British Fish & Chips

Janette Fuschi | Culinary Ginger
Yum

British fish & chips are a national treasure and there’s no denying their popularity. Fresh cod is beer battered then shallow fried to golden perfect and served with a side of thick cut chips and peas.

British Fish & Chips Photo

Fish and chips shops in England seem like they are on every corner. You can’t walk down any high street without walking by a fish and chip shop and smelling the all-familiar smell of fried fish and chips.

Fish and chips are synonymous with going to the beach. Not the sitting in the sand in your bathing suit kind of beach visit. This is about a slow walk along the promenade with your fish and chips wrapped in paper, while taking in the sea air type of visit. And this all makes them taste just that much better.

The fish is made using a meaty cod or haddock. The batter is (of course) a beer batter, and the beer not only adds great flavor, but the combination of the bubbles and baking powder makes for a light and very crispy batter when fried.

British Fish & Chips Picture

Usually served with mushy peas or regular peas, I broke from tradition this time by taking inspiration from the last time I was in a hotel in the south of England where they served my fish and chips with a pea purée.

Fresh, cooked peas are blended with a little liquid (I used chicken stock), salt and pepper and blended until you get a thick consistency. It works so well with the fish and chips and the vibrant green color is stunning.

British Fish & Chips Image

The chips are thick cut, not thin ones, those are French fries. These are proper British chips and you must call them that when you are in a ‘chippy’ (a fish and chip shop) or pretty much anywhere in the U.K.

As far as condiments, malt vinegar is a must, drizzled all over the fish and the chips if you like, and most people do. Ketchup is also a favorite along with a good tartar sauce, and that’s how you do fish and chips right.

British Fish & Chips Recipe

    4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 Cod Fillets, or haddock fillets (fresh)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 6 ounces All-Purpose Flour, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 8 fluid ounces Light Beer, cold
  • Canola Oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds Russet Potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick chips

Directions

  1. Season the fish filets both sides with salt and pepper and dredge in 2 tablespoons flour. Set aside while you make the batter.
  2. Add the remaining 6 ounces flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper and baking powder to a large shallow bowl.
  3. While whisking, slowly pour in the beer until there are no lumps and it is the thickness of pancake batter.
  4. To a high-sided heavy pan, add the oil to 1/3 full with canola oil and bring up to a temperature of 375°F.
  5. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and place in a 275°F oven.
  6. Coat 1 fish filet in the batter and hold up to drain off excess.
  7. Holding the fish at one end, slowly add the fish to the oil. Hold it with most of it submerged for about 3-4 seconds so it does not sink to the bottom and stick.
  8. Submerge the whole fish and fry for 4-5 minutes, turning halfway until golden brown.
  9. Drain and put on the wire rack in the oven. Repeat with the other filets.
  10. While the fish is in the oven, turn down the heat under the oil until the temperature of the oil reaches 350°F.
  11. Add the chips and fry, turning often about 8 minutes until golden brown.
  12. Drain and serve with the fish and peas.

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Janette Fuschi

About Janette

Janette is a British ex-pat living in Southern California. On her blog, Culinary Ginger, you'll learn all about it. On Food Fanatic, you'll see her favorite British classics, and ours too!