Shallow Fried Fish

6 minutes - 10 minutes
to cook

I have evocative memories of my grandmother shallow-frying skate wings, her favourite fish, which she first dipped in seasoned flour - they were golden and crisp at the edges and there were always special Victorian bone-handled fish knives and forks on the table.

The Delia Online Cookery School: You can watch how to make Shallow Fried Fish in our video. Just press the image to play.

This recipe is from the Delia Online Cookery School.

  • method
  • Ingredients


Just sift the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into a mixing bowl, then gradually add the water, whisking continuously until the batter is smooth and free from lumps.

Heat the oil on a high heat. Meanwhile pat the fish dry with some kitchen paper and remove any stray bones. Then put the fillets into the batter and turn them over a few times to make sure they are evenly coated with the batter (a rubber spatula is useful here). To check if the oil is hot enough, drop half a teaspoon of batter into the oil. If the batter immediately rises to the surface and the oil bubbles all around it and it turns golden within sixty seconds the oil is hot enough to fry.

Now take one of the fillets and turn it over in the batter again and then holding it at either end, lay it flat in the hot oil, skin side up, then quickly do the same with the second fillet. Next reduce the temperature down a little and set the timer for 3 minutes. When the time is up use a fish slice to lift up the fillet and if it’s golden, turn it over with the slice, and a fork to help steady it, so that the oil doesn’t splash. Then do the same with the second fillet and give them another 3 – 4 minutes. Remove with a fish slice and drain on some kitchen paper and serve on warm plates with some Maldon salt and malt vinegar.

Serve with our Chunky Tartare Sauce which you can watch being made in our Cookery School Video for Hollandaise and Mayonnaise on this page.


2 white fish fillets, not too thick - a plaice fillet, divided into two lengthways or sea bass fillets or tail ends of cod or haddock. They should not be more that 1 cm thick and be small enough to sit comfortably alongside each other
1 teaspoon baking powder
100ml chilled water or pale ale


You will need a 24cm diameter frying pan.

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