Whiting in spicy chickpea batter

Whiting in spicy chickpea batter

New Middle Eastern Food
6 as a main course or 12 as part of a banquet
Mark Roper

There’s something irresistible about battered, deep-fried fish — especially if the batter is light and crisp and flavoured with heady spices. If you want a more pronounced tangy, yeasty flavour. Use beer in the batter instead of soda water.

If you’re serving this as part of a generous banquet spread, you’ll only need one whiting fillet per person, otherwise serve two per person for a main course.

Spicy chickpea batter


Quantity Ingredient
500ml soda water or beer
150g chickpea flour
250g self-raising flour
50g cornflour
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted and lightly crushed
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, roasted and lightly crushed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 dried red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 shallot, grated
1 garlic clove, grated
pinch sea salt
pinch bicarbonate of soda
12 whiting fillets
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
plain flour, for dusting
salad and lime wedges, to serve


  1. To make the batter, pour the soda water or beer into a bowl and whisk in the flours, spices, chilli, shallot and garlic. Add the salt and bicarbonate of soda and leave to rest for 30 minutes before using.
  2. When ready to cook, cut the fins away from the whiting fillets and remove any stray bones. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 185ºC. Test by dropping in a little batter. If it sizzles slowly to the top, turning golden brown in 10 –15 seconds, the oil is hot enough.
  3. Working in batches, dust the whiting fillets lightly with flour, then dip into the batter, allow the excess to drip off, and gently lower into the oil. Fry for 1–2 minutes, or until the batter is golden brown.
  4. Drain briefly on paper towel before serving with salad and lime wedges.
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