Crispy fish and chips originated in England and has become the most popular comfort food for all seafood lovers across the world hence proving once again that food has no boundaries; good food that is!
If I have to name one comfort food outside the Indian cuisine, then it must be fish and chips! It’s an honest confession. I am a fish lover and this crispy fried fish had blown my mind away when I had it the very first time on a day out! I am a typical fish-stew loving Bengali and crispy fish is not something I grew up on, but once discovered, I got so hooked into it that there is no looking back!
These crispy fish and chips have become a regular affair at my home now. I have few variations though; today’s recipe being a beer battered fry whereas if you have seen my previous crispy fried fish, you will get a non-alcoholic version, both being equally mind-blowing! What baking powder does in the earlier recipe is the same to what beer does in this one, beer giving just a bit of extra edge to it!
Being a Bengali and raised in Eastern region of India, I grew up on fish. The most common preparation of fish for Bengalis is fish stew or as we call it ‘machher jhol’, ‘Machh’ as in fish and ‘Jhol’ as in stew. It is basically a mildly spiced dish made with or without onion and best enjoyed with plain white rice. This was my only comfort food for a good 20 years and I can still live only on it.
But with the exposure to so many ingenious world cuisines thanks to my blog, I do crave for different things now. And with the discovery of this killer combination of fish and chips with a dash of lemon juice and mayo on the side, I can give the fish stew a miss for some time.
This recipe of fish and chips is inspired by the popular Irish chef & YouTuber Donal Skehan. He used beer for making the batter and I had heard that the fizz in beer contributes a lot to the crispiness of the fried fish. His fried fish looked so delish in the video that I was wising I could eat that right away! Only change I made is with the chips as I made the regular version and he had served with gorgeous hassle back potatoes for which I need a bit more practice before sharing here!
After watching his video for multiple times, the craving became so bad that I had to make a mid-week trip to the supermarket for getting a bottle of beer and make it as soon as possible in my own kitchen. Now the choice of fish is totally up to you, but of course you will need the skinless fillet of any boneless variety of fish. I used Basa which is a very succulent fish and takes no time to cook. You can use Haddock or Tilapia fillet too.
- Potatoes – 4, large
- Salt to taste
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- Basa fish fillet – 6, skinless and boneless
- All-purpose flour – 1 cup + 4 tbsp
- Cold beer – 1 & ½ cup
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- Peel and wash the potatoes well. (You can use unpeeled potato as well, peeling is my personal preference)
- First cut the potatoes into 1 cm thick slices, then cut each slices into 1 cm thick sticks.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a teaspoon of salt to it. When the water comes to rolling boil, add the potato sticks and cook them on medium heat for exactly 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes after 5 minutes and run them in cold water for couple of minutes.
- Then place them on an absorbent kitchen towel to soak any excess water. This step is very important to ensure crispy fries, so make sure the potato sticks are completely dry before putting them into hot oil.
- Heat oil in a deep frying pan until the oil is very hot. Now bring the temperature to medium and add the potato sticks in batches.
- Fry them on low to medium heat until golden. Then take them out and place on an absorbent kitchen towel. Sprinkle salt and pepper on them and toss them lightly.
- Wash and pat dry the fish fillets. Add salt and pepper on both sides.
- Place the 4 tablespoons of flour in a shallow plate. Coat each fillet with the flour on each side, shake off excess and set aside.
- Heat enough vegetable oil in a deep frying pan for deep frying and bring the oil to very high heat.
- While the oil is heating, prepare the batter. Place 1 cup of flour in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour in a little beer and mix thoroughly, keep adding the beer and mix until you have a smooth batter. Season the batter with salt & black pepper to taste.
- To test if the oil is hot enough for frying, drop a little of the batter into the hot oil. If it floats and puffs up, it's ready. Dip each fish fillet in the batter one at a time and then put into the hot oil.
- Fry the fish on low-medium heat for 3 to 4 minute each side until golden brown. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan as it will bring down the temperature of the oil resulting in soggy fried fish.
- Remove the cooked fish fillets from the pan using a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with absorbent kitchen paper.
- Serve hot fish and chips with lemon wedges and mayo on the side.