Fish sticks don’t have to come from a box; they’re easy enough to make. A friend recently gave me a great cookbook for kids (thanks, Nicky!) that had this fun-sounding recipe for sesame fish sticks, just the thing you might be able to convince a kid to try cooking. I didn’t have any kids close by to corral into cooking today, but made some for my folks (do they count as kids?) who loved them. The original recipe calls for serving them with tartar sauce or ketchup, but I think the sesame coating goes well with an orange or Asian dipping sauce; I’ve included recipes for both.
If you don't want or have sesame seeds, just dredge the fish sticks once more in the flour after you've coated them with egg, for plain fish sticks.
- 1 1/2 lbs fish fillets (cod, tilapia, red snapper, halibut)
- 3/4 cup flour
- Salt and pepper
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup sesame seeds
- Vegetable oil
Orange marmalade dipping sauce
- 1/3 cup orange marmalade
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon of powdered ginger or 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- Pinch of salt
Spicy sweet and sour dipping sauce
- 3/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoons red chili pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Rinse the fish fillets in cold water. Cut them into approximate 1 inch by 5 inch pieces, following the lines of the fillets. Remove any bones that may remain in the fillets. Lay out 3 separate dishes for dredging, one with flour that has salt and pepper sprinkled and mixed in, one with beaten egg, and the last with sesame seeds. Dredge the fish sticks first in flour, then in beaten egg, then in sesame seeds. Reserve to a plate.
2 Put enough vegetable oil in a large skillet to generously coat the bottom of the pan (about 1/4 cup). Heat the skillet on medium high until the oil is shimmering. Test the oil by dropping a bit of flour into the pan, if it sizzles the pan is ready. Working in batches, add the fish sticks to the pan, leaving enough room around them so that they aren't crowded. Cook for a few minutes on each side, until they are well browned on all sides. Remove the fish sticks to a plate lined with a paper towel. Keep warmed in the oven at 160°F while you finish frying the other batches of fish sticks. Add more oil as necessary to the pan to keep the bottom of the pan coated as you fry subsequent batches.
3 To make either of the dipping sauces, put the sauce ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, let cook for 4 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat and let cool a little before serving.