Fish and chips is a popular take away food that originated from the U.K. one of the few genuinely English recipes that’s recognized world-wide. It’s basically battered white fish fillet (traditionally cod or haddock is used), fried and served along with thick potato fries, mushy peas and tartar sauce.
It is not at all hard to make a perfect Beer Battered Fish at home and infact takes much lesser time than getting dressed and dining out. The actual cooking is done in just a few minutes and the preparation time can also be measured in minutes. You can prepare the mushy peas and tartar sauce in advance. And prepare the fish while the chips are being fried.
FISH N CHIPS WITH MUSHY PEAS AND TARTAR SAUCE.
For the Fish
- 2 large white-fish fillets – about 500 grams, taken from the head end rather than the tail end of the fish. (Ideally A Cod/Haddock fish would be perfect for this…but I used Creamy Dory and it was still fab!)
- 100 grams of flour, plus extra for dusting
- 100 gram rice powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 300 ml fridge-cold lager/beer
- beef dripping or oil, for deep-frying (beef dripping is used in the traditional method and gives a far better flavour, but sunflower oil will work just as well. I used a mix of sunflower oil and some chicken drippings from my Chicken Rottisserie)
Wash the fillets well and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Season it with little salt and pepper and then sprinkle some flour on top. This ensures that the batter coats the fish well
To prepare the batter – In a bowl, sift the flour, rice powder, salt and baking powder. Next crack the egg into the bowl and whisk the mixture. Then add the honey. Now, slowly add the beer, whisking all the time. Keep adding the beer until the batter is a thick consistency such that it coats the back of a wooden spoon well. Try and keep as many bubbles as you can so the batter stays light. Set aside.
In a frying pan big enough to fry both the fish fillets (make sure it’s not crowding), heat the oil or the beef/chicken dripping.
Dip the fish fillets into the batter and carefully place over the hot fat or oil on medium high heat. Cook for about 8-10 minutes untill it’s golden, crispy and nicely puffed up too. Remove from the pan, drain and serve immediately with the mushy peas and Tartar sauce and lemon wedge. Also you can add a slice of bread and butter for the authentic experience!
For the Peas
- 250 grams frozen peas ( or how much ever you want)
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp lemon juice
While the fish is being fried, you can cook the peas in boiling salted water for 5 minutes or till it’s cooked well. Drain the water and then lightly crush the peas with the back of a fork. Mix in the oil, lemon juice and freshly grated pepper. Cover and set aside. You can even cook the peas in advance and just heat it up before serving.
For the Tartar Sauce
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon minced onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped gherkins (pickled ones)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, gherkins, and minced onion. Stir in lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
- You can replace beer with sparking water or ginger-ale too. I’ve not tried it out but I hear it will still taste good.
- The carbon dioxide in the beer lends a lighter texture to the batter. Beer also gives an orange-brown colour. And the alcohol itself is cooked off, so little or none remains in the finished product.
- I used frozen french fries which I fried and served with the fish because I’m lazy. Traditionally, the chips served with the fish made from Russet Potatoes or Yukon potatoes and are sliced much thicker and then deep-fried. You cam make home-made if you’ve got the time.
- You can use the oil that you just cooked the chips in as well, to fry the fish. I like to reuse oil that I have used for deep-frying chips in, but after cooking fish in it, it is best thrown away.
- Make sure the oil is hot enough when frying the fish. This will ensure the batter doesn’t suck up all the oil and that the fish is crispy on the outside but still soft and juicy on the inside and holds very little fat.