Tempura Battered Smelt


1 lb Smelt
1 egg yolk
1 cup ice cold sparkling water
1/8 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup rice flour (you can use all-purpose wheat flour, too)


1. Heat enough oil to cover the fish pieces in either a Dutch oven or a deep fryer. You will need about a half gallon. Don’t worry, after you are finished, let the oil cool, strain it to get the bits out, then reuse it. You can reuse oil several times. Heat this oil until it is very hot — about 370 degrees.

2. Salt the pieces of fish well on both sides.

 While the oil is heating, make the batter. Tempura batter needs to be made and used quickly. This is very important.3. Mix together the flour, corn starch, salt and baking soda in one bowl.

4. In another bowl, whisk together the ice cold water — it must be ice cold or this will not work — and the egg yolk.

5. When the oil is hot — and not before — add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk them together until just combined. Do not over mix.

6. Dip the fish pieces in the batter and into the oil. Shake off a little before you put them into the oil, but remember this batter is thin and runny. Do not overcrowd the pot.

7. Fry in batches, at about 2-3 minutes per batch. Drain on a rack set over a paper towel to catch the oil that drips off.