Fish and Chips

The first fish and chips I ever ate was in London, December 1999.

My super awesome bestie was doing a study abroad there for a year and his girlfriend (another of my besties) and I planned a visit. The idea was to be there for Y2K so we could all celebrate the end of the world together, doing heroin and drinking gin behind a bush alongside the Thames while buildings crashed down around us in a blaze of fireworks that would set the river itself on fire. Of course, the world did not end, the river stayed not-on-fire, and heroin was not as fun as I thought it would be. But the fish and chips. Right-O. I forgot. They were just okay. We had them a few times in pubs, but honestly the pub made a better veggie burger than fish and chips. The fish batter was never as crisp as it should be, nor were the fries for that matter.

The best fish and chips I ever ate, though, was when I was living in New Zealand. There was a “chippery” not too far from us and about once a week, I’d drive over in an old mini-truck to rent a movie at the movie store and grab a paper wad full of freshly fried fish and chips. Every day they’d get in a shipment of literally-fresh-off-the-boat fish, several types, all at market price, and you could pick which you liked. Hoki, snapper, blue cod, tarakihi, and even shark sometimes all made appearances on the white board. As I recall, hoki is a very popular fish in New Zealand, as is snapper. The batter was always paper-thin, crisp, salty and flaky and the package would stay hot until we got it home, although more often than not, many of the chips were eaten in the truck on the way. We gobbled them up at the table with lemon and malt vinegar and cold beers before retiring upstairs to watch scary movies and drink more beers until we just had to make another run to the fish-n-chip shop.

The recipe here is every bit as good as the one used by the fishman in New Zealand. The secret ingredient is soda water, but you can use anything fizzy: beer, ale, I think even ginger ale would make an exciting twist. Quick mixing and the ice cubes also keep too much gluten from forming, which makes the batter fry up extra crispy, much like a tempura batter.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Fish and Chips
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Russet potatoes, scrubbed (peeled if you like)
  • 1 pound white fish fillets (boneless, skinless)
  • Frying oil, about 4 cups (grapeseed, peanut, canola)
  • Batter:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dill weed (optional)
  • Dash cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup cold club soda
  • 2 ice cubes
  • For serving:
  • malt vinegar, lemon wedges, tartar sauce
Instructions
  1. Cut the potatoes lengthwise into slices about ⅓" thick by 1" wide. Soak in a bowl of cold water for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
  2. Cut the fish into portions about 1" by 4-6" long and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the dry batter ingredients together, then stir in soda quickly. Drop in two ice cubes.
  4. Heat the oil to 320-300ºF.
  5. Drain the potatoes and dry well on a clean towel. Drop into the oil a cup at a time and fry about 2 minutes, until the bubbling has mostly subsided. Remove with tongs or a spider to paper to drain.
  6. Heat the oil up to 365ºF now.
  7. Give the batter a stir and dip each piece of fish in to coat, then move into the hot oil. Cook only 3-4 pieces at a time to keep the oil temperature from dropping too much, which results in grease-sogged crust. Fry 2-3 minutes or until fish is floating and batter is golden brown. Drain on paper.
  8. Make sure the oil is still around 365-375º and drop the potatoes back in for a minute, or until brown and crispy.
  9. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

 

 

Comments

  1. Great recipe! I like the idea of the club soda, although I might use seltzer instead to control the sodium level. If I used beer for the liquid, should I let the batter sit and ferment overnight, or is it not necessary?

    As for the type of fish, yeah, any kind can be good. I’ve had pollock, grouper, whatever. In Anacortes, Washington, I had a killer fish & chips made with salmon.

    • Yes, either will work. You don’t need to let it sit overnight, but I think you could let it sit up to a few hours with no change. Maybe just keep it in the fridge so it stays cold.
      I’ve never had FNC with anything but white fish – how was the salmon? I’ve heard tell of that, but I just can’t imagine it.

  2. Girl you did it again! This will be my go-to recipe for fried fish. The batter is very similar to the batter I use for Chinese fried shrimp, except I add 1 cup of cornstarch to the mix and increase the baking powder to 3 teaspoons. Mine also calls for 1 beaten egg, but I might omit that. The cornstarch adds to the crunchiness I think. The two-part fry for the potatoes is spot on! I also use 1 cup of ‘sold’ club soda, LOLz! Keep up your good work Hilah, I look forward to your videos.

    • Dang! I always mix up the S and C when I’m typing fast!
      I was thinking some cornstarch added would be good, but haven’t tried it. Thanks, Larry! Hope you like it.

  3. Wooo New Zealand! We get totally spoiled for good fish n chips here and they’re dirt cheap. It’s sad how inferior and pricey they are abroad…

  4. My family loved this recipe! I noticed that the fried fish stays crisp for a little over 30 minutes. How can it keep its crispiness for a longer period of time (for as long as hour)?

    • Thanks, Kerry! I’m so happy y’all liked it. You could try holding the fish longer in a low oven (200-250F) as long as the pieces are sitting up on a rack, and not right against a baking sheet.

  5. Thom Rios says:

    Dear Hilah, I really like your recipe for fish and chips, but I was wondering do you think it could be made a tad bit sweeter. It seems just a bit bland. I had some fish at a place and their batter just seemed to have a bit of sweetness to it, it was very good. Anyway, I was also wondering, what kind of deep fryer you use in the video? It seems like just the right size. Let me know, if you will, what brand it is and where I can get one. Thanks

    • Hey Thom!
      Sure! It’s great to change recipes to suit your own tastes. You could add a teaspoon of sugar next time and see if that is enough for you. Hope you figure out the perfect batter for your tastebuds!

  6. I had forgotten about this recipe! Still shocked to hear about the inferior fish-n-chips in the UK, you would think it would be excellant there. Just re-affirms the ‘British-bad-food” thingy. One of my goals in the next few weeks is to make perfect fish-n-chips, just like you do!

  7. Made them and my picky husband says they are the best he’s ever had! Love your videos ;)

  8. how long can you save that batter for? do you just have to keep it cold?

    • Hi Tom! I wouldn’t try to keep it longer than 24 hours. The leavening probably won’t stay good that long and the soda bubbles will go flat and I don’t think it would be very good anymore. But yes, definitely keep it in the fridge for storing.

  9. Sherrie Ager says:

    Love your recipes! I was just wondering what type of fryer you are using?

    • Hi Sherrie!
      I use an old Fry Daddy Jr. but I may have used a Ninja fryer in this video. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend the Ninja as it was no longer working the next time I plugged it in!

  10. Leonila de amor says:

    Hy,ive done a lot of types and different ways of making fish and chips,,,but urs i saw ,,,,oh really the recipe ive waited and perfectly of my desire,,,thanx alot and god bless,,,,hoping to see more recipe that help my ambitions of cooking

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