If you're a mom like me and you see your kid eating fish with a smile on their face, it makes you jump for joy at the thought of all those Omega-3 fatty acids going to their brain. It's a rare occasion in our household but whenever I make these Panko battered fish sticks (or fish soldiers as my son Ryan calls them) my kids and my husband scarf them down. We like to eat them with a side of broccoli, some Japanese rice and seasoned nori squares. My kids take all or part of a fish stick and roll it right up with some rice and seaweed to make a little sushi roll out of it. They aren't big on tarter sauce so they eat them plain but these fish sticks are great with tarter sauce, tonkatsu sauce, catsup and teriyaki sauce too. The panko batter is light and crispy - unlike the frozen fish sticks from the grocery store. Also, you can make them with any type of mild white fish. I use a nice cod or bass from the farmer's market because they are heartier and don't fall apart when you cut them into bite size pieces. Plus they don't smell or taste "fishy" so my kids have tasted them and even asked if they are chicken! Baked Panko Fish Sticks
Makes about 6 small servings
When we lived in London, it seemed like fish sticks were much more popular and therefore, we had a better selection of frozen fish sticks to choose from that seemed to be of higher quality. I’m not so crazy about the ones in the US, so I decided to make my own. Baked not fried so it’s a healthier alternative.
1 lb. a light white fish such as halibut, cod or seabass – cut into 3 in. strips
2 eggs, beaten w/ a little bit of water
½ cup flour – white or wheat flour
1 cup Panko
1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
salt and pepper
Japanese Tartar Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp relish
1 tsp soy sauce, preferably low sodium
1/4 tsp sesame oil
Set oven to Broil. Prepare a cookie sheet by laying a piece of parchment or spraying with cooking spray. Lightly season the fish with Old Bay Seasoning, salt, & pepper. Use a plastic zip bag and add the flour and the cut up fish into it. Shake to dredge the fish pieces with the flour. Make a dipping station using a shallow bowl for the egg and a separate shallow bowl for the Panko. Take the floured fish pieces, one at a time, and dip then into the egg. Then dip and cover them completely with the Panko. Put the breaded pieces on the cookie sheet, without any touching. If you would like a crispier texture, you can spray the top of the fish with cooking spray. Cook on the bottom rack for 8 minutes and flip after 4 minutes or when golden brown. Spray the other side and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Serve with Japanese Tartar Sauce or any other dipping sauce your kids enjoy! * Alternatively, if you can't live without the super crunch of a deep fry, you can also deep fry these in a medium saucepan with about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. Heat the oil on medium high. When you can drop a bit of the panko into the pan and it fries right up, the oil is hot enough. Add the battered fish sticks and fry on both sides until golden brown. Let cool on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.
Panko (パン粉) – Preferred Brand Shirakiku - Prepared Bread Crumbs. Most often used to coat a pork cutlet in tonkatsu (とんかつ) which is traditionally deep fried. It doesn’t have to be deep fried - you can broil it and it comes out just as crispy without the oil! Panko is available at most grocers in the international section.