Since it’s 2012 and London is the host of the Olympics, I made Fish and Chips!
I have an English office mate who swears by the goodness of this very popular London take-away food. He also told me that putting beer in the batter would make it even better! Who am I to not follow his recommendation? I have certainly not been to London nor have I eaten really good fish and chips in the past — and he is English!
It’s like skipping the sauteeing of onion and garlic even if Filipinos tell you that it’s usually the first step in cooking Philippine cuisine. Although there are some dishes which have only onions (such as Beef Steak, Sinigang and Nilaga) or only garlic (such as Sinangag and Adobo), it’s quite rare to not have them together in a dish.
I followed a recipe from Food.com; Real English Fish and Chips With Yorkshire Beer Batter. I read some of the reviews and was satisfied with what I saw and decided to follow this one. Little did I know, I would not be making Real English Fish and Chips but just “Fish and Chips”! Hahaha! 😀 As you can see below, I did not use a British beer — I decided to buy a German dark beer (Dunkel Erdinger Weißbräu) because I thought it would taste better! When I drank it, it was the BEST beer I have ever had! But I think next time, I’d try to not use dark beer so the batter would look lighter (it would, right?).
Let’s start cooking! Below are all the ingredients I used.
I made the batter first because some people recommend to make it around 1 hour before. I started by putting 6 oz of plain flour, 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, salt and pepper and almost half of the beer (230ml) in a bowl. I poured the beer gradually and mixed the batter while I pour. The batter needs to have a thick consistency, somewhat similar to a pancake batter.
These pictures with my blue bowl is a reminder that I should buy stainless steel bowls! Hahaha! I have bought them already and I promise you this blue bowl will never be seen again! 😀
The other half of the beer was for my consumption. It.Was.The.BEST! I think next time friends come over, I should buy more bottles!
Once the batter was done, I set it aside and started to heat a lot of oil in the pot. It was around 500ml of oil.
Then I shifted my attention to the potatoes. I started to cut these little Australian new tomatoes to non-McDonald-fries sizes — they had to be bigger! Look at the beautiful color — it tasted really good too, more on the sweet side.
When the oil was hot enough (Sorry, I do not have a thermometer for this), I tested with one strip of potato. Then when I got good results, I added half of the sliced potatoes — but I could have put all of them, turns out I didn’t have to fry THAT much.
It’s really cool that these potatoes float to the top when they were almost done! Amazing! Although, I have not really fried potatoes in the past few years so..I wouldn’t really know if that was normal! Can someone tell me if this was normal?
I cooked the potatoes for around 10 minutes but if you would cut them thinner, you’d probably cook that for a shorter time.
While the potatoes were cooking, I focused on the fish. I used the usual…sole fillet. It’s the easiest fillet to find in Hong Kong! I made sure they were dry because when I took the picture of the ingredients, they were still wet, they were frozen!
I poured flour on a big plate then drenched the fish in flour, making sure that all parts were covered with it then I let that sit for a while. I didn’t want to waste a lot of cooking oil, so I used just one pot for both the potatoes and fish.
Going back to the potatoes: After they were done, I drained them using a strainer and placed them inside the oven to remain hot.
(Back to the fish) Pat the fish to remove excess flour — if there’s one thing I learned, it was that it shouldn’t have a thick flour coating. It has to be just enough — enough to coat the fish thoroughly.
What happened to the fish that had thick flour coating? Well, it wasn’t as crispy as those with just enough flour. It had the sponge-y feel just below the crispy batter.
Now, where is that bowl of beer batter? This was the essential part of making fish and chips!
Hold your fish at the tail or at the thinnest end of the fish and put that in the batter. I had to flip it to get batter all over the other side. I still held it at the thinnest end.
Plunge that into the oil starting with the thicker end (you are holding the thinnest end, right?) and then gradually lower the fish until all parts are submerged. At first I just didn’t care, I just let it dive into the oil but it sort of laid flat at the bottom of the pot. I got so scared that it would stick to the bottom! I got my spatula and scraped the bottom of the pot. The next 3 fish were gradually placed into the pot and yielded better looking results.
I cooked the fish for around 10 minutes each but it would really depend on the thickness of your fish.
Also, you’d notice that the part where you held it would have like a “hole”, the part with less batter when it’s cooked.
I served the fish and chips with salt and vinegar and wedges of lemon on the side. I do not know how to make tartar sauce yet…when I find out how, I’ll cook this again and share that with you!
Fish and Chips
Overall Prep Time: 15 minutes | Overall Cooking Time: 30 minutes (same pot of oil); 20 minutes (separate pots)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
- 6oz plain flour
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Dash of salt
- Dash of pepper
- 230ml beer (I used Erdinger)
- Place all in a mixing bowl except the beer.
- Pour beer gradually while you whisk. Pour and whisk until the consistency is like pancake batter, quite thick (not too thick and not like water).
- Set aside.
Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cooking Time: 10 minutes*
- sliced potatoes
- 500ml oil
- seasoning (salt or cajun…or whatever floats your boat)
- Slice the potatoes while you’re heating oil in the pot.
- When the pot is hot, deep fry the potatoes until golden brown and cooked. *The cooking time will vary on the size of your potatoes.
- Drain oil
- Season with your seasonings and mix well.
Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cooking Time: 10 minutes per fish*
- 2 fish fillets cut in half
- beer batter
- 500ml oil
- Make sure that the fish are dried by patting then using kitchen paper towels.
- Drench fish in flour. It is important hat all parts are completely covered with flour.
- Pat fish to remove excess flour. Remember! We don’t want a thick layer of flour!
- Swirl the fish in the beer batter.
- Hold the fish on the thinnest part of the fish and lower the fish gradually in the hot oil.
- Cook until the batter is golden brown. *The cooking time depends on the thickness of the fish, usually it is 6-10 minutes.
- Drain the fish on kitchen paper towel.
- Serve with lemon wedges and a bowl of salt & vinegar or tartar sauce.
Makes 4 servings