Homemade fish in beer batter

Fish and chips – the British classic and the key to its success is all in the batter and the frying. We were lucky enough to get Hugh’s River Cottage Fish Book as a Christmas present – filled with innovative recipes as well as the old classics – like fish and chips. I can safely say that the recipe was a huge success, the fish (we used pouting) was moist and full of flavour whilst the batter was light and crispy – a recipe that I’m sure we’ll be using again and again.

Best of all this is a real chance to experiment with different sorts of fish, which perhaps you haven’t tried before.

  • 200g plain flour
  • Groundnut oil for deep frying
  • 250ml good beer (not lager, ale is best)
  • Fish of your choice
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

You can fry these straight in the pan but I’d really recommend a frying basket – mine was £1.25 from wilkos, it’s not great, but it does the job and makes the process a lot easier

1) Sift the flour into a bowl to get as much air into it as possible and to remove any lumps

2) Add 2 tbsp of oil then gradually whisk in the beer – you need to stop when your batter gets to the consistency of emulsion paint (don’t worry it gets more appetising)

3) Beat it well to remove any lumps, season it generously then leave to rest for 20 minutes or so

4) Heat the rest of the oil in a large heavy based pan to 160 degrees (or until a cube of bread will cook to a deep golden brown in 1min – 1min30)

5) Dip your piece of fish into the batter so its thoroughly covered then hold over the bowl for a few seconds to let the excess drip off

6) Now for the tricky bit. You need to place your battered fish into the fat.

Foodie Tip – (this is actually something I got from John Torode on a masterchef episode) wave the fish into the fat slowly so that it start to cook and floats. Otherwise it will sink to the bottom and stick. Its easier to show you rather than explain so check out our short video below…

Homemade fish and chips from BristolFoodie on Vimeo.

7) fry large pieces of fish for 4-5 minutes, smaller pieces for 1-2 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Scoop out using your frying basket (or spatula / whatever you have to hand) and transfer to a warm dish lined with kitchen towel (we had ours in the oven on a really low temperature)

8) And serve! We served ours with minted mushy peas and homemade chips.

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