London-style Fish and Chips (albeit, with a twist)

Weekends are for cooking. Or getting drunk and wasting. Occasionally, they involve drinking and cooking.

I had a bottle of some nasty Kingfisher Strong a friend had left behind in my refrigerator and I wasn’t going to drink it. I wasn’t going to use it in my hair as conditioner either. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to pour all of it down the drain just yet. So I decided to cook with it.

London-style beer-battered fish and chips seemed like a fun idea.

I picked up a whole black pomfret, fresh from the supermarket and asked the man to make fillets for me. I was pleasantly surprised by how fine his work was. I’m tempted to get more fillets made, soon. It’s way better than buying frozen basa-fillets from Nature’s Basket, really.

I also had some avocados that I needed to use. And guacamole wasn’t something I wanted to make, this time around. Thankfully, there’s the interweb. And there’s never a dearth of good recipes. Crumb-fried avocados seemed the perfect substitute for fries, because if you’ve read my Belgium post, you’ll know I’m not big on potato fries, in general.

And thus, Sunday lunch was planned.

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(The “eat-healthy” whore in me didn’t agree on frying the fish AND the “chips”, so I altered the crumb-fried avocado recipe to baked, crumb-coated avocados. You could alternately make them pan-fried.)

Baked, Crumb-coated Avocados:
Ingredients:
2 avocados, pitted and cut into wedges, to look like french-fries
1 cup semolina (rava)
Half a cup rice flour
Salt, to taste
1 egg, beaten
Olive oil, to drizzle

Method:
1. In a plate, mix the rice flour, the semolina and the salt.
2. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees celsius.
3. Dip the avocado wedges first in the egg mixture and then coat them evenly with the flour/semolina mixture and lay out on a baking dish.
4. Drizzle the coated avocado wedges with some olive oil and bake for 3-4 minutes on one side, and then flip over and bake for a couple of minutes on the other side. Drizzle a little more olive oil if required.

Notes:
Burnt avocado tastes really nasty. It’s bitter and can ruin the taste of the wedges of avocado altogether. Reduce the time the avocados are in the oven, in case you see them getting overly browned. Remember, avocados are eaten raw too, so you’re putting them in the oven, just to get them crumby and crunchy, not to cook really. They’d taste great even without the crumb-coating.

Beer-batter Fried Fish Fillets
Ingredients:
4-5 fillets of a fish of your choice
Oil, for frying
2 cups of lager beer
1 cup of gram flour
1 teaspoon garam masala (or bay seasoning or five-spice)
Salt, to taste

Method:
1. Make a batter using beer, gram flour, the spice mix and salt. The batter should be thick and stick to the fish when it is dipped in.
2. Heat enough oil in a vessel, so that the fish fillets will be submerged completely, when immersed.
3. Dip the fish in the batter and gently slide into the oil. Let it cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the batter turns a fine golden-brown and flip it over to fry for a few minutes on the other side as well.
4. Take the fillet out of the oil and dry on some paper towels.

Points to Note:
1. A runny batter will result in the batter not holding on to the fish entirely and it will give way, in the oil, resulting in some not-so-nice fillets of fried fish.
2. You can test if the oil is hot enough by gently letting a drop or two of batter into the oil. If the oil is hot enough, the batter will rise to the top.
3. Be very careful about frying the fish. Let it into the oil very gently, from the side. Fish generallt tends to have more water content than most other meats or veggies and will cause the oil to splatter, if not handled with care. This can be dangerous.

Tartar Sauce:
(Makes a little over 1 cup)
1 cup mayonnaise
Ingredients:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup dill pickle
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 tablespoon capers
1 small scallion
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 to 3 drops hot sauce

Method:
1. Combine all ingredients (except the mayonnaise) in a food processor.
2. Add this mixture to the mayonnaise in a bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until serving.

To Serve:
Typically, fish and chips are served with tartar sauce and a wedge of lime, in an old daily or in a brown paper bag or box.

I tried to recreate that in my own silly way. I won’t say I was entirely successful here, but that first picture with the beer bottle and the instagram filters came out pretty well, I think.

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