bits and pieces

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sriracha and Tempura Beer-Battered Pickle Spears

True story: I ate all of these in one sitting. 

Guess who's back? Back again? Yep I'm back. And I brought pickles. 

But before we get into pickles and all things fried, let's catch up: 

SO -  first of all, mea culpa/self-flagellation/a thousand apologies for my absence. I've had a hell of a winter. I barely had the willpower to put on pants. Blogging was just not in the picture. Which is really a shame as it makes me happy and gives me a wee creative outlet. Long story short - no I did not have a baby but yes - this winter was exhausting in a lot of ways. 

However, it was also super in a lot of ways. My little brother and sister were both here for Christmas. I got engaged. And my sister is now staying at our house which is great as she cleans the house, eats what I cook, and brought her adorable cat. So yes - life is life. 

It's now APRIL (although it still looks like winter) and I feel like I'm just surfacing. Starting to think about doing real human things like fold my laundry and maybe get some exercise and do things that are good for me.  I was really beating myself up about being an absentee blogger all winter. It seems like people were actually reading (hello people!), Global kept asking me back for TV segments (hello Global!), and I was getting all kinds of fun invites to food and industry things (yum yum!). So of course, just as things were starting to pick up, I dropped off. Oh well, c'est la vie, and I guess that's how my winter cookie crumbled. 

But I am back. I am cooking. I am a soft little dumpling of comfort after the winter. Remember when I talked about doing healthy things? Yeah. So what better thing to start off with than my absolute favourite sinful snack: 


Cold weather, warm pickles. 

Now I LOVE pickles. And I LOVE fried things. Yet I was perpetually sceptical of the merits of deep frying a pickle. Then I moved to Regina and went to Bonzzinis. And then I went back. And back. And back. I have a serious problem with deep fried pickle spears. I could eat them every day for at least 2 meals out of the 3 provided the third meal was a salad. 

This culinary expedition originally started out with the thought of reproducing their deep fried pickles. And then I thought 'woah Nelly - that's a terrible, terrible idea'. First of all, I'd probably fail. Second of all, if I succeeded, I would quickly become a pickle. 

See? Pickles. Also - apologies for the weird black shading on the edges of this shot. I'm using a new camera and it
does things that I don't understand. 

So instead of trying to recreate the meal which will almost certainly be my downfall, I decided to try and do a slightly different take on les cornichons frits. I made a spicy tempura and beer batter and went to town. 

Crispy, light tempura battered pickles. Gourmet? Probably not. Damned delicious?  Yup. 

Light. Crispy. Dangerously edible. Ready in a flash, and great for Game Days, party snacks, or a lazy Sunday afternoon alone in your house, eating fried foods in socks and a t-shirt.

6 pickles cut length-wise into spears

1 cup of flour
1 tbsp baking soda
1/3 cup corn starch
1 big pinch of salt
a few pinches of whatever seasonings you'd like: I added a dash of cayenne, a pinch of garlic powder, and a pinch of onion powder. But really - add whatever you like. Heck, throw in some cornmeal for all I care!

2 tbsp sriracha
1 beer (you will drink approximately half of this and use the other half for your battering)
1 can of COLD soda water (see above)
1 egg, beaten

oil for frying - I used corn oil, but canola or peanut or sunflower would do fine. DO NOT use olive oil.

things you will need: 
a big mixin' bowl
a whisk
1 additional bowl for pickle holding and/or egg beating
a deep sauce pan/wok/deep fryer
tong ta-ta-tong tong TONGS
paper towels to dry your crispy pickles
a rack/paper towel to rest your pickles on post-fryer
a thermometer to test the heat of your oil.

  1. Slice your pickles and dry them as thoroughly as possible using paper towels. Don't be neurotic about them, but the dryer they are the more ingredients will stick to them. Set aside. 
  2. In a bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients and dredge your pickles in the dry flour mixture. Remove pickles from this flour-y grave and set aside once more. 
  3. Add your egg, sriracha, and whisk in alternating liberal splashes of beer/soda water until your batter starts to resemble thick pancake batter. Then stop and drink the rest of your beer. Or don't actually, since you're about to start frying things and should probably have your wits about you. 
  4. Heat your oil to 375 degrees. It's important that your oil be hot enough to cook your pickles, otherwise the oil will just soak into them and they'll be gross oily sticks of fermented mess. 
  5. Once your oil has reached the appropriate temperature, dredge a handful of pickle spears in the batter, and then individually - CAREFULLY - place in your oil. 
  6. Cook for approximately 5-6 minutes, turning once - CAREFULLY - with your tongs. If you notice your pickles are soggy (sad face) this is because they have been overcooked. DO NOT OVER COOK YOUR PICKLES. They are pickles! They don't need to be cooked through - you can eat them raw! Cook until golden and crispy. 
  7. Once they are golden brown and delicious, set them on a rack to cool, and fry your remaining pickles. 
  8. Consume with dip. Blue cheese dip, ranch dip, spicy dip, honey mustard dip, cream cheese and dill - who am I to judge?



  1. I will be making these!!!!! Sooner than later I would guess :-)

  2. I can't even look at this post without wanting crispy, battered pickles :)

  3. Please explain the soda water (see above). I don't see anything. Can't wait to make these!!!