I'm leaving this post up for the curry sauce, but please see this updated Fish and Chips post for making fish and chips.
Before you start thinking that this blog has turned into a golden arches franchise I should explain the recent streak of deep fried food. I hardly ever deep fry food, so when I do, I like to get the most out of the oil. Since I'd used half a bottle of oil for the chicken cracklins, I started running through the long list of deep fried goodies I've drooled over in the past months. One of my favourite blogs, We Are Never Full had done a fantastic post on fish n’chips that goes into the long history of the dish.
State side, good fish and chips are tough to come by. While it may seem simple, it's all too common to end up with a platter of greasy fried batter smelling of old oil with dry bits of fish in the middle along with soggy burnt fries.
For my version I used a mixture of flour and cornstarch along with a few seasonings and baking powder, then hit it with some ice cold beer (using cold beer prevents strands of tough gluten from forming in the batter). For the fish, I chose cod since it looked the best at the market, but it also happens to be my favourite for making fish and chips. It's just firm enough to hold up to the frying with a nice balance of fat and meat that keeps it moist without being too oily. The result is a light, crisp shell holding a moist, tender fillet of cod. The shell was so crisp in fact that when I took some leftovers out of the fridge the next day, it was still crisp.
For the chips, I went with a double fry, once before frying the fish then a second time after to get them really crisp. The first fry cooks the potatoes and forms a thin skin free of moisture that then becomes crisp when you dump them back into the hotter oil. This also gives the fish a chance to cool off a bit so you don't burn yourself when you bite into it. If you have some batter left and really want to go nuts, try beer battering some on their way into their second fry.
I'm not a huge fan of tartar sauce, so instead I made a simple curry sauce that was inspired by Amy and Jonny's. Along with some malt vinegar or lemon juice, it makes for a fantastic condiment for both the fish and chips.
For curry sauce
For beer battered fish
- make the sauce
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil into a small saucepan and fry the onions over medium heat until they are soft. Add the ginger and garlic and continue frying until they are very fragrant and browned all the way through. Add the curry powder, ground coriander, and flour and fry until saturated with oil and fragrant. Add the ketchup and stock then whisk, cooking until the sauce thickens up just a bit.
- fry the chips the first time
- Add about 3/4" of oil to a heavy bottomed pan (cast iron ones work great), and heat over medium heat until it reaches 325 degrees F. Carefully lower some potatoes into the oil without overcrowding the pan. Fry until they are limp but not brown. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and fry the rest of the potatoes.
- for beer battered fish
- Mix the flour, cornstarch, paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Put about 1/2 C of the mixture into a shallow pan or bowl and dust the cod with the mixture.
- When the chips are done, raise the temperature of the oil to 375 degees F. Add 3/4 tsp of baking powder to the unused flour mixture in the bowl then add about 1 C of cold beer. Gently stir until just combined (it's okay if there are still a few lumps), and add more beer if the mixture seems too thick (should be like thick pancake batter). Dip the cod in the batter, coating and allowing any excess to drip off and place in the hot oil.
- Fry until golden brown on one side then flip and fry until golden brown on the second side. Transfer to paper towel lined wire rack and repeat until all the cod is fried. Sprinkle with sea salt.
- fry the chips the second time
- Add a handful of potatoes into the hot oil and fry until crisp and golden brown. Repeat until all the chips are fried. Sprinkle with sea salt.
- Plate a mound of fries, top with a piece of fried cod and serve with curry sauce and a wedge of lemon or malt vinegar.