This past winter I had the delightful pleasure of trying, for the very first time, fried bay leaves with a Crema Catalana from Casa Mono, a chic yet quaint little restaurant in Union Square. Ever since then, I've been looking to cook something similar but not as strong in taste. The bay leaves were the perfect balance to the rich and creamy burnt vanilla custard, but I wanted to create something more on the savory side.
Fish n Perilla Chips with Kimchi Tartar Sauce
4 pieces large white fish fillets (I used cod for this recipe)
12 pieces perilla leaves
1/2 tsp of salt and ground black pepper
1 cup flour + 1 beaten egg (for fish only)
1 cup flour (for dusting fish)
1/2 cup beer of choice
1/4 cup flour + 1/4 cornstarch + cold water (for perilla leaves)
canola oil for frying
2 tsp kimchi juice
- Make sure the fish fillets are pat dry before use. Either pre-rub the fillets with salt and ground pepper OR add the salt and pepper to the flour before dusting.
- Whisk the flour, beer, and egg until a thick consistency is reached. Thicker batter = thicker crust. Adjust the batter according to preference. Dust each fish fillet in the flour first, then dip into the batter and allow any excess to drip off.
- Heat oil in a cast-iron pot or frying pan on medium-high heat (or approx. 350ºF). Once heated, carefully lower the fish into the oil one by one to avoid any oil from splashing. If completely submerged, fry about 6 minutes total or until batter is golden and crisp. Remove fish to wiring rack or set on paper towels to soak up extra oil.
- Whisk the flour, cornstarch, and water in another shallow bowl. The batter will be very thin and slurry-like. Coat individual perilla leaves, front, and back, with a brush until fully coated. Fry in remaining oil for about 10~15 seconds or until batter crisps. Set aside to cool.
- Serve hot with tartar sauce (don't forget to mix in the kimchi juice!) and lemon wedges.
When I discovered My Korean Eats, a terrific Korean fusion food blog, they created a fish n chips dish, where the chips are fried perilla leaves. Though my recipe is heavily influenced from theirs, I incorporated my own little twist on it! The finishing touch and one of the most important, in my opinion, when it comes to a dish. I mixed in some kimchi juice with the Tartar sauce! Shazam!
What I couldn't get enough of were those fried perilla leaves! They're crispy, fresh and slightly decadent. I grew up on these leaves, usually in a form of banchan; marinated in a spicy red pepper sauce similar to kimchi. And these are a wonderful substitute to the non-healthy carb-loading fries or potato chips! Perilla leaves are sharp in flavor, with a unique shape and vibrant green color.
Of course, you can't have fish n chips without some lemon wedges! The last piece of garnish were some finely chopped up scallions. It's optional, you could go for some chives or parsley, depending on what you like and perhaps, what's in the fridge. But I think the garnish, brings out more of the combined flavors of the Tartar sauce and kimchi juice. I'm not going to lie, I may have or may not have dipped the leaves into the sauce to try and WOW! So freaking delicious.
Coming up on the blog, a full new look/editorial series and some new summery cocktails/drinks I've been researching like a mad scientist! Who would've guessed I'd enjoy mixology so much?! I've bartended here and there when I first moved to the city, but I was never officially a mixologist, ha ha! Want to recommend/suggest something for me to cook/make? Leave your comments at the end of this post and don't forget to subscribe to keep up with all of our newest food & recipes! Have a great rest of your Hump Day, friends! 💛💛💛