Continuing our weekly series, Brian Stormont reveals how you can make one of the UK’s favourite takeaway meals at home.
Fridays and fish and chips go hand in hand. But Fridays are also the day when the most fish is eaten in this country.
Many people have religious reasons for consuming fish on a Friday, but it seems people just love a fish supper to start their weekend the right way.
When I was growing up there were a couple of chippers in the town, and one Chinese takeaway, but we rarely frequented it.
Friday’s tea was regularly from the chipper – and it had to be a fish supper (although I must admit my dad always had chicken).
Before the takeaway food business took off in such dramatic fashion when Indian, Turkish, Greek, Mexican and burger joints joined Chinese cuisine in hitting the High Street, the humble fish and chicken bar reigned supreme.
You could get anything in there too – it wasn’t just a supper on offer at these small but extremely busy eateries.
Bottles of fizzy pop, rolls, sweets, crisps, pickled onions, pickled eggs and jars of whelks adorned the counters of these amazing establishments.
And you could pick up your condiments too if you’d run out.
Many chippers also had small restaurants attached – some of which still exist today – where you could enjoy a fish tea, with some lovely buttered bread and a pot of strong hot tea accompanying your favourite supper.
I have fantastic memories of these delightful eateries, and I am sure many of our readers do too.
According to the National Federation of Fish Fryers, more than a quarter of all fish and chips eaten in the UK is sold on Fridays, but if you’re looking for a home-cooked alternative, what about rustling up the nation’s favourite dish at home?
As the lockdown continues, many Brits are seeking ways to keep family morale up, a takeaway is an easy solution. But with many still closed across the country, Gousto has unveiled their spin on the UK’s favourite takeaways dishes.
With this brilliant take on the classic, you’ll make your own deliciously crisp breaded fish served with homemade chips, sugar snap peas and a zingy lemony mayo.
This recipe uses basa fillets which are similar to cod and haddock. Basa has a light firm texture and has a light fish flavour.
Senior recipe developer at Gousto, Hannah Mariaux’s top tip is: “When breading your fish fillet, keep one hand for the dry ingredients (the panko breadcrumbs) and the other for the wet ingredients (the egg), that way, the ingredients won’t mix together and form a sticky paste around your fingers.”
And if you don’t fancy that, we also have a recipe from Stonehaven’s award-winning The Bay for fish and chips with zingy tartare sauce.
Crispy fish and chips with lemony mayo
- 400g potatoes
- Vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsop dried dill
- 1 Lemon
- 2 X 100g basa fillets
- 1 British free-range egg
- 30g Panko breadcrumbs
- 80g Sugar snap peas
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/ 200°C (fan)/ 425°F/ Gas 7.
- Cut the potatoes (skins on) into chips. Add the chips to a baking tray with a very generous drizzle of vegetable oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and give everything a good mix up.
- Put the tray in the oven for 25-30 min or until golden and crisp.
- Combine the mayonnaise with the dried dill, the juice of 1/2 lemon and a pinch of salt – this is your dill mayonnaise.
- Once the chips are almost cooked, pat the basa fillets dry with kitchen paper. Add a handful of flour to a plate with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Crack the egg into a shallow bowl and beat with a fork. Add the panko breadcrumbs to another plate.
- Coat the fish fillets in the flour, tap off the excess, then add them into the beaten egg and finally press them into the breadcrumbs firmly to evenly coat all over
- Heat a large, wide-based pan (preferably non-stick) with a very generous drizzle of vegetable oil (enough to cover the base of the pan) over a medium heat. Once hot, add the breaded fish and cook for 4-5 min on each side or until golden and cooked through.
- Slice the sugar snap peas into halves diagonally and cut the remaining 1/2 lemon into wedges. Add the sugar snap peas to a pot and cover them in plenty of boiled water.
- Bring to the boil over a high heat and cook for 3-4 mins or until tender. Once tender, drain the sugar snap peas and return them to the pot with a drizzle of olive oil
- Serve the crispy fish with the chips, sugar snap peas and dill mayonnaise to the side
- Garnish with a wedge of lemon
The Bay fish and chips
For the tartare sauce:
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- A pinch of fresh chives
- ½ tsp gherkins
- ½ tsp capers
- Dijon mustard (to taste)
- A pinch of fresh parsley
- 1 spring onion
For the fish and chips:
- 1 Maris Piper potato
- 1.5l groundnut oil or deodorised beef dripping
- 125g plain flour
- A pinch of salt
- 175-200ml of cold pale ale
- 2 tbsp rice flour
- 170g haddock
- Lemon wedges, to serve
For the tartare sauce:
- Finely slice the gherkins, spring onion and capers. Chop up the herbs and combine with the mayonnaise and the mustard (to taste) in a bowl.
For the chips:
- Peel the potato and rinse off the starch. Pat dry and cut into chips.
3. Pour 150ml of ale into a bowl, add the plain flour and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Slowly add the remaining ale in until it is similar to the consistency of single cream. Dip your finger in and hold it up – you should be able to see your skin through it.
4. Heat a large pan or a large wok with the oil or beef dripping to 150°C. Blanch the chips for seven to eight minutes or until lightly golden. Remove with a spider spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Crank the heat up until it reaches 180°C – take care when doing this. (For accurate results use a Thermapen).
5. Holding onto the tail of the haddock, dredge the fish in the rice flour and then pop directly into the batter (remember to let go or you’ll leave finger marks). Pick up by the tail and slowly lower into the hot fat. Let the fish cook for around seven minutes until crisp and golden, turning carefully a couple of times. Remove and drain on its side.
(Check the oil temperature, and when it’s back up to 180°C, return the chips to the pan for one and a half to two minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the chips with a spider spoon to drain.)
Serve up and enjoy straight away with chunky lemon wedges.
Read more in this series …