Tempura Halibut With Garlic Aioli

Tempura fish with vegetables
ShyMan / Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
661 Calories
49g Fat
24g Carbs
29g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 661
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 49g 63%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 161mg 54%
Sodium 1105mg 48%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 29g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 37mg 3%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 644mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Fried fish can either be heavy or light, it's all in the batter. And no batter is lighter than a Japanese tempura, which coats the fish in a gossamer layer of crunchy goodness. Done right, it is even low fat because the tempura blocks fat from getting into the fish, which then steams within the crust. Tempura recipes cry out for a sauce, and in this case, you can use a garlic aioli, which is like a homemade mayonnaise. This recipe uses California halibut, but you can use any firm fish: cod, striped bass, tilefish, sturgeon, walleye, eels, grouper, snapper, rock cod, etc. Firm flesh is the key here.


  • 1 pound white firm fish (e.g., halibut, cod, or walleye,) cut into 2-inch chunks

  • Salt, to taste

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1 cup ice-cold sparkling water

  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

  • 1/2 cup rice flour, or all-purpose wheat flour

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1 teaspoon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • Canola oilfor frying

Steps to Make It

  1. Make the aioli. Chop the garlic roughly and put into a mortar and pestle. Add the salt and the mustard and pound it into a paste. This will take a few minutes.

  2. Slowly add the olive oil a little at a time, stirring and pounding constantly. You are making an emulsion, so take your time and add oil slowly or it will break.

  3. Heat enough oil to cover the fish pieces in either a Dutch oven or a deep fryer. You will need about a half gallon. Don't worry, after you are finished, let the oil cool, strain it to get the bits out, then reuse it. You can reuse oil several times. Heat this oil until it is very hot—about 370 F.

  4. Salt the pieces of fish well on both sides.

  5. Make the batter. While the oil is heating, make the batter. Tempura batter needs to be made and used quickly. This is very important.

  6. Mix together the flour, cornstarch, salt and baking soda in 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the ice cold water—it must be ice cold or this will not work—and the egg yolk.

  7. When the oil is hot, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk them together until just combined. Do not over mix.

  8. Dip the fish pieces in the batter and into the oil. Shake off a little before you put them into the oil, but remember this batter is thin and runny. Do not overcrowd the pot.

  9. Fry in batches, at about 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Drain on a rack set over a paper towel to catch the oil that drips off.

  10. Serve at once with a dollop of the aioli alongside the fish.

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