How To Cook The Perfect British Fish And Chips

Many people enjoy the familiar taste of British fish and chips. Itís a taste that is recognized in numerous areas around the world. The traditional English standard has become a weekly staple in many homes. Although there are some people who know how to cook the perfect British fish and chips, others falter when it comes to duplicating the classic combination.

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The idea of fish and chips originated in England, and there are fish and chip shops in nearly every English town. Following the British tradition, there are fish and chip shacks scattered around the United States as well. These two foods served have been served successfully as separate dishes for centuries, so the idea of combining the two spread rapidly around the world. Regardless of where the combination is served, a British style fish and chip meal has a distinct flavor that is often copied.

Making the perfect British fish and chip meal can be challenging but not impossible. It takes some preparation time, however, the cooking can be completed in minutes. The best fish to use when making the traditional meal is cod. Cod that has been caught following standard safety guidelines is one of the best options for producing the fresh taste for the classic meal. Many people prefer haddock, but cod brings a more old-style flavor to the dish. If you catch the fish yourself, it is essential that you clean, skin, and bone it properly. To maintain freshness, freeze or chill the fish within an hour of catching it.

Making the perfect batter is one of the most important steps to duplicating the British classic. There are several combinations of ingredients that you can use, however the simplest mixture often produces the most traditional taste. A simple batter includes one cup of flour, one teaspoon of salt, one egg, and one cup of heavy, dark beer. Combining everything but the beer will allow you to create your own desired consistency. You can add beer until you have reached a workable thickness.

Once the batter is mixed, you can coat the fish with it. Prepare your frying oil or fat, and allow it to heat to the proper temperature which is typically around 185 degrees Celsius. The best frying fat to use is lard. This will give the fish a traditional taste and keep the batter crisp. Deep frying the fish allows it to cook inside the batter as if it was being steamed. Cook only a few pieces of fish at once, so the temperature of the oil does not fluctuate too much. It should take three or four minutes to fry the fish. Remove the fish immediately and drain it on a tea towel or paper.

When it comes to making the chips, many people prefer using clean oil. In this case, fry the potatoes prior to frying the fish. The best potato for this traditional dish is a floury type. A waxy potato will absorb too much oil and will become too greasy. Cutting the potatoes in thick slices will prevent the oil from seeping into the potato. Fry the chips in small batches until they are golden brown. You can do a second frying of the chips after you finish cooking the fish. This will create a distinct crispiness to the chips.

Classic British fish and chips were once served in newspaper to keep the dish warm. This practice is no longer accepted, so you can serve the meal on plain paper to maintain tradition. The classic method of serving includes salt and vinegar or tartar sauce. Itís also common for fish and chips to be served with mushy peas. Mushy peas are soaked in water and simmered with salt and sugar to form a soupy-style dish.

Duplicating the classic British favorite can be fun. With a little know-how, you can impress your friends and family with this traditional and beloved meal.

Copyright Barry Cryer, Utah USA 2010