Amy’s all-purpose batter

Amy’s famous batter makes a light, loose and crispy coating for anything from eggplant and zucchini to soft-shelled crab and shrimp. Many have stood at the kitchen counter, watching her every movement, hanging on to every vague instruction and approximate measure, hoping to learn the secret; not a one has yet to succeed. Repeated pleas to commit this recipe to paper for generations to come have yielded no less than three versions with (thankfully) consistent ingredient lists but wildly varying proportions. Is this the definitive version? Probably not, but we’re getting close.

all-purpose flour – 3 Tbsp
corn starch – 1 Tbsp
baking powder – 1 tsp
water – 4 Tbsp (may need some adjustment)
herbs – optional

This is what Amy calls “1 portion”. 3 portions will do for most jobs (e.g., 2 medium zucchini, 2 Japanese eggplants, 4 soft-shelled crabs).

Mix together all the dry ingredients. Slowly add the water while steadily stirring the mixture. Let the batter stand for an hour or so at room temperature until you see many small bubbles dotting the surface. If you’re absolutely in a rush, you can do 30 minutes (it won’t be as light) or substitute the water with beer or soda water.

Dip whatever you want to fry in the batter, fry, salt generously as soon as the whatever is removed from the oil, and serve immediately.

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