This crispy fried capelin or better known as 多春魚 has always been one of my favorite dishes at dim sum. They’re crispy, flavorful, and really fun to eat. As a kid, seeing all of the tiny fish eggs is something I will never forget. As of the last few years, I haven’t been eating them as much which is why I decided to make them myself at home.
What type of fish to buy?
In Chinese they are called 多春魚 which literally translates to fish with a lot of eggs/roe. I would compare them to sardines, but not as salty and strong of a fishy flavor. They can be found at Asian grocery stores in the frozen section called female capelin in english. They are very soft and delicate to the touch which is why you need to handle them with care. You can also eat them whole after fried. They are extremely crispy and flavorful.
Keys to perfect crispy fried capelin
- Make sure your batter is cold
- Keeping the batter cold is important for the crispiness of the outer layer. This is a technique used in many tempura batters to make sure the batter has enough time in the oil to get crispy. To keep the batter cold, I would either keep it in the fridge or add ice cubes.
- Doubly fry
- Doubly frying the fish ensures a crispy outer coating that will last extremely long. The first fry is just to cook the fish through and the second one is to get it crispy. You will actually be able to feel the fish hardening as you fry it the second time.
Crispy Fried Capelin (多春魚)
- 400 g female capelin (多春魚)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp white pepper
- ½ tsp five spice powder
- 2 tsp corn starch
- togarashi for garnish
- ⅓ cup flour
- ⅓ cup corn starch
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup water
- 2 ice cubes
- Into a bowl add your fish and season with salt, sugar, garlic powder, white pepper, five spice, and corn starch.
- Gently mix them and set aside to marinate while you prepare the wet batter.
- Heat up a pot of oil up to 350F
- In a bowl mix together flour, corn starch, baking powder, an egg, water, and ice cubes to keep it cold.
- Dip seasoned fish into the wet batter and drop into the oil for 2 minutes.
- Remove fish and fry once more for 2 minutes until golden.
- Toss in some togarashi and enjoy.
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