Victoria Petersen                                Frying up cod or halibut in a beer batter is a delicious way to enjoy Alaska’s catch.

Victoria Petersen Frying up cod or halibut in a beer batter is a delicious way to enjoy Alaska’s catch.

Kalifornsky Kitchen: A secret ingredient for fried fish

Victoria Petersen serves up beer-battered halibut with a not-so-secret ingredient.

By Victoria Petersen

For the Peninsula Clarion

Did you catch some halibut this summer? While I recommend enjoying fresh halibut in a more “pure” form, I do think frying it up in a beer batter is one of the most delicious ways to enjoy your catch.

I went halibut fishing last summer. I caught one butt while floating in a small boat with my friend, her dad and my boyfriend, who was negatively impacted by the rocking waves of Cook Inlet. To me, there’s no better state than on a boat bobbing up and down with the waves in the salty air.

After a morning at sea pulling up these heavy fish from the ocean floor, my forearms were on fire. We got back to my friend’s family cabin and processed our catches. Once we got home, and after a much deserved shower and nap, my boyfriend and I began mapping out our fried fish dinner: beer-battered halibut with a not-so-secret ingredient.

In college, I had the opportunity to visit Tutka Bay Lodge, and partake in different food-writing workshops with editors of the New York Times and the talented chefs who run the lodge, headed by Kirsten Dixon and her family. After visiting there for the first time about four years ago, I had to buy the lodge’s cookbook, which is full of recipes you can incorporate into your everyday cooking rotation with a heavy emphasis on food endemic to Alaska, like halibut.

It was in the “Tutka Bay Lodge Cookbook” I found how great the addition of curry powder was to beer-battered halibut. We’ve experimented with other spices, but curry powder and garam masala produce our favorite results.

This recipe is adapted from the Tutka Bay cookbook and uses curry powder, but feel free to add whatever spicy spice you have around. You can use halibut or cod for this recipe as well. When choosing a beer, I recommend choosing something local and maybe on the lighter side, but it’s all about your own preferences. Enjoy this fish with salty potato chips or fries.

Fried fish

Enough vegetable oil to more than cover the bottom of your dish

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon curry powder, cayenne, garam masala or spice of your choosing

1 cup local Alaska beer, maybe Kenai River Brewing’s Peninsula Brewer’s Reserve?

2 egg whites, whipped to soft peaks

Salt to taste

1 pound of boneless, skinless cod or halibut fillets

In a deep casserole pan or dutch oven (or an electric fryer if you have it), pour in the vegetable oil and heat until it reaches 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, mix up the flour, spices and beer. Fold in the whipped egg whites. Take the cut fish fillets and dip into the batter, covering the whole fillet. Slowly place the fish into the oil and fry for about four minutes. Remove from the oil once the crust is a deep golden brown. Place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

• By Victoria Petersen, For the Peninsula Clarion

More in Life

A homemade nut mix takes on a sticky, spicy finish with a recipe from Anthony Bourdain, on Friday, Oct. 23 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion.)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: I’m going nuts

I’m enjoying the nuts while I work from home and occasionally daydream about the international travel

Nick VarneyNick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: 2020 — The Halloween Year

2020 has nixed Oct. 31 as the official observance of Halloween and hijacked the mantle as its own.

Some of the 45 art quilts featured in “Shifting Tides: Cloth in Convergence,” on exhibit from Oct. 9 to Nov. 28, 2020, at the Pratt Museum in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Traveling show at Pratt features Alaska, Pacific Rim artists

‘Shifting Tides’ traveling quilt show explores theme of Pacific Ocean connection

In 1964, two years after the Fairs moved to their homestead at the end of Forest Lane, Calvin Fair took this photo from neighbor Dan France’s SuperCub. Note the dearth of large trees in the foreground, where the 1947 Kenai Burn wiped out much of the hillside forest. (Courtesy Fair Family Collection.
One man’s misfortune becomes my family’s good fortune

Without his misfortune, almost everything changes for me.

Snickerdoodle cookies have a distinct cinnamon sugar scrawled shell, photographed on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: Memories of snickerdoodles

I asked my grandma if she had her mother’s snickerdoodle recipe.

Russell Wagner graduated from the dental school within the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco in the spring of 1931. Shortly thereafter, he made his first trip to Seward. (Photo courtesy of college archives)
When the Kenai had just one full-time Dentist, Part 2

Part One discussed how Dr. Russell Wagner, the Kenai Peninsula’s only full-time dentist in 1960.

Christina Whiting poses for a photo on Oct. 5, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Taz Tally)
Homer artist takes pandemic project on road

‘Behind the Mask - Our Stories’ invites people to share experiences

Homemade ice cream steeped with chai spices and churned with local honey is frozen and ready to be enjoyed, on Monday, Oct. 5, 2029, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Churning ice cream at home

Winter is a great time to break out the ice cream machine

This is the 1908 birth certificate of Russell Martin Wagner. (Certificate courtesy of
When the Kenai had just one full-time dentist, Part 1

Wagner graduated from dental school at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco.

Butternut squash soup picnic is enjoyed on the rocky beach at Eklutna Lake, on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: A soup to match the color of the leaves

Getting outside can be a balm to that isolation and grief many of us are experiencing.

Minister’s Message: Are we seeing flowers or weeds?

In diffiult times, we need to watch what we watch