Yesterday I cooked fish and chips – from scratch – for the first time. It was surprisingly easy – Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall helped a lot.
There are a lot of recipes and videos advising on how to make the perfect batter. Some use fizzy water, some use beer, some neither. I wanted beer in my batter so after looking around for a while, this video came in very handy before I got to work. It seems apt that the video was from Hugh as he is currently actively involved in campaigning with The Big Fish Fight.
I halved the quantities Hugh recommended. So instead of eight tablespoons of plain flour, I used four, and a half bottle of Organic beer (the other half I disposed of sensibly – in my stomach).
Adding two tablespoons of sunflower oil, gradually stirred in quantities of the beer until I had what Hugh recommended as a “thick gloss paint” texture – nice visual. I seasoned with salt and pepper and here is what I was left with.
I left this mixture to rest for 30 minutes and meanwhile, I got on with prepping the chips.
Inspired by The Good Cook, I decided I would try to make twice cooked chips. They always taste so fantastic at restaurants.
I peeled and evenly sliced about five to six Maris Piper potatoes and washed the starch out thoroughly – you’ll know when this is done because the water will run clear.
Drain the chopped potatoes and use a clean (obviously) dry tea towel to blot off excess water. I used a wok. I always use a wok to deep fry – the high walls help to reduce splashes and it gets hot very quickly. Add sunflower oil and once the oil is very hot, you’re ready to fry. I added the potatoes to the oil and timed it for seven minutes. This is the first stage of cooking.
Taking the potatoes out of the wok, I set them aside on a plate layered with kitchen paper, and got to work with the fish.
Evenly coat the haddock fish in the organic beer batter.
BE VERY CAREFUL – now it’s time to lower the fish into the wok and get frying. Once the fish is fully immersed – you can cook it for about five to seven minutes depending on the size of the fish. Seven minutes was more than enough time for the two portions I cooked.
7 minutes later look what we have – have you seen fish this good from your local chippy?
Time for the chips to go back in, this time fry for about seven to eight minutes – or until brown.
When you take the chips out – they will be wonderfully crispy and you will see and taste the effect of the twice cooked chips – it’s like they have two skins on the potatoes – hence the name.
Here’s the final dish I served up last night – add peas and there you have a fantastic Saturday night dinner that beats any takeaway.