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Best of British: Fish, Chips & Mushy Peas
Posted by Emma Line Wednesday, 29th July 2015
Synonymous with towns like Brighton and Bournemouth, fish, chips and mushy peas brings a quintessential taste of the British seaside to your dinner table.
So then, with summer holiday season in full swing, what better way to start our Best of British recipe series than this traditional coastal dish? It’ll have you reminiscing about stripy deck-chairs, bracing sea air and rickety wooden piers.
With a few of the best insider tips and tricks included, our fail safe recipe means you can recreate this national-treasure of a dish at home –wooden forks and newspaper wrapping optional!
Tips on technique
The real star of the show in a good plate of fish and chips is the batter! It should be light, crispy and so delicious it utterly outshines the fish fillet it's covering.
The key to a tasty golden coating is to get some air into your batter mixture, as that’s what creates the lovely lightweight texture.
Usually this is achieved either by adding in rising agents like baking powder and yeast, or by using carbonated liquids like fizzy water and beer (the latter of which is a popular favourite among chip shop connoisseurs because of the flavour it adds to the batter).
Controlled temperatures are also crucial when frying fish. Professional chefs like seafood expert Rick Stein (who in fact owns two of his own chip shops) and Gary Rhodes swear by keeping the batter mixture as cool as possible; using chilled flour and iced water or beer to create their mix.
This is important because when the cold mixture hits the hot oil it's cooked in, a fantastic reaction takes place, creating a wonderfully aerated texture, perfect for dousing with malt vinegar and dunking in tomato ketchup.
Anything pickled goes when it comes to trimmings for your fish and chips: gherkins, onions, eggs. Jamie Oliver even recommends pickled chillies! They’ll all help to give your DIY creation an authentic chip shop flavour.
Method & Ingredients
Cooking: 25 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
- 1 knob of butter
- 4 large handfuls of podded peas
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
- Place the peas and butter into a sauce pan and leave to simmer for around 10 minutes so the peas turn soft.
- Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
- Then ‘mush’ the peas either in a food processor, or by hand. Stop before the mix becomes too smooth though, the finished texture of mushy peas should be thick and stodgy.
- Keep warm while you prepare the fish and chips.
- Sunflower oil for frying
- 4 (responsibly sourced) fillets of white fish
- 225g of chilled, plain white flour
- 285ml of very cold beer
- 3 heaped tablespoons of baking powder
- Sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- Pour plenty of sunflower oil into a deep fat fryer or a large frying pan and heat to 185°C.
- Season both sides of the fish fillets with salt and pepper.
- Whisk together the flour, beer and baking powder until the mixture is thick, sticky and shiny.
- Dip the fish fillets into the batter mixture coating them completely.
- Allow any excess mix to drip off, then lower the fillets carefully into your hot oil.
- Cook for around 4 minutes, until the batter has turned golden brown.
- Remove the fillets from the oil and place in a warm oven while you cook your chips.
- Sunflower oil for frying (reuse the oil used to fry your fish)
- 900g of potatoes, peeled and sliced into thick chips
- Sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- While your fish is cooking, parboil your chips in boiling, salted water for 4 to 5 minutes so the potato has softened but your chips still hold their shape.
- Leave to steam dry.
- Once completely dry, fry the chips in the oil your fish was cooked in until golden and crispy.
- Season to taste then serve with your mushy peas, fish and plenty of malt vinegar and tomato ketchup!
We’d love to see your homemade fish, chips and mushy peas! Share your images and recipe tips in the comments section below…