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Recipe For Traditional British Fish and Chips

The British adore classic fish and chips as a national dish and culinary tradition. Whether purchased from one of the numerous fish and chip shops, such as the renowned Harry Ramsden’s, or created in the comfort of your own home, this dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

To prepare, opt for a thick white fish, preferably sustainable cod, haddock, or pollock. Dip the fillets in a batter consisting of flour, dark beer, and sparkling water, which creates a light and crispy texture when fried. The “chips” are simply fresh-cut, fried potatoes. To ensure both components are ready to consume simultaneously, use one pot to fry the chips, followed by the fish, and then the chips once more for that ideal combination of crispy exterior and fluffy interior. Serve with a pint of beer and bring the pub experience home.

List of Ingredients

Fish:

  • 7 tablespoons (55 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 7 tablespoons (55 grams) cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup cold dark beer
  • 1/3 cup cold sparkling water
  • 4 thick, white fish fillets, each weighing 7 ounces

Chips:

  • 2 pounds peeled potatoes
  • 1 quart (1 liter) vegetable oil or lard for frying

Instructions

  1. Begin by gathering all the ingredients for the fish and chips recipe.
  2. Set aside 2 tablespoons of flour. In a large bowl, mix the remaining flour with cornstarch, baking powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Whisk in the cold beer and sparkling water continuously until the batter becomes thick and smooth. Place the batter in the refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Cut the peeled potatoes into less than 1/2-inch-thick slices, then slice them into 1/2-inch-wide chips. Rinse the chips under cold running water and place them in a pan of cold water. Boil the chips for 3 to 4 minutes, then drain carefully and dry them with paper towels. Keep the chips in the refrigerator covered with paper towels until needed.
  5. Pat the fish fillets dry and season them lightly with sea salt. Heat the oil to 350 F in a deep-fat fryer or large, deep saucepan.
  6. Cook the chips a few handfuls at a time in the hot oil for about 2 minutes, then remove them from the oil and drain. Set the chips aside.
  7. Place the 2 tablespoons of reserved flour into a shallow bowl. Dredge each fish fillet in the flour, then dip it into the batter, coating the entire fillet.
  8. Check that the oil temperature is still 350 F, then carefully lower each fillet into the hot oil. Fry for approximately 8 minutes, turning the fillets from time to time with a large slotted spoon, or until the batter is crisp and golden.
  9. Once cooked, remove the fillets from the hot oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt, cover with greaseproof paper, and keep hot.
  10. Heat the oil to 400 F, then cook the chips until golden and crisp, or about 5 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain, then season with salt.
  11. Serve the hot fish and chips immediately with your favorite condiment.

Bonus Tips

Here are some bonus tips for making classic fish and chips:

  1. Use sustainable fish: Choose thick, white fish fillets like cod, haddock, or pollock from sustainable sources. This not only supports sustainable fishing practices but also ensures that the fish you’re eating is of high quality.
  2. Use cold beer and sparkling water: The carbonation in the beer and sparkling water creates a light, crispy batter. Make sure both the beer and sparkling water are cold when adding them to the batter.
  3. Rest the batter: Letting the batter rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour helps the flavors develop and ensures a lighter, crispier batter.
  4. Double fry the chips: Fry the chips once at a lower temperature until they’re cooked but not browned, then remove them from the oil and let them cool. Fry them again at a higher temperature to get that crispy, golden exterior and fluffy interior.
  5. Pat dry the fish: Before dipping the fish fillets in the batter, make sure to pat them dry with a paper towel. This removes excess moisture and helps the batter adhere better.
  6. Keep the cooked fish and chips warm: Cover the cooked fish and chips with greaseproof paper (parchment paper) to keep them warm and crispy until ready to serve.

FAQs

What type of fish is best for fish and chips?

A thick, white fish like cod, haddock, or pollock is preferable for fish and chips.

Can I use regular water instead of sparkling water in the batter?

Sparkling water is preferred because the carbonation creates a lighter, crispier batter. However, you can use regular water if sparkling water is not available.

Can I use a different type of oil for frying the chips?

Vegetable oil or lard is the traditional choice for frying chips, but you can use other high-heat oils like peanut oil or canola oil.

How do I make sure the fish and chips are cooked at the same time?

Fry the chips first and keep them warm in the oven while you fry the fish. Then, fry the chips again for a few minutes to ensure they are hot and crispy when served.

How do I store leftover fish and chips?

Leftover fish and chips can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To reheat, place in a preheated oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

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