The beer batter in this recipe gives a beautifully crisp coating that not only helps steam the fish, it also keeps it moist during frying. Make sure you buy firm, thick, white fish fillets such as flathead. The secret of the best chips is in the double cooking! It's also a good idea to use a variety of potato that has a low water content.
- 300 g (2 cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 375–500 ml dark beer
- 1 tbsp dried yeast
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 6–8 potatoes such as Dutch cream
- canola oil, for deep-frying
- 8 flathead fillets
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Standing time 1–1½ hours
Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour the beer into it. Start whisking the flour with the beer and, if necessary, adding water into the mix little by little to avoid lumps forming. Keep whisking until all the flour is incorporated and the batter is smooth. Whisk in the yeast and salt to taste. Leave the batter in a warm place for 1–1½ hours. Just before using add the olive oil, which adds gloss to the batter.
Peel and slice the potatoes, pat dry and cut into chips 1.5 cm wide. Heat sufficient oil in a deep saucepan and fry the chips for 5 minutes. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and leave to cool and drain on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Reheat the oil and cook the chips again for 7–10 minutes until golden with a crunchy outer layer. Season with salt.
Working in batches, dust the fish in flour and lightly coat in batter. Add to the hot oil and cook for up to 3 minutes, turning regularly. Drain on paper towel, season with salt and serve with the chips.