Ken's favourite trout recipes

Tempura Trout

Trout fillet makes a delicious crunchy starter or post-angling snack after a long day wading the rivers. Cook in small batches and serve piping hot with a tangy ginger, wasabi and soy dipping sauce.

The secret of batter

Much has been written on secret batters for fish and other deep-fried objects - and, whatever your Mum or Grandma may have told you, it is nearly all wrong. Don't beat your batter or let it stand!! For deep frying to perfection the flour must not be allowed to become “glutinised”. Never, ever add whole eggs. To get a light, crisp coat the mixture should be as runny as thickened cream - and it doesn't matter if it has a few lumps! (If it looks like pancake batter, use it to repair your waders!)

Ingredients

Half a cup of white flour
Half a cup of rice flour or corn flour
1 cup ice cold water (use ice cubes if necessary).
1 teaspoon salt
I egg white - beaten into stiff peaks.
Pinch of 5-spice powder

500 gms trout fillet, pin bones removed (use tweezers) and chopped into bite sized chunks - about 4 x 1cm is perfect.
6 thin slices lightly steamed sweet potato, halved
6 stringless beans, cut into 2 cm lengths, steamed al dente

Dipping sauce

1-2 teaspoons wasabi paste (Japanese green horseradish. Careful - it's hot!).
100 ml light soy sauce.
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
Splash of dry sherry or mirin
I teaspoon brown sugar

Method

Heat oil to 180 deg C in a deep saucepan. (Allow some freeboard for foaming room).

Sift the flour and salt together, stir in the icy cold water with a fork or chopsticks until the mixture forms a slightly lumpy solution. Fold in the beaten egg-white carefully with the fork. There should be clumps of egg white and small lumps of flour in the mix - these will make it crispy and interesting. (A small sieve is very handy for removing batter dags from the hot oil before you cook the next batch.)

The oil should be hot by the time you have made the batter. Use the batter immediately. Dip your trout pieces and veg to coat lightly and deep fry in small batches for about 2 minutes until the batter starts to colour. Drain on kitchen paper.

Serve immediately with the dipping sauce. Any leftover pieces make a delicious snack eaten cold while fishing the next day.

Beer batter

As above - but omit the egg white and use cold beer instead of water. The beer should be icy, and the batter used as it foams.