The UK: Fish n’ Chips

fish n chipsWhen I was very young, my mother would talk fondly about the Fish n’ Chips that she had while my father was stationed in England. She loved how they served them wrapped in British newspaper (with a plain paper liner). They now sadly serve them in Styrofoam. Hardly something you’d remember fondly. At any rate, I went to London in 1997 on business–I arrived there from Paris the day after Princess Diana’s funeral. I’ll never forget all the flowers stacked along the fence of Kensington Palace and the immense throng of people who had come to pay their respects.

Anyway , I looked for a place where I could buy some fish n’ chips, since I’d never had them in London before. Strangely, I couldn’t find an establishment to sell me any. They all looked at me like I was crazy. I finally got lucky and stumbled into a vendor at Hyde Park who did, in fact, sell Fish n’ Chips. I sat on a park bench in front of Serpentine Lake and ate my first real British fish n’ chips. It’s a nice memory for me now.

Kid Approved. I tried the recipe on Little Boy G the other day. He protested as usual when I told him what we were having for dinner. I told him that if he didn’t like it, he didn’t have to eat it. The good news is, he not only ate it, he asked, very sweetly, for more.

Fish n’ Chips are great for anyone, especially kids…just don’t try to
keep them as leftovers unless you like your fish soggy.

History. According to Wikipedia, Fish and Chips (sometimes written “fish ‘n’ chips”), a popular take-away food with British origins, consists of deep-fried fish (traditionally Cod) in batter or breadcrumbs with deep-fried chipped (slab-cut) potatoes. It became a cheap food popular among the working classes with the rapid development of trawl fishing in the North Sea in the second half of the nineteenth century. The covering of the fish may vary: bread crumbs or the traditional flour-based batter. In the UK, batter comes as the standard coating, with breadcrumb-coated fish unavailable in many outlets.

Here is my (beer batter) recipe:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups beer
  • Your choice of white fish (Cod, Flounder, Haddock, Tilapia, etc.)
  • Frozen French Fries (the Chips)
  • Vegetable Oil

Heat oil in a good size pot for deep frying the fish.

In a small mixing bowl, add the flour and the egg. Stir in 1 cup beer (you can add more than one cup to obtain your desired texture). You’ll propably have some beer left over. Hmm, what to do? What to do??? Go ahead and drink it. It’s just not right to waste these days.

Cut the fish into bite sized pieces and then sprinkle them with salt. Then dip the pieces of the fish into the batter, covering both sides. Using tongs, lower the fish (3 or 4) into the hot oil (be careful–it will spatter), and cook until golden brown.

Prepare the French Fries in any manner that you choose. You can also use the beer batter for veggies, too. Enjoy!