Fish and chips are one of those comfort foods that we all love, even those of us who aren’t really interested in seafood. There is something about the crunchy goodness, slathered in tartar sauce with a pile of salty fries and ketchup. If something is that good when you pick it up, just imagine how great it would be if you make it at home!
Truthfully, if your kitchen includes a deep fryer or you are comfortable deep frying on the stove, making fish and chips at home is a no brainer. Unlike some other make it yourself things though, it is no cheaper than buying it at the corner fish and chip shop. My fish of choice for the classic meal is halibut. If you’ve bought it recently, halibut is not an inexpensive fish. On the day that we made this batch, fish for our family of 5 cost over $50. The last time we bought a family pack with fries and cole slaw, I think it cost us $62. So don’t think you are going to save anything making this at home, just know that it will be the best fish and chips you’ve ever had!
Preheat your fryer to 375 degrees.
Fish – we use halibut, but cod is also popular. I have a feeling that tilapia would work nicely as well.
Making the batter is really quite simple. In a shallow bowl or pan, mix about 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of cayenne and about 2/3 of a beer.
You can play around with different amounts of beer and flour to get your batter to a consistency you like. A thinner batter tends not to stick to the fish as well, but gives a nice, light crunch. A thicker batter will create a more dense crust with a satisfying thick crunch. There is no need to be exact in your measurements, as both end results are good.
Set up a dredging station with 2 dishes next to the heater fryer. The first dish should have flour with a bit of salt and pepper mixed in. Dredge your first fish filet in the flour. This will help the batter stick to your fish.
Then, move your fish to the second dish, containing your batter. Dip the fish in the batter and ensure that the whole piece is coated. Now it is time to go to the fryer.
Use your man hands
Putting the fish in the hot oil is the most crucial point and also the step that is most likely to give you problems.
First off, you want to use your hands to put the fish in the oil. Tongs usually don’t have enough bite to hold the slippery, batter coated fish. Also, tongs tend to leave an area with no batter.
Holding the fish by one end, dip the other end into the hot oil. Carefully hold it there for a moment as the batter begins to fluff up. This might be 20 seconds or so. Then, gently release the fish into the oil. The key word here is gently.
If the fish is dropped, 2 things will happen: The hot oil will splash, causing grievous pain when it hits your flesh. More importantly, the fish will sink to the bottom of the fryer and weld itself to the bottom of the basket. Then, when attempting to remove the fish from the basket, you will once again splash yourself with molten oil. Not only will you be writhing in pain, but the crispy batter will be gone from one side of the fish. You can give that one to the kids!
As your floaty fish is cooking, you will see the batter turning golden. After 3 or 4 minutes, you will want to use your tongs to turn the fish over so that both sides cook evenly.
When the fish is lovely and brown, lift the basket out of the oil and allow the excess oil to drain off. Then, move the fish to a baking tray in a warm oven before starting on your next batch.
How many pieces you can fry at once depends on the size of your filets and your fryer. In our case, we tend to work with 2 pieces at a time. As long as your oven is nice and warm, your fish will stay hot and crispy.
Next up, I’ll talk about home made fries and tartar sauce to go along with your kickin’ fish.