Recipe - fish and chips main courses seafood recipes

Fried Fish with Vodka and Beer Batter

By Peggye Marks on Aug 05, 2022

Seeing we source a lot of seafood from New Zealand and Australia, naturally fried fish has evolved as an important part of our identity. Having searched many a recipe, this has become one of our favorites. It works for both Fish and Chips or creating a Baja style Fish Taco. Why Vodka in the batter, you ask? There's a chemical reaction that occurs allowing the batter to dehydrate quicker when cooking, giving it a lighter and crispier texture. Almost like a tempura batter. Give it a try. You'll see what we mean.


1 1/2 Pounds Halibut, skinless (or use any mild-flavored boneless, skinless white fish such as Tarakihi, Barramundi, Mahi-Mahi, Bass, or Snapper)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4Cups white rice flour, plus more for dusting
2-3 Quarts vegetable or peanut oil for deep-frying
1 1/4Cups all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 1/4 Cups vodka
1 1/4 Cups lager beer
Fried Fish with Vodka and Beer Batter


1. Rinse fish fillets and dry with paper towels. Season well with salt and pepper and dust with rice flour shaking off any extra. Set aside.

2. Place a wide, deep pan such as a Dutch Oven or large wok over medium heat.  Add oil to a depth of at least 1 1/2 inches and bring to 350F degrees on a deep-fry or candy thermometer. (See Cook’s note below)

3. In a medium bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, rice flour, baking powder and salt.  Slowly stir in the vodka and beer to make a batter. Whisk gently. Don’t overwork the batter, a few lumps are okay. (If you over mix the batter, you’ll start to develop the flour’s gluten creating a more chewy crust). Place the batter in the refrigerator while preparing rest of recipe. Don’t make batter ahead of time as you’ll lose the bubbles from the lager which add an airiness to the batter).

4. Dip one fillet into batter to coat it completely. Hold by a corner and let excess batter drip into bowl, then lower into hot 350F oil.  Repeat with the other fillets. Do not overcrowd the pan as the fish needs to have oil surrounding it without touching other fillets. When undersides of fillets are golden brown, after 1-2 minutes, turn and brown the other sides another minute or two.  Lift from oil, drain on a plate lined with paper towels, then serve.

Cook’s Note:  When frying fish, never crowd your pan and always make sure you bring the oil back to 350F before dropping in more fish.  If it’s colder, you will end up with soggy, oily battered fish.  If it’s hotter, you run the risk of burning the batter, cooking it faster than the fish.  There is a magic temperature gap between 350F – 375F that will give you perfectly fried fish every time.