I love me some fish and chips. Fish and chips is classic British cuisine favorite, but every Irish pub I’ve dined at serves it too. But it’s also expensive. Make this homemade beer-battered cod fish and chips recipe at home using a can of beer, flour, and potatoes when cod goes on sale at your local grocery store.
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- 1 Why I Love This Best Beer-Battered Cod Fish and Chips Recipe
- 2 History of Fish and Chips in Britain
- 3 Importance of Using Fresh Cod for the Recipe
- 4 Choosing the Right Beer for the Batter
- 5 Preparing the Batter for the Perfect Crispy Texture
- 6 Tips for Frying the Cod to Perfection
- 7 The Secret to Achieving Crispy Chips
- 8 Serving Suggestions and Accompaniments
- 9 What Does Beer Do to the Battered Fish?
- 10 Why is My Beer Batter Not Crispy?
- 11 How Do You Get Batter to Stick to Cod?
- 12 Is Beer Batter Better Than Regular Batter?
- 13 The Best Beer-Battered Cod Fish and Chips
- 14 Variations and Additions to the Classic Recipe
Why I Love This Best Beer-Battered Cod Fish and Chips Recipe
Fried seafood and New England are like peas in a pod. Go into any pub in Massachusetts, and a variety of beer-battered fish and chips is on the menu, second only to clam strips. (Lobster is third.)
This recipe reminds me of growing up. I am a true Massachusetts girl, and I love fish of all varieties. The beer in the recipe is a nod to all the breweries, and you can use any variety that you like. This works well with your favorite specialty brew, with said brew as a drink for dinner. Or sitting looking at the ocean. Or whatever your view may be.
History of Fish and Chips in Britain
Fish and chips in Britain traces its roots back to the 19th century. The dish originated from the industrial revolution, where factory workers needed hearty, inexpensive meals. The first fish and chips shop, or “chippy” as it’s affectionately known, opened in Bow, East London, circa 1860 by a man named Joseph Malin.
The combination of fried fish and chips quickly became a staple in the British diet, loved for its affordability and satisfying nature.
Over time, fish and chips became an iconic symbol of British culture. It was a unifying meal during World War II, when it was one of the few dishes not subject to rationing. Today, there are over 10,000 fish and chips shops across the UK, serving up this beloved dish to locals and tourists alike.
Importance of Using Fresh Cod for the Recipe
When it comes to beer-battered cod fish and chips, the quality of the ingredients is crucial. Fresh cod is a must for this recipe. (Although, I have had luck with defrosting tilapia.) This white fish is known for its mild flavor and flaky texture, making it the perfect candidate for a crispy beer batter. Fresh cod is moist and tender, ensuring that every bite is a delight.
Choosing the Right Beer for the Batter
The choice of beer is a another key factor in achieving the perfect beer batter. Ales, lagers, and stouts can all be used, but each will impart a different flavor to the batter. Ales tend to give a richer, more robust flavor; lagers provide a lighter, crispier batter; and stouts offer a deep, malty taste.
The choice of beer is largely down to personal preference, so feel free to experiment to find your favorite. A good rule of thumb is, if you like the beer, then you’ll like the batter. Don’t use beer that you wouldn’t drink. (If you don’t drink, like me, then ask a beer drinker.)
Preparing the Batter for the Perfect Crispy Texture
Achieving the perfect crispy texture for your beer-battered cod starts with the batter. The secret lies in the ratio of flour to beer, with a 1:1 ratio typically providing the best results. The beer should be ice cold, as this helps to create a light, airy batter.
Once mixed, it’s important to let the batter rest for a few minutes to allow the gluten to relax, resulting in a crispier coating.
Tips for Frying the Cod to Perfection
Frying the cod to perfection requires a bit of technique. The oil should be heated to around 180°C (350°F) for the best results. To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a small amount of batter into the oil. If it sizzles and floats to the top, the oil is ready. The cod should be fried until it’s a deep golden brown, which usually takes around 5-7 minutes.
The Secret to Achieving Crispy Chips
Achieving crispy chips is all about the double-fry method. First, the chips should be fried at a lower temperature (around 130°C or 265°F) until they’re soft but not browned. After draining and cooling, they should be fried again at a higher temperature (around 190°C or 375°F) until they’re golden and crispy. This method ensures a fluffy interior and a crispy exterior, the hallmark of perfect chips.
You can achieve the same thing with an air-fryer. Set the chips in one layer at the lowest temperature that your air fryer will go for about 3 minutes. Toss the chips, then air fry for another 3 minutes. The next step is to coat the chips with vegetable cooking spray, toss, and set the air fryer to 380F for 5 minutes. Toss again, then air fry for another 5 minutes.
You may need to adjust the times based on your air fryer and how big the chips are.
Serving Suggestions and Accompaniments
Fish and chips are traditionally served with a side of mushy peas and a slice of buttered bread. For an authentic touch, sprinkle the dish with malt vinegar and a pinch of salt. Tartar sauce is also a popular accompaniment, providing a tangy contrast to the rich, fried food.
I personally love a squeeze of lemon and some plain Greek yogurt with fresh dill. It isn’t authentic British, but I am addicted to Greek yogurt.
What Does Beer Do to the Battered Fish?
Beer plays a crucial role in the batter for fish and chips. The carbonation in the beer creates a light, airy batter, while the alcohol evaporates quickly in the hot oil, resulting in a crispy, golden coating. The beer also imparts a subtle flavor to the batter, adding depth and complexity to the dish.
Why is My Beer Batter Not Crispy?
If your beer batter isn’t crispy, it could be due to a few factors. The batter may be too thick, the oil might not be hot enough, or the batter could be overmixed. Ensure that the batter is the consistency of heavy cream, the oil is heated to the right temperature, and the batter is mixed just until the ingredients are combined for the crispiest results.
How Do You Get Batter to Stick to Cod?
To get the batter to stick to the cod, it’s important to pat the fish dry before dipping it in the batter. You can also dust the fish lightly with flour before dipping it into the batter. This helps the batter adhere to the fish, ensuring a uniform coating.
Is Beer Batter Better Than Regular Batter?
Beer batter is often preferred over regular batter for its light, crispy texture and subtle flavor. The carbonation in the beer creates an airy batter. The baking soda also helps with the airy factor.
However, regular batter can also produce delicious results, so it’s largely a matter of personal preference. You can achieve a similar airy batter by using plain sparkling water or soda. For a nice twist, try adding non-alcoholic beer.
For the Beer Batter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup beer (a light lager or ale)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Salt, to taste
For the Cod
- 4 cod fillets
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Extra flour for dredging
For the Chips
- 4 large Russet potatoes
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Salt, to taste
- Start by making the beer batter. In a large bowl, combine the flour, beer, baking powder, and salt. Mix until smooth and set aside.
- Prepare the cod fillets by patting them dry with a paper towel. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge each fillet in some flour, shaking off any excess.
- Heat your oil in a deep fryer or large, deep saucepan to 180°C (350°F). If you don't have a thermometer, you can test the oil by dropping a small amount of batter into it. If it sizzles and floats to the top, the oil is ready.
- Dip each cod fillet into the beer batter, ensuring it's fully coated. Carefully lower the battered fish into the hot oil. Fry for about 5-7 minutes, or until the batter is a deep golden brown. Remove the fish from the oil and drain on a wire rack or paper towels.
- For the chips, peel the potatoes and cut them into thick strips. Rinse under cold water to remove any excess starch, then pat dry.
- Using the same oil as the fish, fry the chips in batches at 130°C (265°F) for about 5 minutes, or until they're soft but not browned. Remove from the oil and drain.
- Increase the oil temperature to 190°C (375°F). Fry the chips again until they're golden and crispy. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.
- Serve the beer-battered cod with the crispy chips, mushy peas, and a slice of buttered bread for a true British experience. Enjoy your homemade fish and chips with a sprinkle of malt vinegar and a side of tartare sauce.
Amount Per Serving Calories 763Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 99mgSodium 672mgCarbohydrates 114gFiber 9gSugar 3gProtein 56g
Nutrition automatically generated.
Variations and Additions to the Classic Recipe
While the classic beer-battered cod fish and chips recipe is a timeless favorite, there are plenty of ways to put your own spin on the dish. Try adding herbs or spices to the batter for an extra flavor kick. You could also experiment with different types of fish, such as haddock or plaice.
What About Using Vodka Instead of Beer?
Using vodka instead of beer in the batter is an interesting twist on the classic recipe. Vodka, like beer, contains alcohol which evaporates quickly in hot oil, resulting in a crispy coating. However, vodka doesn’t contain the carbonation found in beer, so the batter may be less airy.
How Do I Make This Gluten Free?
All-purpose flour is the most common choice for making batter, but rice flour or cornstarch can also be used to make a a gluten-free version of beer-battered cod fish and chips. The bonus is that these alternatives make for a crispier fish coating. You can also use a gluten-free beer or sparkling water in the batter.
Can I Use Panko Instead of Cornstarch?
Panko, a type of Japanese breadcrumb, can be used as a coating for fish and chips, but it won’t create the same light, crispy texture as a beer batter. However, it can provide a delicious, crunchy alternative if you’re looking for something different.
The Final: My Beer-Battered Cod Fish and Chips Recipe
Remember, the secret to the perfect beer-battered cod fish and chips lies in the quality of the ingredients! Try different varieties of beer to achieve different tastes.