You know those homeschool families with oodles of kids? That was my family! I have 6 sisters, and 1 brother. You could never describe my family as quiet, small, or calm.
At least two times a month we would load up our 15 passenger van and drive 30 minutes to our large homeschool co-op. The greetings were loud, and the classes were fun. Our family was particularly involved in the Lebanon Area Homeschooler’s drama troupe. Personally, I was in 13 plays with them. As a family though, I am not sure how many we were involved in. I played everyone from an evil guy (twice!?) to an old gossipy lady.
Usually we would have a very little time between the ends of the co-ops classes and the beginning of drama rehearsals. I am sure some people went home to grab a bite to eat, but we frequently went to Captain D’s. At the Lebanon location they had a deal where with an adult meal you could get $0.99 kid meals. (No longer the case, probably because of us!)
“I’ll take 1 number 5, 5 shrimp kid meals, 6 chicken kid meals, and 4 fish kid meals.” Occasionally we would convince other families to come with us, and it got a little crazy in that tiny restaurant.
Anyway, the fried fish I always got? It was my favorite. Crispy bubbly exterior and and tender flake white center. Recently I was hankering for some crispy fried fish again, not just for myself but for the whole family to enjoy around the table in our own crazy loud dining room.
One thing I really struggle with having a daughter with multiple food allergies and intolerances, is I just don’t know how to pass down some of these memories to her. I always assumed I would make beautiful bread like my mom did, with freshly ground wheat mind you. Then the two loaves would disappear in a few minutes along with a stick of butter. Or, the bourbon nuts we would make every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Or the cheese balls. Or the… you get the point.
I have always had a passion for cooking, and experiencing new foods. One I want to pass down to my daughter. So, slowly but surely we are making our own memories, and I am learning to re-create old ones with foods safe for my daughter. Chocolate chip cookies made without the white flour and butter, making bliss balls together, and even a cross between that crispy fried fish I so loved and have many fond memories of and fish sticks which are a fun childhood classic.
A creation I hope she will continue to enjoy, and who knows, maybe one day she will make it with her kids and talk about her Mommy making it special for her.
- For the Batter:
- ¾ brown rice flour
- ⅓ arrowroot starch
- ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper (optional)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- For the Fish:
- 24 oz cod fillets, cut into 1" strips, fully thawed if it was frozen
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic (I used 1t as I like it garlic-y)
- ½ teaspoon white pepper (optional)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
- ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 2-3 T extra arrowroot powder for coating
- For Frying:
- Heat stable oil/fat (we used lamb tallow as I prefer it to frying in oil), that can come up at least 2-3" in your pot (can do a smaller pot or bigger pot, up to you)
- Mix together all the batter ingredients except the baking soda. Let sit while getting everything else ready.
- Preheat the oil to ~350 degrees.
- Season the fish strips evenly with the salt and spices. Put 2 T of arrowroot on a plate and have standing by (you can always add more later).
- Turn the oven onto it's lowest setting and put a cookie sheet in there for the fish when it is done. If you have a cooling rack that is oven proof put it over the sheet pan so that any extra grease has a way to drain.
- When the oil is ready shift the baking powder into the batter ingredients and stir in.
- Very lightly coat a piece of fish into the arrowroot (get all sides) then dip into the batter, let excess drain off. Gently lower into the hot oil (I just use my fingers as I trust them more, but you can use tongs, just be careful). Once it hits the oil start preparing the next piece. Cook the fish until golden on one side, flip and cook until golden and cooked through on the other (I cut the first few pieces open the first time to get a feel for what they needed to look like on the outside to be done. They cook quickly, so I did not time). I used a 4 quart pot, with about 2 lbs of tallow, and had up to 5 strips in there at once.
- As you finish the pieces of fish put them onto the prepared cookie sheet.
- I strained the tallow so I could use it again (that is up to you, use your best judgement).