Fancy some fish and chips for tea tonight? Sure, you could simply nip down to the local chippy…but did you know it’s just as easy to whip up your own delicious fish and chips from the comfort of your own home?
Check out the tips and tricks below on how to make the ultimate fish and chip supper at home.
Fresh Fish is Best
First things first, what type of fish should you choose? While cod is the most popular, supplies have been short recently, meaning you might have to pay a little bit extra for this type of fish.
How about considering a nice, tender hake instead? Hake is the most sustainable fish in Britain right now, so you’ll have no problem getting yours hands on some. If not, plump for similar types of fish, such as coley, pollock or haddock.
Basically, you should try to use any firm, white fish that maintains its shape throughout cooking.
There’s nothing batter…
So, you’ve bought your fish. Great. Now it’s all about getting that nice, crispy batter right.
A batter mix is essentially flour mixed with water, salt and pepper. Now, dunk your fish fillets into it, so they’re completely soaked in the mixture.
When you make your batter, it’s a good idea to use chilled water. This will ensure the batter is light and crispy, rather than stodgy and doughy. If you end up with a doughy mix, that’s because there’s too much gluten in the batter. Cold water helps neutralise this.
Another idea is to use ice-cold beer, bread flour (in place of normal flour), and a nip of salt and sugar. Then blend it all together and let the batter mixture rest for half an hour. This allows it to develop into that mouthwatering, thick batter that makes fish and chips so special.
Another tip for making the perfect batter is to add a couple of teaspoons of baking powder, which allows a little air into the mixture. Just make sure you don’t over-mix the ingredients. You want your batter to be ‘single-cream-like’ in texture.
Now sprinkle the fillets of fish with flour. This helps get rid of any leftover dampness in the flour and helps the batter to coat the fish evenly.
Remember, the thinner the coat of batter you use, the crispier and light your batter will be.
Here’s a list of all the ingredients you’ll need for your fish batter:
· 200g plain flour
· 150ml lager beer
· 5g salt
· 5g pepper
· 150ml ale
· 5g of mild curry powder
- Mix the ingredients flour, lager, salt, pepper, ale and curry powder in a bowl, whisking until smooth. You want the batter to be as thin as possible, for a nice and fluffy result.
Turn up the heat
Getting the temperature right when it comes to frying your fish is paramount, as is what you use to fry it in.
Opt for a deep saucepan, as you’ll need plenty of oil to coat your fish. And be sure to get the temperature spot-on.
It’s best to get the oil sizzling hot – at about 185 degrees – before adding the fish. And don’t bother using oils high in polyunsaturated fat. Instead, plump for vegetable oil. Even better, go for beef dripping which will bring out a totally different taste.
Once you’ve got the batter right, dip the fish in the mixture, coating it evenly with the batter. Make sure you let any spare batter trickle off. Next, carefully place the fish in the pan.
Frying time should be about five minutes, although this will depend on how big or small your fish is.
Cooking the Ultimate Chips
What’s not to love about chip-shop chips? They’ve long been a favourite of the nation. Aim to cut your potato length-ways – 17mm is ideal. This means there’s less surface area, resulting in more homely-tasting chips.
If you’d rather save time, New Home Chips Lighter from McCain Foods are a great option. McCain potato chips are still as crispy and fluffy as regular home chips, but with 30% less fat.
Even better, because they’re low in sugar, they won’t turn that funny brown colour while cooking. The end result is a tasty chip that’s crispy on the outside, and lovely and fluffy when you take a bite.
When it comes to frying your chips, they should be blanched in a top-quality oil at 140 degrees first. You want them to have a bit of elasticity, yet stay firm when held.
Next, take the chips out of the oil and set aside for roughly 10 minutes. Then fry them again in oil at a higher temperature of 180 degrees until golden.
We like this recipe:
- 750g potatoes
- Vegetable oil (approximately 500ml if you’re frying)
- If oven baking your chips, pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
- Rinse and cut the potatoes. (Either peel them, or for a more rustic feel, leave the skins on).
- In some salted, bubbling water, par-boil your potatoes for roughly eight minutes, until almost soft.
- If you choose to bake the chips instead of frying, drizzle some vegetable oil over the potato slices, ensuring they’re all coated. Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes until golden-brown and crispy.
- If frying, pour vegetable oil into a saucepan, filling it so it’s 3/4 full. Heat until boiling – you can check if the oil is sizzling enough by dipping a small cube of bread into it – if it crisps up, the oil’s ready.
- Cook the chips in batches until they’re golden and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove from the oil and place on some kitchen roll to soak up the remaining oil.
- Dust the chips with salt or herbs (like rosemary or paprika) and enjoy!
You can’t have fish and chips without the sides, right? Mushy peas and tartare sauce are must-haves. Or maybe you prefer curry sauce to mushy peas?
Instead of drenching your fish and chips in salt and vinegar, consider some of these delicious extras to jazz up the old English favourite. Another tasty accompaniment is coleslaw. Consider adding some fennel to yours for a delicious twist.
Have a go at making your own tartare sauce and mushy peas. Simply blitz up some peas with fresh mint, butter, salt and lemon juice. And don’t forget some bread and butter for a chip sarnie!
Take a look at the recipes for tartare sauce and mushy peas below.
- 200ml mayonnaise
- 3 tbsp capers, drained and chopped
- 3 tbsp gherkins, drained and chopped
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- Drizzle of lemon juice
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Flaked sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Serve immediately or keep in the fridge until needed.
- 25g butter
- 3 sprigs of mint (chopped)
- freshly ground black pepper
· Completely cover the peas with water in a shallow pan and heat on a medium to high heat.
· Once the water is boiling, place a lid over the pan. Simmer for three minutes.
· Drain the peas and move to a bowl.
· Combine the butter and mint, then mash with a potato masher. Season as you like.
So, there you have it. The lowdown on how to cook the perfect fish and chips – the fast food and cornerstone of Great British culture. After all, who doesn’t love crispy fish and fluffy chips? And they’ll taste even better than the ones you get from the local chippy.