You need just a handful of everyday ingredients to make shatteringly crispy beer-battered fish and chips that rival your favourite takeaway. Plus, I’m sharing my tricks for foolproof deep-frying at home. Serve with tartare (or tomato) sauce and lots of lemon wedges.
A Kiwi summer isn’t a Kiwi summer without ripping into a package of fish and chips on the beach. That gorgeously golden, ultra-crispy beer batter encasing perfectly cooked, flaky and buttery fresh fish is incredible enough alone, but paired with crispy, crunchy chips? This really is the ultimate, nostalgic comfort food.
But you can enjoy this beautiful meal at any time of year, and it’s surprisingly simple to make it at home. It’s also very quick – fish cooks fast so the longest part of this recipe is waiting for the chips to bake.
And if you’re nervous about deep-frying, I’m sharing the top tips and tricks I’ve learned after a LOT of deep frying at home to help you along the way.
All you need are a collection of simple, everyday ingredients to make the best fish and chips around.
- Potatoes. You want to use a floury potato variety, rather than anything too waxy. I like Agria, Maris piper or Yukon gold.
- Polenta. This is the secret little ingredient I use to help create that lovely crispy coating on chips. It’s the same technique I use in these SUPER easy roast potatoes that you don’t have to peel. You could use flour or almond flour if you don’t have polenta.
- White fish fillets. Firm white fish fillets are best here – cod, hake, snapper, tarakihi, haddock, hoki or tilapia are good options.
- Beer. Go for a light lager, anything too dark will impact the flavour of the batter.
- Paprika and ground turmeric. I love to use these two spices for extra flavour (and colour!) in the batter, but you could leave them out if you like.
- Oil. You want to use an oil with a high smoke point for deep-frying. That means sunflower oil, rapeseed oil or avocado oil, and not olive oil.
Two tricks for nailing deep frying at home
Deep frying at home can feel a little scary, but I promise it’s not as complicated as you think. These two tricks are key to making sure you get the best, crispiest result.
- Monitor the temperature of your oil. It’s SUPER important for your oil to be at the right temperature when you add your fish (or whatever you’re frying). Too hot, and the batter will burn before the inside cooks and too cold, you’ll end up with a sad, soggy piece of fish.
- This is especially important in this recipe which relies on the shock of the ice-cold batter hitting hot oil to immediately crisp up the batter. Your oil should be at 180C/356F before you add your fish. The easiest way to monitor this is with a probe thermometer. You can find them pretty cheaply on Amazon and I really do recommend it.
- If you don’t have a thermometer, use the chopstick test. Hold a chopstick (or a wooden spoon) upright in the hot oil. If the oil bubbles up rapidly around the oil, it’s good to go. If it doesn’t, it’s too cold and needs more heat.
- Don’t overcrowd your pot. This is also related to the temperature of your oil. If you add too many pieces of fish to your pot at once, the temperature of your oil will drop rapidly and you’ll end up with soggy fish. I recommend just frying one piece by itself first, so you can get the hang of it.
How to make it
Chop your potatoes into chunky chips, then pop them into a large pot and cover with cold water and some salt. Bring to a boil for about 4 minutes, then drain the potatoes and toss with the polenta. Arrange on an oven tray that’s been heating in the oven with your oil, then bake for 35 minutes, until super golden and crispy all over.
When your chips have about 10 minutes left of cooking time, start the fish. Heat your oil in a large pot to 180C/356C. Mix your flour, baking powder, spices and salt in a large bowl and pat your fish fillets dry. When your oil is at 180C/356F, pour in your ice-cold beer and whisk into a thick batter.
Dip a piece of fish into the batter, coating both sides. To prevent the fish from sticking to the bottom of the pan, slowly and CAREFULLY lower the battered fish into the oil., holding one end while the part in the batter puffs up. At this point, release the fish into the oil completely. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side, until the batter is super golden and crispy.
Transfer to a wire rack and scatter with flaky sea salt, then repeat with the other fillets. Serve up with the chips, tartare sauce, tomato sauce (ketchup) and lots of lemon wedges on the side.
Got a question?
This really is a recipe that needs to be eaten right away – the fish won’t reheat well and you’ll lose the crispiness of the batter. However, there are ways you can get ahead so that the actual cooking is easier. For the chips, you can par-boil the potatoes and toss them in polenta up to 24 hours before you want to cook them (just pop them into the fridge). You can mix the dry ingredients for your batter ahead of time, then mix through the beer when you’re ready to fry.
You could use ice-cold soda water instead of beer for an alcohol-free version.
In my book tartare sauce, tomato sauce (ketchup) and lots of fresh lemon wedges are non-negotiables, but you can bulk out the meal with fresh salads – I like something crunchy and fresh like an Asian slaw, shaved zucchini salad or smacked cucumber salad. Soft garlic butter dinner rolls or no-knead focaccia are also great options, served with roasted garlic butter or wild garlic butter on the side.
Do you have your FREE Fakeaway Favourites e-book?
It’s filled with my absolute favourite takeaway dishes you can make at home!
From a quick pad thai and saag paneer, to Korean fried chicken, beef rendang and chicken satay, you’ll love exploring the book.
Like this recipe? Here are more fakeaways ideas for you
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.Print