A new rice batter product developed and patented by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is now being marketed by a Maryland company under an exclusive license from ARS. The batter absorbs up to 50 percent less cooking oil than traditional batters.

The batter is being sold by CrispTek, LLC of Columbia, Md. The technology was developed by chemists Fred F. Shih and Kim W. Daigle in the Food Processing and Sensory Quality Research Unit of ARS’ Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans, La.

ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Users can mix the dry product, called ChoiceBatter, with water before coating and frying foods such as chicken, fish, shrimp, veggies and desserts. The batter can also be used for grilling and baking. The rice flour-based batter is cholesterol- and gluten-free, Kosher and available over the Internet for the first time this month.

Batters enhance the sensory quality of fried foods, so it’s no surprise they are popular both commercially and in the home. But high oil consumption from commonly used batters when fried can pose a challenge to healthy weight maintenance. Rice flours have the unique property of being resistant to oil uptake.

The new batter is based on a recipe of long-grain rice flour and small amounts of other specially modified rice ingredients, and absorbs only about half as much oil during frying than wheat batters.

CrispTek received funding from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) during a showcase sponsored jointly by TEDCO and USDA late last year to help further commercialize the product. The company’s goal is to help consumers reduce the amount of fat and oil they consume.

ChoiceBatter is being sold on CrispTek’s website at http://choicebatter.com.

The technology was developed as part of the ARS National Research Program “Quality and Utilization of Agricultural Products,” which includes projects to meet consumer needs through the development of value-added food products and processes.