What is the secret to chile relleno batter?

I have read a fair number of chile relleno recipes, and I’m stumped. I cannot seem to achieve the crispy-fluffy egg coating that is the dish’s signature- the coating always ends up soaked in fat, all the way through.

Is it the ratio of yalk to beaten white? The degree of beating of the white? Some secret ingredient that everyone leaves out of their recipes just to drive me crazy?

Mine LOOK right, and occasionally there might be a single bite in the whole coating that comes close, but mostly I’m failing. Help!

It’s sifting the flour into the egg white batter and the right temp. Sounds like you might be cooking them a bit too cold.

Except that authentic batter has no flour, apart from a light dusting on the chile to help the egg batter cling. I know some people add a little, and I tried it a long time ago, but it wasn’t right, it didn’t have the right texture at all. Mine have the right texture and taste, apart from the excess fat absorption.

Is your oil hot enough? I find that if my oil isn’t getting up to 375, things tend to absorb more of it during cooking.

well, I think you want the whites perfectly whipped to just under soft peaks and a minimum amount of lightly aerated yolk folded in. if you have an instututional deep fryer that might make a difference. Unless you had some real authentic ones done deep fat in a Mexican cooking pot with lard. And in that case, you can test the batter in the lard at the right temp and determine if it is hot enough.

I remember that a few years back, Qadgop the Mercotan posted a recipe for relleno’s that he swore by.

Chile Rellenos are some of my favorite food in the entire world, but as there are several places here at home in SLC that make them perfectly, I have never attempted to make them myself.

I don’t see the big deal about rellenos. Personally, I think American Poppers are better.

Any kind of food that I like in a restaurant I like to learn to make myself. I don’t know why exactly, I’ve just always been like that. Maybe it’s the challenge, seeing if I can reproduce or perhaps even improve on it. but really the only thing that I consistently do better than I can find commercially is bake. My own pies, cakes, cookies, etc. kick the ass of anything I can get commercially (outside of La Brea bakery).

And I’m not alone, considering the books on how to replicate commercial recipes…

As it happens, though, in the case of chile rellenos, I don’t know of any good sources nearby.

I should take the temp…

Stoid, I don’t want to be hyper-critical with you here, but if you want tips on how your batter could be improved, it might not hurt to have you post the recipe for the batter that you’re currently using. That said, this might be worth a try:

I haven’t tried this with chiles rellenos, btw, but I recently learned how to make a batter for honey-walnut shrimp that seems to me might work pretty well for chiles rellenos:

4 egg whites
2/3 cup cornstarch

Beat the egg whites into a soft meringue. Don’t go crazy with it; you don’t need or want stiff peaks, just a nice fluffy foam.

Gradually stir in the cornstarch.

That’s it. I’m not prepared to say how well it will stick to cheese-stuffed pasillas, but it does great with raw shrimp.

Well I can’t do cornstarch or flour even if I wanted to, because I’m eating a very low carbohydrate diet. But aside from that, the recipes I’ve worked with are all pure egg, and very simple: beat egg whites until stiff, lightly beat yolks with salt, fold into beaten whites. Dust chiles with flour (very lightly for me, just enough for some cling) dredge in egg batter, fry.

One thing I have read about and keep forgetting to try, and it isn’t about the batter getting soaked, just about making sure the coating is complete, is dip the chile on one side, lay that side in the hot oil, then spoon more batter over the top. They say it makes a better coating.