Wanna try a recipe to fry delicious, crispy catfish but don’t have any cornmeal? No problem! There is an easy way to do it.
Cornmeal is a common ingredient for frying fish. But you can still use alternatives to satisfy your cravings.
We will show you how to fry catfish without cornmeal with simple ingredients and easy-to-follow steps. Let’s dive in!
What Is Cornmeal Used for?
Cornmeal is dried ground corn. It comes in different textures (fine, medium, and coarse). Each type of texture refers to a different size.
Cornmeal is a common ingredient for many dishes, especially in the Southern United States. People in these regions use it to make traditional dishes, such as hushpuppies and cornbread. Some can even make stews, soups, and fried foods.
Different types of cornmeal are in the marketing, each with a unique taste, texture, and color. Your options include the following:
- Yellow cornmeal: This type is the most popular. It has a medium to coarse texture. You can use it for your fried foods, pancakes, and cornbread.
- While cornmeal: This type of cornmeal has a milder flavor than its yellow counterpart. It has a fine texture and works best in many traditional Southern and Mexican dishes.
- Blue cornmeal: You can use blue cornmeal in Native American dishes and desserts. The nutty flavor will complement your cuisine.
How to Fry Catfish Without Cornmeal
Frying is not only about dipping the catfish into the hot oil. To achieve the best outcome, you should rub them into cornmeal first. Finally, you can get crunchy catfish fillets.
But what if you don’t have cornmeal? The three steps below help you pull it off.
Step 1: Clean and Trim Catfish
Cleaning and trimming the catfish is the first step. If you fry blue catfish, remember to trim the fat strip.
Use a sharp knife to remove the black, fatty ridges and cut off the red flesh remaining on the entire length of your catfish. You have white fillets after that.
Next, remove the fat deposits from the fillets. Then, lay them on a flat surface and cut them into cooking-size strips.
Step 2: Prepare the Seasoning Mixture
If you don’t have cornmeal, you can use some alternatives. We will discuss your options in the last section.
In this recipe, we use breadcrumbs and flour to replace cornmeal. In addition to these two ingredients, your seasoning mixture includes:
- Old Bay seasoning
- Granulated garlic
- Lemon pepper seasoning
Firstly, marinate the fillets with lemon pepper seasoning and salt for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate the fish. Remember to rub the ingredients thoroughly.
In a shallow bowl, combine flour, breadcrumbs, Old Bay seasoning, and granulated garlic.
Step 3: Fry Catfish
Bring out the fillets and rub them in the seasoned flour until they are fully coated.
Pour deep-frying oil into a large pan and heat it to 350°F. Once the oil hits the temperature, dip the fillets one by one in the pan and fry them.
Fry the fillets in batches for three to four minutes on each side. They’re well done when turning golden brown. You can check their doneness by picking them up with a fork.
Remove the fried catfish fillets from hot oil using a spatula. Then, set them on a paper towel to drain the oil. Finally, let your food cool for five minutes, and enjoy.
Tips for Frying Catfish
You can still have tasty fried catfish without cornmeal by following the steps above. Besides, here are some tips to yield an impressive outcome:
- Choose high-quality, fresh catfish to ensure the best flavor.
- Remember to pat the catfish fillets to dry with a paper towel. If there is moisture in the fish, the breading will become soggy.
- Season the flour mixture with your favorite ingredients, such as garlic or chili powder.
- Heat the oil to the right temperature before frying the catfish so you can cook them evenly.
- Add the fish fillets one by one and in a single layer.
Best Cornmeal Substitutes
Cornmeal is a familiar friend with seasoned and beginner cooks. But don’t worry if you can’t prepare it for your recipe. Any of the following ingredients can replace it nicely.
Corn grits and cornmeal have the same ingredients and process, but cornmeal is more refined. Yet, you will achieve an excellent outcome when replacing cornmeal with corn grits.
You have white and yellow corn grits to choose from. They have the same characteristics except for color.
Potenta is basically an Italian dish. However, supermarkets sell it as a coarser version of cornmeal. These two ingredients have the same flavors, but the texture is different.
If you don’t like the coarse texture of polenta, consider blitzing it in a food processor or blender to refine it.
Corn flour is a terrific cornmeal substitute if you don’t like the consistency of cornmeal. We make corn flour from corn by grinding it into a fine powder instead of the coarse one.
As a result, the food you put corn flour in has a finer texture. Yet, the sweetness remains unchanged, which is similar to what you can get from cornmeal.
Semolina comes from a type of wheat. Its crunchy texture makes it an ideal replacement for cornmeal in some recipes.
But please note the semolina is coarse. You should, therefore, grind it before adding it to your baking, paste, and other goods.
This ingredient is one of the best non-corn alternatives for cornmeal. It offers the same cooking goal and has an identical texture to cornmeal, making it an all-purpose ingredient for any dish.
Rice flour is finely ground rice. It comes with a starchy texture suitable for replacing cornmeal in soups and sauces.
Masa Harina is a type of corn flour made from ground corn. It also contains lime or an alkali solution. Because of the corn ingredient, you can use Masa Harina as a substitute for cornmeal.
Breadcrumbs and cornmeal have a similar texture. Hence, you won’t go wrong with them for your baked goods. However, finding unseasoned breadcrumbs at the store is difficult.
Oats are a healthy option for your cuisine if you don’t have cornmeal. They have calcium and can make you full longer than cornmeal, making them a good idea for those who are on a diet.
However, if you use oats to replace cornmeal in baked goods, grind them first to achieve the desired texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Substitute Flour for Cornmeal Mix?
Yes. Flour is among the best non-corn substitutes when you don’t have any cornmeal. Interestingly, you can use all-purpose flour to replace cornmeal in any recipe. However, your dish’s texture and flavor will change slightly.
Is It Better to Use Cornmeal or Flour?
It depends on the recipe. For example, cornmeal is a good choice for frying fish and vegetables. It will give your food a unique texture and flavor.
On the other hand, flour is more popular for making baked dishes and sometimes frying. Its mild flavor doesn’t overpower other ingredients in the cuisine.
Regarding nutrients, cornmeal contains few calories, carbs, and sodium but more fiber than flour. It’s also a gluten-free choice.
How to Fry Fish Without Fish Batter
Fish batter is a combination of white flour, beer, and baking soda with some salt to taste. You can still fry fish with cornmeal or light flour without the fish batter.
Cornmeal is an excellent ingredient to fry catfish. But you can still nail it with other ingredients, such as breadcrumbs and flour.
Following the recipe shared above will make a flavorful and crispy coating on your catfish fillets. Remember to drain off the oil before enjoying your tasty food.
Don’t hesitate to try new ways to fry catfish. Try our recipe with the alternatives to cornmeal, and there you go!
Fried Catfish Without Cornmeal
You can prepare your flavorful fried catfish in a few steps. This table will help you summarize what you need to do.
- 3 pounds catfish
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning For marinating the fillets
- 1/3 tsp salt For marinating the fillets
- 1/3 tsp granulated garlic
- Deep-frying oil
Clean the catfish.
Trim off the fatty ridges, red flesh, and fat deposits. All you need is white fillets.
Marinate the fillets with lemon pepper seasoning and salt for at least 30 minutes.
Combine flour, breadcrumbs, Old Bay seasoning, and granulated garlic in a shallow bowl.
Rub the fillets with the seasoned flour.
Pour oil into a large pan and heat it to 350°F.
Dip the fillets one by one in the pan and fry them for about three to four minutes on each side.
Remove the fillets from the hot oil and set them on a paper towel.
Wait for your fried catfish fillets to cool in five minutes and serve.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
- Calories: 751
- Total Fat: 53.7 g
- Cholesterol: 130 mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 29 g
- Dietary Fiber: 1.4 g
- Total Sugars: 1.2 g
- Sodium: 576 mg
- Protein: 38.6 g