Fish and chips is such a great recipe for the whole family. It is easy to make and oh so good. The chips are perfectly crisp on the outside with a light and fluffy inside. All you need is some malt vinegar, a great beer and some mushy peas.
I love fish and chips. As a matter of fact, if I go into an Irish or English pub it is the first thing I order. This recipe is near and dear to my heart because I have gotten the stamp of approval from so many of my friends from across the pond. It is one of their favorite recipes that I make.
Fish and chips secret weapon
What is important with this recipe is to make sure you have a good dark beer and your secret weapon, vodka. I am sure you think I am crazy but I will explain shortly why it is important to make sure you add some vodka to your batter. You always want to make sure your cod is fresh. What makes the chips the best thing ever is that they are cooked three times. They are boiled, then fried at a lower temperature and then again at a higher temperature.
Cod has a tendency to have a fishy smell the minute it is sliced open. This is due to it being a cold-water surface-dwelling fish. The enzymes that break down fish after they are caught and killed go to effect quickly and they are in high abundance. To make sure your fish is fresh squeeze a lemon into some cold water and submerge your fish for no longer than 2 minutes and rise and pat. The odor should disappear. If it is still heavily present then it has permeated all of the fishy and will taste like that.
Another thing you want to pay attention to is how the fish looks. There shouldn’t be a lot of separation in the flesh and it should spring back if touched. Making sure you have fresh fish is essential for this recipe. Because fish is rather delicate and can break apart while frying having the freshest fish will help prevent this.
Why add vodka?
That is because it is a secret weapon. It is the key to getting a crispy and light batter on the fish. As a matter of fact adding a shot of vodka to all batters when you fry them will make everything better. This is because vodka evaporates faster than water when cooked. This creates more air bubbles which increase surface area and causes crispiness.
Another key to frying is keeping the oil at about 350F or 175C. This is the optimal temperature to cook the fish but not make it oily.
The Best Homemade Fish and Chips
- 1⅔ cup all-purpose flour sifted, divided
- ¼ cup rice flour sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp vodka
- 11.2 oz Guinness 1 bottle
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 lbs cod portioned evenly
- 5 potatoes russet
- 2 quarts canola oil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot chopped
- 1/4 cup mint leaves chopped
- 1 1/2 cup peas frozen, defrosted
- 2 tbsp butter
Making the Chips
- Wash potatoes, peel, cut 1 ¼-inch thick and place in a strainer. Run under running water until the water runs clear.
- Wash cut potatoes under running water until all starch is removed and water runs clear.
- In a large pot add 8-10 cups of cold water, season with salt and add the potatoes. On medium heat, gently heat up the water, do not let it get to a vigorous boil as it will cause the potatoes to split. Cook for about 20 minutes or when a fork will pass through easily. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the cooked potatoes and place them on a cooling rack to dry out. If you have time place in the freezer. If you don not have time make sure to wait until the potatoes have cooled completely.
- In a deep fryer, Dutch oven, or large pot heat the oil to 250 F or 120 C.
- Add potatoes to the oil and fry in small batches until a light crust forms and they should still look pale. Remove from duck fat and drain on wire rack with foil or paper towels beneath it.
- Put the potatoes back on a wire rack and place them in the freezer for an hour if time allows. If not make sure the potatoes have cooled to room temperature.
- Place the frozen potatoes in the oil and fry the chips until dark golden.
Making the Fish
- Preheat vegetable oil in a deep fryer to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, Mix ⅔ cup flour, rice flour, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt.
- Gently whisk the Guinness into the flour, until it doesn't have lumps and is the consistency of pancake batter. Add vodka and gently mix for no longer than 20 seconds.
- Season the fish with salt. Add all-purpose flour to a plastic bag, add the fish and gently toss to coat. Shake off the excess the flour. Coat fish in batter, gently place into the deep fryer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Using a slotted spoon gently remove fish from oil on to wire rack or lined plate with a paper towel.
- Season with salt immediately.
Making the Mushy Peas
- While the fish is cooking, place defrosted peas in about 4 cups of boiling water. Leave for 3 minutes. Remove and place in ice water until they have cooled to the temperature of the water.
- Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add the shallots and peas. Add the salt, pepper, and mint and remove from the heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt. Then mash the mixture using an immersion blend, a spoon, or forks.