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

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Feb 15, 2020 - 10:09:57 AM

289 posts since 10/9/2017

quote:
Originally posted by AndrewD
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.


It was on the table, but I grew up putting it on gefilte fish. Fried fish gets tartare sauce in New, as opposed to Olde, England.

Feb 15, 2020 - 11:05:05 AM
Players Union Member

Brian T

Canada

16278 posts since 6/5/2008

Any sort of vinegar (acid) based sauce is good with fish. Even lime wedges.
The acidity holds in the amines of the fish flavor for better taste.

Simple aid from the biochemistry of cooking.
I'll set out tartar sauce, ketchup, mustards, malt and apple vinegars. Try them all.

Feb 15, 2020 - 11:55:04 AM
Players Union Member

Chris Meakin

Australia

2779 posts since 5/15/2011
Online Now

Oh, he hasn't been deported to the colonies (yet), he still lives in the UK. It's just been getting lots of media airplay the past few days here.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/food/10930256/bloke-eating-fish-and-chips-wrong-sparks-debate/

Probably worth keeping the thread light-hearted. I did wonder if he was being serious, and that's how he and his social circle have always eaten fried fish, or he was just taking the p***.

Feb 15, 2020 - 12:22:14 PM
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71264 posts since 5/9/2007

Batter fried raw lobster meat is exquisite.

Feb 15, 2020 - 12:25:54 PM

m06

England

8407 posts since 10/5/2006

Reminds me of when we school kids used to ask the local chippy for scrumps - the small batter fragments from the bottom of the fryer. We always got these for free. Delicious.

The traditional Cornish short crust (as opposed to flaky pastry) pasty evolved as a working man’s lunch that could be wrapped in a cloth and carried conveniently. But the pastry case was and is eaten, not discarded. 

The batter on deep-fried fish is too greasy and hot to make it any use as a case for carrying. Cases hold together mixed contents rather than fish that is whole and transportable as it is. And the idea of a poor working man daintily discarding valuable (and paid for) vittals and energy-sustaining calories is preposterous and rather patronising. The story strikes me as a deliberate spoof.

Edited by - m06 on 02/15/2020 12:41:19

Feb 15, 2020 - 12:59:05 PM
Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

446 posts since 10/15/2019

quote:
Originally posted by m06

Reminds me of when we school kids used to ask the local chippy for scrumps - the small batter fragments from the bottom of the fryer. We always got these for free. Delicious.

The traditional Cornish short crust (as opposed to flaky pastry) pasty evolved as a working man’s lunch that could be wrapped in a cloth and carried conveniently. But the pastry case was and is eaten, not discarded. 

The batter on deep-fried fish is too greasy and hot to make it any use as a case for carrying. Cases hold together mixed contents rather than fish that is whole and transportable as it is. And the idea of a poor working man daintily discarding valuable (and paid for) vittals and energy-sustaining calories is preposterous and rather patronising. The story strikes me as a deliberate spoof.


That "cornish short crust" sounds like the same crust used on good Cornish Pasties around here. Not flaky at all and not meant to be.  Proper (nonflaky) recipes are hard to come by in these parts.  Got one to share?

Eric in Wisconsin, USA

Feb 15, 2020 - 1:10:36 PM
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2470 posts since 4/29/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Chris Meakin

Oh, he hasn't been deported to the colonies (yet), he still lives in the UK. It's just been getting lots of media airplay the past few days here.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/food/10930256/bloke-eating-fish-and-chips-wrong-sparks-debate/

Probably worth keeping the thread light-hearted. I did wonder if he was being serious, and that's how he and his social circle have always eaten fried fish, or he was just taking the p***.


Well if you'd told us this came from The Sun (rolls eyes) we'd have taken it with a bigger pinch of salt than the one we put on our chips.

Feb 15, 2020 - 1:24:18 PM
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m06

England

8407 posts since 10/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Eric A
quote:
Originally posted by m06

Reminds me of when we school kids used to ask the local chippy for scrumps - the small batter fragments from the bottom of the fryer. We always got these for free. Delicious.

The traditional Cornish short crust (as opposed to flaky pastry) pasty evolved as a working man’s lunch that could be wrapped in a cloth and carried conveniently. But the pastry case was and is eaten, not discarded. 

The batter on deep-fried fish is too greasy and hot to make it any use as a case for carrying. Cases hold together mixed contents rather than fish that is whole and transportable as it is. And the idea of a poor working man daintily discarding valuable (and paid for) vittals and energy-sustaining calories is preposterous and rather patronising. The story strikes me as a deliberate spoof.


That "cornish short crust" sounds like the same crust used on good Cornish Pasties around here. Not flaky at all and not meant to be.  Proper (nonflaky) recipes are hard to come by in these parts.  Got one to share?


My mother was Cornish. She used to grind her own mince beef and make short crust pasties. 

Still have her hand-written recipe books. I’ll see if I can find her pasty recipe.

Feb 15, 2020 - 1:33:54 PM
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1264 posts since 4/22/2018

quote:
Originally posted by m06

Reminds me of when we school kids used to ask the local chippy for scrumps - the small batter fragments from the bottom of the fryer. We always got these for free. Delicious.

The traditional Cornish short crust (as opposed to flaky pastry) pasty evolved as a working man’s lunch that could be wrapped in a cloth and carried conveniently. But the pastry case was and is eaten, not discarded. 

The batter on deep-fried fish is too greasy and hot to make it any use as a case for carrying. Cases hold together mixed contents rather than fish that is whole and transportable as it is. And the idea of a poor working man daintily discarding valuable (and paid for) vittals and energy-sustaining calories is preposterous and rather patronising. The story strikes me as a deliberate spoof.


We called them scraps here Mike, you paid for your fish and chips and the scraps were free.

Feb 15, 2020 - 1:34:41 PM
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Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

446 posts since 10/15/2019

quote:
Originally posted by m06
quote:
Originally posted by Eric A
quote:
Originally posted by m06

Reminds me of when we school kids used to ask the local chippy for scrumps - the small batter fragments from the bottom of the fryer. We always got these for free. Delicious.

The traditional Cornish short crust (as opposed to flaky pastry) pasty evolved as a working man’s lunch that could be wrapped in a cloth and carried conveniently. But the pastry case was and is eaten, not discarded. 

The batter on deep-fried fish is too greasy and hot to make it any use as a case for carrying. Cases hold together mixed contents rather than fish that is whole and transportable as it is. And the idea of a poor working man daintily discarding valuable (and paid for) vittals and energy-sustaining calories is preposterous and rather patronising. The story strikes me as a deliberate spoof.


That "cornish short crust" sounds like the same crust used on good Cornish Pasties around here. Not flaky at all and not meant to be.  Proper (nonflaky) recipes are hard to come by in these parts.  Got one to share?


My mother was Cornish. She used to grind her own mince beef and make short crust pasties. 

Still have her hand-written recipe books. I’ll see if I can find her pasty recipe.

 


That would be awesome!  There is a bit of a pasty history here in Wisconsin.  Cornish lead miners in the southwest, then copper and iron miners in the north, mostly Finlanders there I think.  We have pasties in both areas, but the really good recipies are held close to the vest.

Feb 15, 2020 - 1:42:32 PM
Players Union Member

Chris Meakin

Australia

2779 posts since 5/15/2011
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by AndrewD
quote:
Originally posted by Chris Meakin

Oh, he hasn't been deported to the colonies (yet), he still lives in the UK. It's just been getting lots of media airplay the past few days here.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/food/10930256/bloke-eating-fish-and-chips-wrong-sparks-debate/

Probably worth keeping the thread light-hearted. I did wonder if he was being serious, and that's how he and his social circle have always eaten fried fish, or he was just taking the p***.


Well if you'd told us this came from The Sun (rolls eyes) we'd have taken it with a bigger pinch of salt than the one we put on our chips.


It was originally in The Guardian, but lots of the media seem to have picked it up.

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&ei=AmVIXoHDHKOb4-EPrqWzqA4&q=grace+dent+guardian+food+critic+fish+batter&oq=grace+dent+guardian+food+critic+fish+batter&gs_l=psy-ab.3...48407.51060..52009...0.0..0.209.2333.1j14j1......0....1..gws-wiz.......33i10.2kzQtpYZnAg&ved=0ahUKEwiBzKO6wtTnAhWjzTgGHa7SDOUQ4dUDCAo&uact=5

Feb 15, 2020 - 1:48:48 PM

406 posts since 5/29/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Chris Meakin
quote:
Originally posted by AndrewD
quote:
Originally posted by Chris Meakin

Oh, he hasn't been deported to the colonies (yet), he still lives in the UK. It's just been getting lots of media airplay the past few days here.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/food/10930256/bloke-eating-fish-and-chips-wrong-sparks-debate/

Probably worth keeping the thread light-hearted. I did wonder if he was being serious, and that's how he and his social circle have always eaten fried fish, or he was just taking the p***.


Well if you'd told us this came from The Sun (rolls eyes) we'd have taken it with a bigger pinch of salt than the one we put on our chips.


It was originally in The Guardian, but lots of the media seem to have picked it up.

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&ei=AmVIXoHDHKOb4-EPrqWzqA4&q=grace+dent+guardian+food+critic+fish+batter&oq=grace+dent+guardian+food+critic+fish+batter&gs_l=psy-ab.3...48407.51060..52009...0.0..0.209.2333.1j14j1......0....1..gws-wiz.......33i10.2kzQtpYZnAg&ved=0ahUKEwiBzKO6wtTnAhWjzTgGHa7SDOUQ4dUDCAo&uact=5

 


Oh, okay.  So it's a "man bites dog" story, as we say in the US (because a dog biting a man is not "newsworthy" but the opposite would be rare enough to fill up space on a slow news day).

Never mind then.

Feb 15, 2020 - 2:05:18 PM
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Players Union Member

Brian T

Canada

16278 posts since 6/5/2008

Non-flakey:
If you begin with the concept of pie crust "dough", you are dealing with flakes of fat which are covered with flour.

Next, work it for a long time, get it warm and wet. What happens is that it almost literally turns inside out = you get flour particles covered with fat. Baked, almost as good as Kevlar body armour.

Feb 15, 2020 - 2:14:38 PM
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Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

446 posts since 10/15/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Brian T

Non-flakey:
If you begin with the concept of pie crust "dough", you are dealing with flakes of fat which are covered with flour.

Next, work it for a long time, get it warm and wet. What happens is that it almost literally turns inside out = you get flour particles covered with fat. Baked, almost as good as Kevlar body armour.


Most folks go to great lengths to get really flaky pie crust, but for a proper pasty you need just the opposite.  So maybe the secret is to just do everything "wrong".  laugh

I bet I can do that!

Edited by - Eric A on 02/15/2020 14:17:58

Feb 15, 2020 - 3:18:15 PM
Players Union Member

Brian T

Canada

16278 posts since 6/5/2008

During my professional career,
I was most fortunate to get a lot of kitchen mentoring with my kids to feed.
The professional teaching chefs of the Culinary Arts program were a great help to me.
"Doughs, Crusts and Pastes" were valuable lessons.
I'm fast and I'm good because I know what's happening in the bowl in front of me.

Feb 15, 2020 - 5:03:46 PM
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bubbalouie

Canada

13422 posts since 9/27/2007

There was a Newfie fish & chips shop in Calgary that had F & C with "The works" It has dressing & gravy on it & the fries. Newfoundland is as close as you can get to England in Canada. They even talk funny there too/s.

Is this something that evolved over here or has anyone heard of it over there? Ever since I had it in Cow Town I order a side of gravy & the waitress always looks at me funny. If gravy is wrong I don't wanna be right!

Feb 15, 2020 - 5:34:26 PM
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Brian T

Canada

16278 posts since 6/5/2008

Restaurant gravy comes in 25-pound boxes from Watkins. Cardboard box with a plastic bag liner. Add water and stir. No thank you very much.

Feb 15, 2020 - 6:31:25 PM
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bubbalouie

Canada

13422 posts since 9/27/2007

We're talking regular pubs from coast to coast here Brian. My new favorite place for fish & chips has 2 kinds of gravy.

Beef or chicken. The slaw is actually good! some thought actually went into it. I've eaten hot turkey sandwiches & club sandwiches with gravy on the fries from P.E.I. to here on the wet coast & I ain't dead yet!

And too much poutine!  Sorry Chris for the drift from us fuuriners.

Feb 15, 2020 - 6:41:54 PM
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grandpafive

Canada

1461 posts since 8/30/2014

My daughter and I eat home-made fish and chips every Saturday for dinner,
wife has them sometimes. Batter up....err on.

Feb 15, 2020 - 7:05:46 PM
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Chris Meakin

Australia

2779 posts since 5/15/2011
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by bubbalouie

We're talking regular pubs from coast to coast here Brian. My new favorite place for fish & chips has 2 kinds of gravy.

Beef or chicken. The slaw is actually good! some thought actually went into it. I've eaten hot turkey sandwiches & club sandwiches with gravy on the fries from P.E.I. to here on the wet coast & I ain't dead yet!

And too much poutine!  Sorry Chris for the drift from us fuuriners.


All good Bob!

Feb 15, 2020 - 7:10:12 PM
Players Union Member

Chris Meakin

Australia

2779 posts since 5/15/2011
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by bubbalouie

There was a Newfie fish & chips shop in Calgary that had F & C with "The works" It has dressing & gravy on it & the fries. Newfoundland is as close as you can get to England in Canada. They even talk funny there too/s.

Is this something that evolved over here or has anyone heard of it over there? Ever since I had it in Cow Town I order a side of gravy & the waitress always looks at me funny. If gravy is wrong I don't wanna be right!


Pretty common to order chips with gravy here, but not on the fish itself. We mostly dress up fried fish with salt, pepper, maybe lemon or tartare sauce.

Feb 15, 2020 - 10:19:19 PM
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2470 posts since 4/29/2012

quote:
Originally posted by bubbalouie

There was a Newfie fish & chips shop in Calgary that had F & C with "The works" It has dressing & gravy on it & the fries. Newfoundland is as close as you can get to England in Canada. They even talk funny there too/s.

Is this something that evolved over here or has anyone heard of it over there? Ever since I had it in Cow Town I order a side of gravy & the waitress always looks at me funny. If gravy is wrong I don't wanna be right!


More common to order a pot of curry sauce to pour over your chips. A relatively modern innovation (i.e not available in chippies when I was a kid 50 years ago).

Feb 16, 2020 - 1:38:37 AM
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1264 posts since 4/22/2018

quote:
Originally posted by AndrewD
quote:
Originally posted by bubbalouie

There was a Newfie fish & chips shop in Calgary that had F & C with "The works" It has dressing & gravy on it & the fries. Newfoundland is as close as you can get to England in Canada. They even talk funny there too/s.

Is this something that evolved over here or has anyone heard of it over there? Ever since I had it in Cow Town I order a side of gravy & the waitress always looks at me funny. If gravy is wrong I don't wanna be right!


More common to order a pot of curry sauce to pour over your chips. A relatively modern innovation (i.e not available in chippies when I was a kid 50 years ago).


It might be a northern thing but gravy on the chips is more common than curry sauce around here,  

 Just thinking about it has got me salivating and I've not had my breakfast yet!

Feb 16, 2020 - 1:42:13 AM
like this

1264 posts since 4/22/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Chris Meakin

Oh, he hasn't been deported to the colonies (yet), he still lives in the UK. It's just been getting lots of media airplay the past few days here.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/food/10930256/bloke-eating-fish-and-chips-wrong-sparks-debate/

Probably worth keeping the thread light-hearted. I did wonder if he was being serious, and that's how he and his social circle have always eaten fried fish, or he was just taking the p***.


Well, he needs collecting from the midlands and put on the first ship available to the new world.  We can't have 'one offs' spreading such treacherous misconceptions about such an important subject.

Feb 16, 2020 - 3:16:48 AM

2470 posts since 4/29/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Chris Meakin
quote:
Originally posted by AndrewD
quote:
Originally posted by Chris Meakin

Oh, he hasn't been deported to the colonies (yet), he still lives in the UK. It's just been getting lots of media airplay the past few days here.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/food/10930256/bloke-eating-fish-and-chips-wrong-sparks-debate/

Probably worth keeping the thread light-hearted. I did wonder if he was being serious, and that's how he and his social circle have always eaten fried fish, or he was just taking the p***.


Well if you'd told us this came from The Sun (rolls eyes) we'd have taken it with a bigger pinch of salt than the one we put on our chips.


It was originally in The Guardian, but lots of the media seem to have picked it up.

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&ei=AmVIXoHDHKOb4-EPrqWzqA4&q=grace+dent+guardian+food+critic+fish+batter&oq=grace+dent+guardian+food+critic+fish+batter&gs_l=psy-ab.3...48407.51060..52009...0.0..0.209.2333.1j14j1......0....1..gws-wiz.......33i10.2kzQtpYZnAg&ved=0ahUKEwiBzKO6wtTnAhWjzTgGHa7SDOUQ4dUDCAo&uact=5

 


No it wasn't. It was a throwaway on Twitter by the Guardian's Saturday restaurant critic. The actual article had  a photo of a plate of properly battered F&C with mushy peas and a pot of curry sauce. It had some good things to say, especially the fact that they taste better when they've been carried around a bit in paper and the salt and vinegar have soaked into the chips. Perfect takeaway food. I hpe you've seen enough evidence from London and Yorkshire, among others, eating the fish with the batter is the norm. The only exception seems to be some benighted hellhole in the Black Country

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