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Old 03-29-2007, 10:12 PM   #1
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Question Fish and Chips?

Ok i am going to try my hand this weekend to try to make authentic fish and chips again. I tried it long time ago but it it didn't turn out very well. Id like some pointers, especially from our UK members, on what makes a good authentic fish and chips. I just watched throwdown on food network and i watched very closely at the guy that bobby was competing against. Unfortunatly they only posted Bobby's recipe and not this guys. Bobby's recipe doesn't look all that great. Some things i picked up from the show is that you don't want you batter to be to thick (since i don't have the feel of this its hard for me to determine). This guy also used "Seltzer water" which i don't if its that easy to find or not. Anyways anything in general you can point out would be appreciated but here are my questions ive came up with:

Fish
1) What temperature do you want to use? Do you want to change the temperature when your frying the fish or do you keep it constant?

2) I know batter is key to fish and chips. You want to taste the fish and want a light and crispy batter. It looks like this guy just used Wheat Flour, Seltzer water, and a little red food coloring. Is wheat flour traditional? Ive seen a lot of recipes use rice flour. What is a good way for a beginner to know what consistency the batter should be?

3) Is seltzer water traditional? If i can't find it is there anything i could replace it with? How about a beer batter?

Fries
How big would you say to cut the fries. All of them seem to use the double fry method which ive used more than once and the fries were not as crispy as i expected

I will be getting Malt Vinegar, Make Tarter sauce and probably use a lemon (even though i know its not authentic but i love lemon on fish)

So any other tips or a very good recipe would also be appreciated.

thanks,
ncage

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Old 03-29-2007, 10:22 PM   #2
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I've used this recipe and it was very good!

This recipe calls for beer but you can sub club soda which is another name for seltzer.

I cut fries to 1/2"
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Old 03-29-2007, 10:23 PM   #3
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batter is light and crisp, I have seen and had it like a light tempura, and a light batter...I'll see if I can get my mums recipe to pass along.

As for the chips, thick cut, lots of malt.

what about the mushy peas though
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Old 03-29-2007, 10:36 PM   #4
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Thanks guys for the reply. I have been doing some searching and it looks like one of the secrets to the chips is not to use a potato with high sugar content...so it looks like idaho are out. Maybe Yukons or Reds would work.

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Old 03-29-2007, 10:51 PM   #5
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Now decisions decisions. I have been doing some googling and some recipes have egg. This looks bad to me. It looks like the batter gets way way to dark when you add egg to the batter. Another thing is it seems like there has to be some type of levaning in the batter (baking powder or Self Rising Flour). Maybe that guy on throwndown didn't use levaning because the bubbles in the seltzer water act as levaning?

One difference i have seen from the recipes is that some tell you not to overwork the batter and some clumbs in the batter is good. Others tell you to beat the batter with a at high speed so you can incorporate air into the batter. So i don't know which is correct here.
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Old 03-30-2007, 04:10 AM   #6
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I have not cooked fish and chips, but I am a big eater of them!

The batter should be a darkish gold and crisp. The chips should be chunky (not littke crisp fries). The ideal chip is crisp outside and melty soft inside..

Beer is often used in the batter, but if you prefer a lighter selzter batter my local chippy in Somerset add a tiny bit of lemon juice too, you can barely taste it, and you would not know it was there if you weren't used to it, but it lightens the taste. I hate greasy fish and chips....yuk, and the whole thing needs a perkled gerkin or onion or mushy peas. I ignored the mushy peas for years until a few years ago and they are simply gorgeous.

Sorry I cannot be more practical help.
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Old 03-30-2007, 05:02 AM   #7
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Have a look at this:

Waitrose.com recipes - Fish and Chips - Recipe Search

The description is obviously for people who don't cook much, but you might find it useful.

As for malt vinegar on chips, I loathe the stuff! Try some separately on a couple of chips before dousing your whole dinner just in case you don't like the cough-inducing smell!

And I agree with lulu about mushy peas. They don't look or even sound very appetising but they are in fact delicious. I tried them for the first time just last year and was impressed.
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Old 03-30-2007, 05:05 AM   #8
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I am a malt vinegar for fish and chips kinda girl, but also love other vinegars. A mulberry vinegar was a nice change a few months ago.
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Old 03-30-2007, 08:13 AM   #9
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The standard for french fries is the russet (Idaho) potato. It's a high starch potato.
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Old 03-30-2007, 08:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
The standard for french fries is the russet (Idaho) potato. It's a high starch potato.
I agree, they are the best, for fries (chips) !
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Old 03-30-2007, 08:52 AM   #11
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maris piper make great chips, but any really starchy spud will do the trick, it`s also best to pich the unwashed "dirty" potatoes too, not the ones that are pre-washed, as the starches turn to sugars and you`re left with a limp soggy chip.
it`s important that when they`re peeled you wash the starch off and dry them well, and then Blanch them on a lower temp than you`de fry them at, they`re done when you can squish them between your fingers.
at this stage you can leave them out to cool or even refrigerate/freeze them.
the next step is to crank up the oil heat and finish them off, to golden brown, they should make a nice rustling sound when shook in the basket.
drain on kitchen towel and serve up :)
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Old 03-30-2007, 09:39 AM   #12
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dumb question...but is an idaho/russett potato just a generic baking potato?

u all have me jonezing for some fish and chips, so i think im gonna try andy's recipie tonight!
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Old 03-30-2007, 09:41 AM   #13
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also..what kind (if any) of dip or sauce do is used (traditionaly) for the fish? tar tar??
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Old 03-30-2007, 09:43 AM   #14
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salt and malt vinigar then wrapped up in Newspaper is the Correct way.

Trust me, I`m an Englishman, we Know these things ;)
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Old 03-30-2007, 09:50 AM   #15
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hey YT...can u plz clarify tihs:

it`s also best to pich the unwashed "dirty" potatoes too, not the ones that are pre-washed"

what do u mean my pich...throw out??
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Old 03-30-2007, 09:58 AM   #16
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it was a Typo (sorry) it should be "PICK" my bad :)
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Old 03-30-2007, 10:20 AM   #17
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Why is it that all the red, white, fingerling, yukon, and purple potatoes are cleaned up and displayed in the produce cases, while the poor lowly russet potatoes are just piled up in a bin on the floor, all covered with dirt, slashed by the potato digger's spade, looking all embarrassed to even be there?

Here is my favorite beer batter for the fish part (I think Pacific red snapper is best!) of fish & chips:


Beer Batter

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 eggs
12 ounces beer (I use Corona because poeople keep bringing it to my house, and I can't stand drinking it!)


Directions:
Mix all ingredients in large bowl, beat until smooth. Allow to settle for about 15 minutes, then dredge each fillet in flour, dip into batter to coat, GENTLY place in a deep fryer with oil heated to 360F and fry until golden brown and crisp.


As far as the chips go, find symetrical russet pottoes, peel, and cut into strips the length of the potato, about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch thick. Deep fry at 330F until cooked through, then remove from oil and allow to cool. Reset oil temperature to 375 F, then refry cooled potatoes until golden brown.
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Old 03-30-2007, 12:31 PM   #18
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Use regular Idaho potatoes for your chips. I like to cut mine about 1/2 an inch wide, and about 1/8 - 1/4 of an inch thick. You're going to blanch them in 250 degree oil so that the outside doesn't crisp but the inside cooks through. Let them cool, and prepare your fish in the meantime. To finish your fries, cook them in 350 degree oil until crispy.
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Old 03-30-2007, 08:44 PM   #19
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my first attempt

Here it is:



So what do you guys think? Did i do alright. I found out good cod was really hard to find around here. We have some specialized fish chops but i didn't go there. Anyways i went to a bigger grocery store here that is known to have things that most of the other stores don't have. I did find fresh cold fillets but they were $8.00 a pound...i was like WOW. I might as well ordered lobster. Anyways i did buy it because i didn't want my attempt to be screwed by the fact that i had bad fish. I kind of used a combination of recipes: Part AB Recipe, Part Tyler Florence, and part of a recipe i found on recipezaar. I used mostly guidlines from AB recipe but i used coating the fish in rice flour from tyler and i added malt vinegar to the batter like the recipe on recipezaar called for.

Unbenounced to me i actually like malt vinegar on the fish more than lemon. I could tell i bought good quality fish because it was nice and flakey and didn't have any after taste at all. I think the batter turned out nice but im thinking maybe i would like soda water/seltzer even better.

As you can tell in the picture the potatoes are quite dark but this is the way i lilke them. I like them as crispy as i can get them.

Ncage
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Old 03-30-2007, 09:31 PM   #20
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The fish and chips look great. How did they taste?
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