recipes. One of them boasts the simplest egg batter, which absorbs very little oil and is light and tasty. 


Egg Batter   


Eggs batter


In a large bowl, beat with a whisk: 
3 eggs until whites and yolks are blended. Add ½ lb flour a little at a time. 
Beat until mixture is without lumps. 
Set aside, covered, for about half an hour. 


Water or Milk Batter  

Combine in large bowl: 

1 cup of flour 
½ cup of water or milk 
2 tablespoons of olive oil 
1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice 
Add ½ teaspoon of baking soda or ½ oz of yeast, salt to taste and beat with a whisk until mixture is without lumps. 
Set aside covered for a few minutes. 


                           Milk Batter


Angelo Spadaro’s Pastetta  


This is an exceptional true Palermitana pastetta that my cousin, Angelo, prepares for every holiday. If it is made as per the directions that Angelo suggests, you will get exceptional results and you will be making a pastetta with a taste and texture you never achieved before.
A similar frying batter is made all over Sicily using more or less the same ingredients.

By increasing, reducing or substituting some components, the result can be a lighter batter and a crunchy or chewier pastetta.

If you make Angelo’s pastetta following the recipe and preparation literally, the result is a well-balanced batter with a pleasant, pungent taste of anchovies as an undertone and a quality tang incomparable with any other pastetta you have ever tasted.  



· 1 oz yeast 

· 2 cups warm water 

· 1 cup flour 

· 1 tablespoon flour 

· 2 oz can of anchovy fillets, finely minced to a paste 

· 1 large egg 

· 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste 

· ½ cup warm water 

· 1 (additional) cup of flour 





Combine in large bowl  1 oz of yeast, 2 cups of warm water, 1 cup of flour, and beat with a whisk until mixture is without lumps.  
Spoon-out evenly 1 tablespoon of flour on the top of mixture without mixing it in. Set on the side and cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel, keeping it in a warm place for 15 to 30 minutes, until the dough rises and almost doubles in volume.   

Whisk in the anchovy paste, egg, salt, pepper and ½ cup of warm water. Mix it very well. 





Still using the whisk, add the remaining cup of flour, a little at a time, making sure there are no lumps in the batter. 

Cover and set aside for 15 to 30 minutes. Use it to make delicious baccala’, vegetables or cheeses alla pastetta.


To make vegetables in pastella
Wash  and cut all vegetables into pieces.  

Blanch or boil for 5 minutes in abundant water, until tender.

Dry with a clean cloth; drench into flour and dip into batter.  

Deep fry until golden, drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.  

Serve hot.