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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.

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Fish and Chips

5 from 6 reviews

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 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
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 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 1/3″ 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 320-300ยบF.
  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 365ยบF 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 365-375ยบ and drop the potatoes back in for a minute, or until brown and crispy.
  9. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

 

 

31 Comments

  1. Great Stone Face on December 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    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.

    • Hilah on December 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      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. larry kimball on December 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    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.

    • Hilah on December 11, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      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. Cat on December 30, 2012 at 3:14 am

    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…

    • Hilah on December 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      Yes! I couldn’t agree more! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for backing me up, Cat.

  4. Kerry on February 11, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    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)?

    • Hilah on February 11, 2013 at 9:53 pm

      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 on June 24, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    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

    • Hilah on June 25, 2013 at 9:46 am

      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. larry kimball on September 7, 2013 at 11:54 am

    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!

    • Hilah on September 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      Do it and send me a picture! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Lyn on October 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Made them and my picky husband says they are the best he’s ever had! Love your videos ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Hilah on October 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      Wow! What a compliment, Lyn! Thanks for writing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. tom on December 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm

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

    • Hilah on December 20, 2013 at 9:26 am

      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 on January 4, 2014 at 9:40 am

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

    • Hilah on January 4, 2014 at 4:52 pm

      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 on January 12, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    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

    • Hilah on January 13, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Thank you, Leonila! I hope I can inspire you to cook more, too!

  11. Imran on November 3, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Hi Hilah,

    Great tasting recipe!

    However, was making for 10 people so quadrupled the batter ingredients. For some reason the batter kept falling l off the first batch so we added some more flour to thicken. Still had some issues with the batter not sticking when frying then after having placed the fish on a non stick pan after frying the fish stuck to the pan!

    Any pointers please? Where do you think I went wrong?

    • Hilah on November 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      Hi Imran!
      Sometimes batters and things that are flour-based get a little wonky when you do more than double the ingredients. Next time, make two batches of double batter.
      For the frying, sounds like your oil might not have been hot enough. That is usually the problem when batter falls off while frying. Use a thermometer to check it or if you don’t have one, stick then end of a wooden spoon in the oil and when bubbles rise from the wood, it’s hot enough.

      • Imran on November 3, 2014 at 3:10 pm

        Thanks Hilah, will be sure to give it another go.

  12. Jason on February 20, 2015 at 2:12 am

    Hey there hilah

    I just wanted to ask can this be done with larger pieces of fish? As like in two full fillet hake pieces of fish…. or does it have to be more or less like a fish finger size piece of fish?

    thanks so much!

    Kindest Regards
    Jason

    • Hilah on February 20, 2015 at 7:55 am

      Hi Jason!
      The thickness of the fish is what’s really important, rather than the length and width. Does that make sense? As long as you have a large enough pan or pot for frying large fillets and the fillets are no more than 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick or so they should cook in just about the same amount of time. And you will want to just cook one at a time to prevent crowding and cooling the oil too much. Let me know how it goes!

  13. Drei on March 9, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Hi Hilah? Very great recipe. Will surely try this one. Do you recommend this batter for shrimp and veggie tempura? Thank you much!

    • Hilah on March 12, 2015 at 9:06 am

      Hi Drei!
      Yes you can use this as a tempura batter.

  14. plasterer bristol on December 30, 2015 at 12:50 am

    This sounds really delicious and something new to try. love fish and chips, Thank you for sharing this.

    Simon

  15. plasterer in bristol on October 28, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Im Impressed that looks great!!!

  16. Sharron on July 13, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Very similar to what I do – I use soda water most times (beer other times) but I’ve never added the baking powder – will try that… guess that just helps to puff it up?

    I really want a deep fryer but have limited space so am waffling on it.

    • Hilah on July 13, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      I don’t think you really need a deep fryer, Sharron; especially not for this. It’ll work just fine on the stove in a deep pot with a thermometer!

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