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Fish and chips - a question for Brits mostly, but all welcome to contribute

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Feb 14, 2020 - 6:29:03 PM
Players Union Member

Chris Meakin

Australia

2784 posts since 5/15/2011

There's a debate raging in the media over here in Oz (a deflection from things that really matter?).

A British chap is adamant that deep fried battered fish is meant to be eaten with the batter peeled off and discarded first.

I must admit I have chucked the batter away when it was substandard, but more often than not I'll eat the batter, especially if it is a tasty beer batter.

How do all of you eat your battered fish from the "fish and chip" shop? With or without the batter?

Feb 14, 2020 - 6:39:01 PM
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Mooooo

USA

7624 posts since 8/20/2016

I eat it the same way I eat my deep fried shrimp, onion rings and corndogs....with the batter on. That nerd probably throws out the crispy chicken skin when he eats fried chicken...what a loser!

Feb 14, 2020 - 6:41:34 PM
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Players Union Member

Sunwhite

Australia

11 posts since 1/6/2011

Batter on and eaten with the fingers... I grew up in the North of England and have never met anyone who peels the batter off. In any case my fingers really fly over the banjo strings when greasy from eating fish and chips smiley

Feb 14, 2020 - 7:13:41 PM
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71290 posts since 5/9/2007

Best F&C I've ever had was in that little diner in the old part of Woonsocket R.I.
My R.I. pal Ray Carrigan says the diner is still there.
I always got a Coffee Cabinet with my order.
Crunchy on the outside/wet,flaky white inside.

The tartar sauce HAS to be right!

Feb 14, 2020 - 7:19:03 PM

bubbalouie

Canada

13437 posts since 9/27/2007

That's all I ever eat when I go to a restaurant. The batter is meant to be eaten. If you can't I won't be back.

Deep fried cod. haddock or hake & halibut & good hearty fries or chips whatever we call them .

Beer batter nice & crispy. Peeling it off is just wrong. Cole slaw, tartar & lemon slices. 

http://www.chessfishandchips.ca/

Feb 14, 2020 - 7:36:06 PM
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Players Union Member

Brian T

Canada

16289 posts since 6/5/2008

I wonder if the dull clod understands that the best crispy batter mixes always use corn flour. NOT corn meal, NOT corn starch, real corn flour. The liquid is up to you. Here, we can buy corn flour in 5 kg bags in the East Indian food parts of grocery stores.

That crunch is a part of the whole concept for DF foods of any kind.

The biochemical fact is that the starch grains in corn flour do not soak up water, hydrate and soften nearly as quickly ans the starch grains found in wheat. Read McGee.

Feb 14, 2020 - 8:56:39 PM

406 posts since 5/29/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Chris Meakin

There's a debate raging in the media over here in Oz (a deflection from things that really matter?).

A British chap is adamant that deep fried battered fish is meant to be eaten with the batter peeled off and discarded first.

I must admit I have chucked the batter away when it was substandard, but more often than not I'll eat the batter, especially if it is a tasty beer batter.

How do all of you eat your battered fish from the "fish and chip" shop? With or without the batter?


Obviously one of the "barking mad" type of British chap (specially manufactured for export to the Colonies).

I lived in England for five years and never heard such a preposterous idea.

Feb 14, 2020 - 9:45:11 PM

donc

Canada

6209 posts since 2/9/2010

In the local restaurants we often get a choice of Cod or Halibut for an extra charge of course. If you get the cod served in our local parks and beaches you need the deep frier and the batter to cut back that pungent flavour. On a good day at the park it somehow tastes good. Either way I usually need a good chunk of a Hershey bar or anything sweet to finally get that taste out of my mouth. One of the best F & C I can remember was from a take out place in the old part of Edinburgh. It was wrapped in newspaper. We ate our lunch sitting on a small lawn beside one of those 300 year old buildings complete with a visiting cat. Sometimes it's the surroundings that make all the difference.

Feb 14, 2020 - 11:04:35 PM
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14966 posts since 2/7/2003

Sounds to me the fool eats his fish and chips the way his mommy did it for him when he was in grade school... and never grew up.

Feb 15, 2020 - 12:13:05 AM
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2473 posts since 4/29/2012
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quote:
Originally posted by Chris Meakin

There's a debate raging in the media over here in Oz (a deflection from things that really matter?).

A British chap is adamant that deep fried battered fish is meant to be eaten with the batter peeled off and discarded first.

I must admit I have chucked the batter away when it was substandard, but more often than not I'll eat the batter, especially if it is a tasty beer batter.

How do all of you eat your battered fish from the "fish and chip" shop? With or without the batter?


"A British chap" obviously hasn't been to England for a hundred years or so. There's a theory (maybe even true - but I doubt it) that the batter was originally used just as a wrapper. But almost* NOBODY has eaten it this way in my (60+) years of seeing people eat fish and chips, and regularly eating it myself from chippies in Cornwall to the Scots borders (and a few in Scotland and Wales too).  

*The exceptions are mostly very recent faddies who want their F&C gluten free.

Feb 15, 2020 - 12:29:31 AM
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2473 posts since 4/29/2012
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quote:
Originally posted by Brian T

I wonder if the dull clod understands that the best crispy batter mixes always use corn flour. NOT corn meal, NOT corn starch, real corn flour. The liquid is up to you. Here, we can buy corn flour in 5 kg bags in the East Indian food parts of grocery stores.

That crunch is a part of the whole concept for DF foods of any kind.

The biochemical fact is that the starch grains in corn flour do not soak up water, hydrate and soften nearly as quickly ans the starch grains found in wheat. Read McGee.


The better chippies in London, where F&C originated,  boast of making their batter using matzo meal. Given the supposedly Jewish origin of F&C this makes sense. From a taste and texture point of view it certainly does.

There are some regional differences. In the north the fish is traditionally haddock not cod. It used to be that northern chippies used beef dripping rather than vegetable  oil as the frying medium. Not so much nowadays. Mushy peas also used to be a northern thing but are now ubiquitous. And don't ask for a wally outside London or the Thames estuary as they won't know what you are talking about. 

Edited by - AndrewD on 02/15/2020 00:30:33

Feb 15, 2020 - 12:51:42 AM
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1278 posts since 4/22/2018

The man is quite obviously an idiot. I suspect that is probably the reason why we had him transported to the colonies in the first place.

Feb 15, 2020 - 5:24:57 AM

figmo59

USA

30426 posts since 3/5/2008

Eat it..or don't...

Just enjoy it..... :0/

Feb 15, 2020 - 5:37:20 AM
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Players Union Member

wizofos

USA

5400 posts since 8/19/2012

Lake perch or Walleye are traditional for Friday Fish Fry here in the Northwoods. If you don't like beer batter you can order prime rib or a hamburger. Side dish is usually cole slaw, fries and a cold draft. I Iike mine thick and dark, beer that is.

Feb 15, 2020 - 5:53:45 AM

heavy5

USA

1131 posts since 11/3/2016

Batter is better , just had fish & chips Thursday at the Copper Kettle , yum !

Feb 15, 2020 - 6:05:23 AM
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Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

446 posts since 10/15/2019

Batter on, obviously. If you feel compelled to take the batter off, that means the place is doing a really bad job of it, and you need to find a different place to eat.

Feb 15, 2020 - 6:28:54 AM

290 posts since 10/9/2017

quote:
Originally posted by AndrewD
quote:
Originally posted by Brian T

I wonder if the dull clod understands that the best crispy batter mixes always use corn flour. NOT corn meal, NOT corn starch, real corn flour. The liquid is up to you. Here, we can buy corn flour in 5 kg bags in the East Indian food parts of grocery stores.

That crunch is a part of the whole concept for DF foods of any kind.

The biochemical fact is that the starch grains in corn flour do not soak up water, hydrate and soften nearly as quickly ans the starch grains found in wheat. Read McGee.


The better chippies in London, where F&C originated,  boast of making their batter using matzo meal. Given the supposedly Jewish origin of F&C this makes sense. From a taste and texture point of view it certainly does.

There are some regional differences. In the north the fish is traditionally haddock not cod. It used to be that northern chippies used beef dripping rather than vegetable  oil as the frying medium. Not so much nowadays. Mushy peas also used to be a northern thing but are now ubiquitous. And don't ask for a wally outside London or the Thames estuary as they won't know what you are talking about. 


F&C was traditional fare for Saturday lunch with my in-laws, in London. Definitely matzo meal batter. A family that kept the Sabbath would have purchased the fish on Friday for eating on Saturday with the batter acting as a wrapping to keep the fish moist. My late m-i-l (z"l) would always peel off the batter. Perhaps it was a habit from her girlhood of cold fish; perhaps it was to preserve her svelte figure. 

Always tartare sauce and I usually put in a bid for mushy peas.

Feb 15, 2020 - 6:30:57 AM

conic

England

720 posts since 2/15/2014

In my area people often remove the batter and sometimes get the chippy to just deepfry the fish with no batter so the people calling the australian brit and idiot are complete idiots themselves.

in my town they also do battered chips in beef dripping so when you order you tell them battered or plain

Feb 15, 2020 - 7:26:40 AM
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71290 posts since 5/9/2007

My favorite batter is beered pancake mix.

Edited by - steve davis on 02/15/2020 07:27:46

Feb 15, 2020 - 7:33:20 AM
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34 posts since 10/22/2012

My favorite batter is Babe Ruth.

Feb 15, 2020 - 7:46:49 AM
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2473 posts since 4/29/2012
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quote:
Originally posted by conic

In my area people often remove the batter and sometimes get the chippy to just deepfry the fish with no batter so the people calling the australian brit and idiot are complete idiots themselves.

in my town they also do battered chips in beef dripping so when you order you tell them battered or plain


Maybe this Australian comes from your town ? Which is only like any other town in the UK  if "often", in this context, means "occasionally".

Feb 15, 2020 - 7:51:02 AM
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1278 posts since 4/22/2018

quote:
Originally posted by conic

In my area people often remove the batter and sometimes get the chippy to just deepfry the fish with no batter so the people calling the australian brit and idiot are complete idiots themselves.

in my town they also do battered chips in beef dripping so when you order you tell them battered or plain


I suspect this 'British Chap' must have a Black Country accent then.  

Edited by - Wet Spaniel on 02/15/2020 07:51:57

Feb 15, 2020 - 7:51:30 AM

2473 posts since 4/29/2012
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Remsleep
quote:
Originally posted by AndrewD
quote:
Originally posted by Brian T

I wonder if the dull clod understands that the best crispy batter mixes always use corn flour. NOT corn meal, NOT corn starch, real corn flour. The liquid is up to you. Here, we can buy corn flour in 5 kg bags in the East Indian food parts of grocery stores.

That crunch is a part of the whole concept for DF foods of any kind.

The biochemical fact is that the starch grains in corn flour do not soak up water, hydrate and soften nearly as quickly ans the starch grains found in wheat. Read McGee.


The better chippies in London, where F&C originated,  boast of making their batter using matzo meal. Given the supposedly Jewish origin of F&C this makes sense. From a taste and texture point of view it certainly does.

There are some regional differences. In the north the fish is traditionally haddock not cod. It used to be that northern chippies used beef dripping rather than vegetable  oil as the frying medium. Not so much nowadays. Mushy peas also used to be a northern thing but are now ubiquitous. And don't ask for a wally outside London or the Thames estuary as they won't know what you are talking about. 


F&C was traditional fare for Saturday lunch with my in-laws, in London. Definitely matzo meal batter. A family that kept the Sabbath would have purchased the fish on Friday for eating on Saturday with the batter acting as a wrapping to keep the fish moist. My late m-i-l (z"l) would always peel off the batter. Perhaps it was a habit from her girlhood of cold fish; perhaps it was to preserve her svelte figure. 

Always tartare sauce and I usually put in a bid for mushy peas.


If we're talking Jewish style cold fried fish ("fried fish" with the stress on the fried not the fish ) then the proper accompaniment is chrain.

Feb 15, 2020 - 9:40:31 AM
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1078 posts since 8/7/2017

conic
@Brian T

Until Conic spoke up, I was thinking the Brit was maybe pulling the leg of the Aussies.

The only time I ever remove batter is when it is soggy with grease, indicating, to me, that the cook did not let the oil regain heat before dumping in another batch of fish.

Hurray for Brian T....I thought I was the only guy to read McGee's "On food and cooking" - 5cm thick, same as Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary. McGee's "Keys to good cooking..." is another of his that I consult frequently.

Feb 15, 2020 - 9:55:16 AM
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Players Union Member

Brian T

Canada

16289 posts since 6/5/2008

McGee runs 700-800 pages. Fascinating facts from the Neolithic through the Roman Empire to this day and time. I have read the whole thing, cover-to-cover.
Time well wasted.

Feb 15, 2020 - 9:55:21 AM
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oly

USA

1411 posts since 5/27/2006

I've always eaten F&C with the batter on but with malt vinegar, the way my mom taught me. I thought that tarter sauce was something only us yanks put on the fish!

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