Based on Heston Blumenthal’s magnificent fish and chips batter, this recipe swaps the alcohol in the original for a cold can of seltzer. The carbonation keeps the batter airy and light while the rice flour makes it potato-chip crisp. If made with regular water, the batter fries up pale and hard, so don’t skip the seltzer, no matter how tempting. This is absolutely aces for dunking shrimp, squid, onion rings, fronds of kale or spinach, thin planks of sweet potato, enoki mushrooms, zucchini blossoms, and anything else that will cook through in under 10 minutes. Big pieces of meat (like chicken thighs) won’t fare so well because their long cook time will need a far sturdier batter.
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Makes about 2½ cups
cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
cup (107 g) rice flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
tsp. baking powder
tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more
12-oz. can seltzer
Vegetable oil (for frying; about 11 cups)
lb. food of choice
Vigorously whisk 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour, ¾ cup (107 g) rice flour, ½ tsp. baking powder, and ½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt in a large bowl to combine. Pour in one 12-oz. can seltzer, whisking constantly to ensure a lump-free batter.
Pour vegetable oil (for frying; about 11 cups) into a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot to come 2″ up sides. Heat over medium-high until a thermometer, preferably a digital instant-read, inserted into the oil registers 350°. Working in batches, dip 1 lb. food of choice into batter, gently shaking off excess. Slide into oil and cook, stirring and turning occasionally to prevent sticking, until golden brown, 4–8 minutes, depending on the size of your food.
Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer food to a large plate or rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels and let drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt while still hot.
Do ahead: Dry ingredients for batter can be combined 3 months ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.