This has been my lil boy’s favorite food since a long long time ago. I mean, every kid must love fish and chips right, especially the chips, and so does my boy. He will order this whenever we eat in the restaurants that serve this dish (well, this or fried chicken and chips). So as far as we could, we really try to avoid eating in such restaurants (I hate eating fried food outside the house because I never know how many times have the seller used the oil to fry other food before using it to cook our order). Although sometimes it’s ok for me, but let’s just stay away from fried food whenever we can.
As a big fan of fish and chips……………..of course he was so happy during our trips to Australia because he could eat this dish almost everyday (theme park food meh……….what other choice did we have?). But seriously, the fish and chips in Australia were mostly good and fresh, and even I could eat the fish too while we were there (I usually don’t eat fish).
So, after our trip to Australia, I’d been wanting to try to make this at home, but was still confused of what fish to use to make a good dish. Then I found out that the fishmonger in the wet market had some fresh dory fish which she said would be good to be made as fish and chips, and so I bought 2 big dory fish fillet for $5.
And what was the result of my first try? Well, after I made this dish at home, I only tasted a small bite of my cooking since my son finished everything by himself (so it was a proof that it was good, rite?), but I did helped him finishing the chips (although he absolutely didn’t need my help at all), and it was still good and crisp even after my son had finished his fish (which took at least 10 minutes).
For this fish and chips, my recipe was based on Curtis Stone’s recipe. I’d made several dishes based on his recipes, and overall everything was good (hash brown, roasted chicken). His recipes are (so far) easy to follow with some cooking tips and tricks that help a lot for an amateur like me.
I will start with the chips because I just loved the chips so much. Sometimes, I was tempted to buy frozen fries from the supermarket, but I ended up putting them back on the shelves after I read the ingredients on the back of the packets. As of today, I still prefer to make the fries from scratch at home than buying the frozen ones.
So far, I’ve tried making the chips by using US russet potatoes, Holland potatoes, Berastagi Potatoes, and they were all just fine for me. Although………..I learned my lesson, and that was………..don’t mix different kind of potatoes together when making the fries, because they just didn’t cook at the same time…………
To make crispy potatoes, most recipes will suggest us to boil the potatoes first to remove the starch. So when I boiled my russet and Holland potatoes together, what happened was a disaster. The russet ones cooked faster (so much faster) then the Holland ones, so they became soft and broke apart while my Holland Potatoes was still quite hard. So I freeze them twice and double fry them (I didn’t want to waste the potatoes), and here is the result:
And they were sooo…………….good. They were crispy and delicious and we (my son and I) just loved the crumbs so much. He ended up eating the whole things on the plate by himself though (so even though mommy was the one making it, but if it was good, then no way that I would share with mommy…………….well, only a little………….). For these fries and crumbs, after I fried them, I put them back in the freezer for another hour and fried again (source: Heston Blumenthal’s triple cooked chips). This will result to super crispy fries but I didn’t like to fry twice since the chips absorbed too much oil. So I prefer Curtis Stone method (he didn’t put in the freezer but I did put the chips in the freezer once).
Luckily, I still had 3 US Russet potatoes left and made another batch of fries.
How to make crispy fries at home:
- Peel the potatoes and wash them under running water for 2 to 3 minutes
- Slice the potatoes into chips
- Wash them again under running water for another 2 to 3 minutes
- Boil water in a pot (the amount of water must be enough to cover all the chips). Add salt to the water for extra flavor
- Put the chips into the boiling water and cook for about 4 minutes (until soften but still remaining their shapes)
- Carefully remove the cooked potatoes / chips and place them on cooling rack to dry
- Put the chips in the freezer for at least one hour to remove any moisture
- Deep fry the chips in small batches until golden brown. Make sure that the oil is hot enough before adding the chips. Test the oil by doing this: take one chip, hold one side of the chips with your hand while dipping the other side into the oil. If the oil immediately makes sizzling sound, that it’s ready. If it takes few seconds to sizzle, than it’s not hot enough (I also learned this from Curtis Stone in YouTube when he showed how make good chips)
- Drain and sprinkle with salt
For the fish, I also used Curtis Stone recipe on how to making tempura batter for fish and prawns. Basically, there is non exact measurement for the flour and water, but you should be able to feel it with your hand, just like I did.
To make a good batter, the flour and the water must be cold. So I put my flour in the fridge few hours before cooking the fish. Most recipes said beer is better than plain water as it will make the batter cook into crisp and delicious tempura like coating. Since we do not consume beer, I substituted it with soda water. This also has to be put in fridge hours before you want to use it. Everything has to be cold so thee coldness in the batter will react to the heat of the oil so we will have crispy batter at the end.
- Fish fillets (I use dory)
- Flour (I used 6 tbsp of flour)
- Ice cubes
- Cold water or soda water (for 6 tbsp of flour, I used approximately 120 ml of water)
- Baking powder (I used 1 tsp)
- For the fish, squeeze some lemon juice and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
- In a small bowl, combine some ice cubes with cold water or soda water
- Dust each fish fillet with flour (just a little coating)
- Prepare the batter: in a bowl, mix together flour and baking powder. Add soda water little by little and gently mix it with chopsticks (so we won’t exercise the gluten by stirring it too hard which will loose the crispiness of the batter. Test the flour mixture with your finger. Dip 1/3 of your finger into the mixture and take some of the batter. The batter should just slightly coat the finger. If it is coated heavily, add some water. If it is not coated at all, then add some flour.
- Add oil to a pan (the amount of oil should be able to cover the fish) and set to medium heat. Test the oil if it’s hot enough to fry the fish by doing this: take 1/2 tsp of the batter and put in the hot oil. If it’s make sizzling sound immediately, then it is hot enough
- Dip the fish into the batter, and holding on one end, lower the fish into the oil one by one
- Cook the fish until the batter is golden and crisp