Beer Battered Fish

Fish and chips is one of my all time favorite meals from my childhood days in Ireland. This light and crispy beer batter is perfect for deep frying cod or haddock, producing succulent fish any traditional fish and chip shop would be proud of.

Battered fish is a food staple in Ireland and cooked to perfection by many chippers (Irish fish and chip shops).  Traditionally it is served with chips, and sprinkled with salt and malt vinegar.

Ingredients

 

  • 1 to 1 and 1/2 lb cod or haddock (If using frozen fish thaw completely per package directions)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (to dredge fish)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (to season dredging flour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (to season dredging flour)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 12 fl oz beer
  • 6 pint canola oil (enough to half-fill dutch oven for deep frying the fish)

Whisk the egg in a bowl with a fairly flat bottom.  This makes it easier to batter larger pieces of fish.  Sift in the two types of flour, powder and salt.  I like to add a little cake flour rather than using only all-purpose flour.  I think it makes the batter a little lighter and crispier.

Add the onion powder and sift all the dry ingredients into the bowl with the egg.

Mix the egg and flour together.  It will get very sticky and clumpy.  Gradually add the beer whisking all the time.  I like to use the Irish Harp larger, but any beer will do.

Don’t pour all of the beer in at once.  It’s important to pour gradually whisking away to produce a thick batter.  Sometimes I use a full bottle and sometimes I only need about 10 ounces.  I think it depends on the weather!!!

The final batter should be nice and thick with the consistency of heavy whipping cream.

Add the canola oil to a dutch oven or a deep frying pan.  Fill to a little less than the half-way point.  You can use a deep fat fryer but I prefer the results I get when I fry my fish the old fashioned way.  I think I can keep the oil hotter for longer on my stove top, which helps to keep the batter crispy.

The oil needs to be 375 degrees Fahrenheit to cook fish.  It takes some time to bring the oil to this temperature.

In a flat bottomed pie dish season the additional flour with salt and pepper.  When the oil is ready, dredge the fish one piece at a time in the flour mixture.

Then transfer into the beer batter, coating the fish completely.  Lift it out of the batter and hold it over the bowl to let the excess drip off.

Carefully lower the fish into the hot oil, holding it by the tail piece with a tongs.  Release it gently without letting your fingers near the oil.  The oil sizzles and bubbles up like crazy – the reason why the pan must be less than half full.

Take extra precautions when frying with a big pan of oil.  Keep it on the back burner and well away from little ones.  I issue my kids an off limits order for the kitchen whenever I am deep frying.

Fry two or three pieces of fish together at a time.  Avoid adding too many pieces since this lowers the oil temperature and produces soggier batter.  Fry for about 5 minutes until the coating is golden brown.

Most recipes tell you to turn the fish frequently, but I always find my fish floats whatever way it wants.  It has a mind of its own, and no matter how often I turn a piece, it just somersaults back into the position it likes.

When brown and crispy remove the fish from the oil and transfer to a plate covered in a paper towel to absorb any excess grease.  Let it rest for a few minutes or keep it warm in the oven while you cook some chips.

If you keep it warm in the oven for too long the fish can get soggy.  I never cook fish and chips for more than four people at a time, because I find that in the time it takes to cook everything for a large group, either my chips or my fish have lost a little of their crispy texture.

In England and Scotland the traditional side dish for fish and chips is mushy peas.  I’ll share my recipe in the next few days, together with my technique for making perfect Irish chips.

And of course, a sprinkling of malt vinegar and salt is a must.  No ketchup in this house, only plenty of vinegar.

And of course a nice glass of cool beer is just perfect!

Here is the printable recipe:

Beer Battered Fish

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Allergy Egg, Fish, Wheat
Meal type Main Dish
Region British
This light and crispy beer batter is perfect for deep frying cod or haddock, producing succulent fish any traditional fish and chip shop would be proud of.

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1 and 1/2lb cod or haddock (If using frozen fish thaw completely per package directions)
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (to dredge fish)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (to season dredging flour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (to season dredging flour)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 10fl oz beer
  • 6 pints canola oil (for deep frying the fish)

Directions

Step 1 Make the batter by whisking the egg in a flat bottomed bowl.
Step 2 Sift in the two types of flours, baking powder, salt and onion powder.
Step 3 Whisk in the beer to form a thick batter with the consistency of heavy whipping cream. Hold back on some of the beer if the batter if necessary.
Step 4 Fill a dutch oven a little less than half full with canola oil. Heat to 375 degrees F - use a candy or oil thermometer to check temperature.
Step 5 Add the dredging flour to a plate or flat pie dish and season with salt and pepper. When the oil is nearly heated, coat each piece of fish in flour.
Step 6 Next dip the flour-coated fish in the beer batter one piece at a time. Hold over the batter bowl to allow the excess to drain off. Transfer carefully to the hot oil or deep fat fryer, holding the fish by the end piece with a tongs. Lower gently into the oil.
Step 7 Fry the fish in the oil for 5 minutes until the batter has turned a golden brown color. Cook 2 to 3 pieces together at the same time depending upon the size of your dutch oven or deep frying pan.
Step 8 Carefully remove the fish to a plate covered with a paper towel and let rest for a few minutes before serving.
Step 9 Serve with chips or french fries. Drizzle with malt vinegar and dust with salt if desired.

Wishing you all happy fish fries this Friday and any day of the week you get a hankering for good old fish and chips.

Slan agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

Irish American Mom

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Comments

  1. When we visit England, my son and I only want to eat Fish & Chips! (Well, the bread and the cheese too!)
    My husband is on a gluten free diet, so he can’t have this with us …but one of the chippies makes fish for him without the batter and he’s able to have the great chips with his fish!

    • Kay – I wonder what the batter would be like using gluten free flour. I might try that someday. You are lucky to have found a chippie to make fish without the batter. I love chips – they are just a little fatter than a french fry and not quite so crispy. I will be sharing my technique for making chips next.

  2. Your fish looks divine! I think this may be dinner tonight :)

  3. Maureen Widmer says:

    I have used All-Purpose Gluten Free flour (Bob’s Red Mill) with astounding success when frying fish and other foods. I add a healthy pinch of corn starch, garlic powder, garlic salt (to taste, or omit) as well as a pinch of baking powder. Slowly mix in a bottle of flat GF beer until desired texture is achieved. NOTE: This batter will thicken a bit as it sits, so save a couple ounces of beer, or thin with a little water.
    I do not find it necessary to dredge the fish in flour first, as long as it is patted dry. The fish will drop to the bottom of the frying vessel, at first. Don’t overcrowd, as the oil temperature will drop dramatically. Once the fish floats it is done. A little extra time will result in a golden brown crust. The bonus of this process is that the batter STAYS CRISPY!!! I have held fish fry here in MN for 10 people or more, and even when the fish has cooled inside, the outside is still crunchy!
    P.S. Onion rings, deep fried mushrooms and cauliflower are all excellent using this same method!

    • Dear Maureen – Thank you so much for your wonderful tips for making crispy battered fish. It’s always lovely to hear from readers who share their tried and true techniques for kitchen success. Gluten free recipes are sought after by many of my readers, so I’m glad to hear you’ve had great results with gluten free flour.
      Best wishes,
      Mairéad

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