Fish and No Chips

What's more quintessentially English than Fish and Chips? Bulldogs and Benny Hill? The Queen and The Queen's English? Roast beef? Our Gallic neighbours seem to think the latter is the most descriptively apt, as we are endearingly known as le rosbifs. But, you know what? I think English cuisine doesn't get the credit it deserves and although the origins of some contemporary dishes (including fish and chips) aren't historically English, they've become culturally so. And that's what makes England and especially the metropolitan area of London so great for food: multiculturalism. To influence and be influenced. Sure it's not as rosy as this humble food blog can account for but too much is made of the negative.

Fish and chips has it's origins in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine and was brought over in the late 19th Century to Britain. Britain found a home in its hearts and on its land for this simple dish and today (for me at least) there is nothing that says home more than fish and chips. This is my tribute: a Lebanese inspired ode to fish and chips. Oh wait, before I forget I've excluded the chips from this recipe as I'll be doing a special on them in the future. Look out for that! Also, I'm sorry I haven't updated properly for a while (I've been ill). There's some exciting stuff coming your way, so stay tuned!

White fleshed fish (sustainable cod or haddock or pollock)*
1 bottle Lebanese beer (I used Almaza)
plain flour
the zest of half a lime
cumin seeds

*You could use Red Mullet for a more Beiruti twist but it's expensive in the UK and may be too strong a taste for some.

I didn't put any measurements because it depends on how much you're making. You want a relatively thick batter (scotch pancake thickness). Deep fry one piece of fish at a time at 180C until browned. To prepare the fish: flour the fillets and shake off excess; dip in batter and place in hot oil. Drain on kitchen towel, squirt with lime and eat with tartare sauce.


17 September 2009 at 15:55 Phoo-D said...

This sounds simple and tasty. I can never find proper fish and chips around here, so need to give it a go at home! Hope you are feeling better! (And what are scotch pancakes?)

20 September 2009 at 21:30 M. A. Salha said...

Yeah fish and chips is easier to make than people think. It's all about good batter and a good oil temperature. Thanks about the well wishes. I'm better now but was still on my trip to Paris. These are scotch (or Scottish) pancakes it produces a batter thickness nearer to American style than French crepe style (which is more common here).

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