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Step by Step - Fish and Chips
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You can't beat plump, succulent fish, deep fried in a crisp, light beer batter, served with a generous portion of freshly cooked chips. It is one of Britain's favourite meals. For a real treat, make your own. You'll find it far lighter and more delicious than any bought alternative. Little preparation is needed before you start, but it helps to be organised. Have everything to hand in advance so that you are ready for last-minute cooking.
If you'd prefer not to use beer in the batter, use the same quantity of water instead.
If using a pan fitted with a basket, pour in the oil until a generous third full and heat. Use a frying thermometer to check the temperature. As a guide, a 2-litre bottle of oil is the right quantity for a 24cm pan.
If you do not have a deep fat fryer, use a large, heavy-based pan instead. Pour in the oil until about a third full and use a large, slotted spoon in place of the chip basket.
Although helpful, a frying thermometer isn't essential. You can gauge the temperature by dropping 1 tsp batter into the hot oil. If it bubbles furiously and starts to brown in 30 seconds, the oil is ready.
Never leave the kitchen while deep-fat frying. Once finished, leave the oil in the pan to cool completely. Use a funnel to pour the oil back into the bottle, discarding any residue in the base of the pan. Most fish-frying oils can be used a couple more times before discarding.
You can cook your chips with their skins on: just don't peel the potatoes.
2 large mixing bowls
Deep fat fryer or pan fitted with basket
Frying thermometer if using pan
This recipe was first published in July 2004.