Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fish & Chips

My cravings has been taking over my life lately! Fish & Chips, today and its just one of those cravings which I cannot contain. I just had to have it right there and then!

For me, Fish & Chips, are either great or bad. Many restaurants are now diverting from fresh fish, fresh batter, to frozen battered fish. Am not saying all restaurants do that, but I've had $20 Fish & Chips and it was frozen battered fish. Its just a disappointment that a chef would allow his kitchen to do such thing. It does not have to be an expensive thing, even using simple Whiting Fillets or even, Basa fillets you can uplift this classic into another level. Yes, there are other expensive fish out there that will boost everything to an amazing dish, using Cod, Turbot or even Shark. It is very hard to get your hands on some Turbot in Australia. I've only seen it once and it was frozen. But there's a saying, it is better to have frozen fresh fish rather than to buy something that isn't fresh at all.

My personal preference, would have got to be Cod. The texture is perfect, it is very smooth, the meat's thickness is just right and if cooked right, it just glistens and oozes with its juices.
The important thing about cooking Fish & Chips is that, the fish has actually got to steam inside the batter, not having a direct contact with the hot oil. That is why, it is very important to dust your fish with dry flour prior dipping it into the wet batter. The temperature of the oil also plays a major role in cooking Fish & Chips. Preferably around 180'c (if you dip a wooden chopstick into your hot oil and it starts to produce small bubbles around the chopstick, then your oil is around 180'c) and the timing of the actual cooking is probably, the most important aspect. It will determine whether it is an excellent or substandard dish.
Personally, my preference for the perfect batter has to be crispy and very light. For me, the Japanese have perfected this technique with their Tempura dishes. Their batter is unbelievably light and super crispy and it is not easy to replicate this. Tempura batter cant entirely enclose the main ingredients with it but also, in saying this, it has to cover it enough.
Anyway, back to Fish & Chips, and here is my recipe in creating my perfect recipe. I've created this recipe for people who does not have a Siphon on hand. But if you readers have a Siphon on hand, I would recommend putting the whole wet batter into your Siphon. For every 500ml of wet batter, I would use 2 Chargers. Once charged, stick it in your fridge for at least an hour. A cold batter, will help it to help it to be a super crispy batter.

We haven't talked about chips yet! Yes, for me, chips have got to be super crispy, not soggy or oily. The potato has to be fluffy and not clogged. I have used Heston's triple cooked chips for this recipe and it works like a charm. Yes, it would take about twice the time in making it, but trust me, its worth your time.There are times, when you get a sudden hit of Fish & Chips cravings and you don't feel like cooking it your self. Your house would stink of oil and the preparation can be time consuming. It is perfectly fine to go down your local Fish & Chips and just order it. I do this mostly too! But, once in a while, when you have a sudden urge to cook, try this recipe.

Now all you guys got to do, is, imagine that you are in a Fish & Chips shop, the smell of pickled onions, oil and the amazing noise when chips are dropped into the hot oil.


A cup of beer
A cup of flour
Half a sachet of dry yeast
A pinch of salt

Desiree Potatoes

Either Cod or Turbot


Whisk all the batter ingredients, set it aside until fermentation of yeast is visible (bubbles showing on the surface of the batter)

Peeled Potatoes, cut into reasonable chips size. Boil it in salted water for about 6-7 minutes. Put it on a baking rack and freeze it.
Fry it on a low heat for about 6 minutes. Freeze it again. Fry it again on high heat for about 5 minutes. Perfect chips, crispy on the outside and mash potato texture on the inside.

Dust your fish with flour and tap any excess flour so its only a thin coating. Slap it slowly on the wet batter and fry it on a medium heat for about 6-8 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. It is recommended that when frying your fish, that the there is enough oil in your pan. It has to submerge.
Serve it with malt vinegar! and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

Oh yes, Coriander Mayonnaise!
If you want to make it simple, buy the mayonnaise. Buy the best mayonnaise you could possibly buy. Add half a lemon, salt and pepper to taste and finely chopped coriander.
If you want to be posh about it, put about 3 drops of truffle oil in the mayonnaise, and you can call it a truffle coriander mayonnaise!

Plating up
Be as crude or as haute as you want it to be guys! Serve it even on top of scrunched up newspaper if you want to! Just do the things that will bring memories back as if you were in your favorite Fish & Chips shop!


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