Kibbeling is one of the most popular Dutch fish snacks. The name has been derived from kabeljauwwang (cod cheek), although nowadays a lot of kibbeling is no longer made from actual cod cheeks but from other pieces of cod, hake, or haddock. When I saw cod cheeks at the fish monger, it was easy to decide that I would make kibbeling at home.
The cod cheeks are first seasoned with a spice mix, allowed to marinate, then battered and deep fried, and finally served with a remoulade or similar sauce. The spice mix reminds me a bit of cajun cuisine.
The spice mix gives the fish a lot of flavor, while the batter keeps the fish moist. It is not surprising kibbeling is so popular! Here’s how to make your own (based on this recipe (in Dutch)). And don’t worry if you can’t get cod cheeks, other pieces of white fish will also do.
1 kg (2.2 lbs) cod cheeks (or pieces of white fish such as cod, hake or haddock)
500 grams (3 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour + more for dusting
2 eggs, beaten
1 litre (4 cups) milk
For the spice mix (makes about 3 Tbsp)
2 1/2 tsp celery salt (or 2 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp dried celery)
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground bay leaf
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 litres (2 quarts) of vegetable oil for deep frying
…and whisk until smooth. To prevent lumps, it helps to add only half of the milk first and then slowly add more milk while you are whisking. The batter will be quite similar to that of Dutch pancakes.
Serve the kibbeling hot with remoulade or a similar sauce.
When served with remoulade sauce, kibbeling is outstanding with Muscadet sur Lie.
There are a lot of debates between cooks about the best techniques. Should risotto be stirred or not, et cetera. I like to put such beliefs to the test in a side-by-side comparison, as I did with rendering fat from duck breast over low heat versus high heat. Click here to find out the results.