During lockdown it’s easy to fall into a rut and make the same old food over and over again.
And, if you’re not very confident in the kitchen it can be challenging to come up with new meals to try.
But, as Brits, we all love a good old fish and chips.
While the national dish can be cheaper than other takeaways, it still adds up when you add on delivery charges and service fees.
So, why not make it perfectly at home?
The Daily Star spoke to Jack Stein and Craig Keenan, head chef of the Yorkshire Heifer, to get their top tips for making takeaway style fish and chips.
Here’s what chef Jack, son of Rick Stein, had to say:
Prep batter ahead
Firstly make your batter in advance of time, we sell ours online but you can make your own using flour and bicarbonate of soda.
Make the batter 30 minutes before cooking and rest it.
Don’t cook cold fish
Next the fish, make sure to take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
This stops the batter and fish from separating.
Choose your favourite fish, for me it is hake, firm fleshed and sweet and very sustainable.
Always finish the fish with sea salt, I use Cornish sea salt and for the adventurous some blended nori seaweed powder.
Add homemade sauce
Make your own tartare sauce – simply mix mayonnaise with chopped gherkins and capers with herbs like tarragon and flat leaf parsley.
While head chef Craig Keenan offered his best tips for cooking fish and chips too:
Use this easy batter recipe
Pop 100gms of self-raising flour in a large bowl. Pop a bit of seasoning in too.
Then take 75ml of lager or beer (we use our own specially-brewed Wensleydale Heifer beer butyou can choose your favourite) and 75ml of sparkling water, and gradually pour them into the bowl with the flour.
Stir with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth batter that’s lump-free.
Then let it have a rest for 30 minutes.
To make the batter extra crispy and give it an even nicer colour, pop a dash of white wine vinegar in too.
How to fry your fish
Deep fat fryers are the best choice for frying your fish but you can also use a deep saucepan.
You’ll need about a litre of good quality sunflower oil. Heat the oil but remember, before dropping the fish in, a common mistake people make is not having their oil heated to the right temperature.
So, make sure the oil isn’t too hot or too cold – it’s always best to drop a bit of batter into the oil before putting the fish in to check the temperature.
It’s the right temperature when a drop of batter sizzles and crisps up straight away.
Dry and season your fish
Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper, toss in a little seasoned flour (flour with some salt and pepper).
Shake off any excess, then dip into the batter on both sides.
Carefully lower each fillet into the hot oil and fry for 6-8 mins – depending on the thickness of the fish – until golden and crisp. To take it out, using large slotted spoon.
Then drain on kitchen paper, then sprinkle with salt (or, some vinegar infused salt – just soak rock salt in vinegar and bake in the oven on a low temperature until the vinegar’s cooked off).
Once you’re got your fish all coated in the lovely batter, remember, it’s important not to cook the fish for too long – using your temperature probe to check, ideally the fish should be cooked until it’s about 55c.
How to make chip shop chips
For perfect chip shop chips you need a deep fat fryer.
A lot of fish and chip shops use beef dripping, so go for a 50/50 mix of vegetable oil and beef dripping to fry your chips and go for a good quality Maris Piper potato.
You’ll want to cook them three times – trust us, it’s worth the effort.
First of all peel and cut into chips. Then par boil the chips for between 5-10 minutes. Then you’ll want to drain them in a colander and leave them to steam.
Shake them around a little to get the edges of the chips “fluffy” and leave them to cool for about 10 minutes.
Heat your oil to about 140c and drop the chips in. Cook for about five minutes but don’t let them colour.
You’re just cooking them at this stage.
Then, just before you want to serve them, pop them back in the fryer with the oil heated to around 180c but only for a couple of minutes to get them nice and crispy and to give them a good colour.
How to make scraps at home
Simply dip a fork into the batter and sprinkle the batter from the fork into the fryer – these little pieces of fried batter are delicious and just like you get from the chippy!
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