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FISH & CHIPS WITH HAKE FILLETToday’s fish and chips are a relatively recent invention. In Oliver Twist, published in 1839, Charles Dickens writes about a shop selling fried fish, but in those days the fish would have been served with a chunk of bread. The combination of battered fried fish, served with chips (fries), dates from the 1860s and has grown in popularity becoming the UK’s national dish. During those 150 years the recipe has changed very little.


  • 160 g/5½ oz/½ cup plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 200 ml/7 fl oz/scant 1 cup chilled beer
  • salt
  • 150 ml/5 fl oz/⅔ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp gherkins, finely sliced
  • 6 chives, finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, hard-boiled (hard-cooked) and peeled
  • Tabasco
  • 20 g/¾ oz/1½ tbsp butter
  • 250 g/9 oz green or marrowfat peas (cooked weight)
  • 10 sprigs of mint, leaves only
  • 800 g/1 lb 12 oz floury potatoes, cut into chips (fries)
  • 1 litre/1¾ pints/4¼ cups groundnut (peanut) oil for deep-frying
  • 4 x 150-175-g/5–6-oz hake fillets, skinned
  • plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • malt vinegar, to serve
How to Make It
  1. To make the beer batter, stir together the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the beer until you have a smooth batter. Cover the bowl with cling film (plastic wrap) and chill the batter in the refrigerator until needed.
  2. To make the tartare sauce, mix together the mayonnaise, shallot, capers, gherkins, chives and parsley. Press the hard-boiled (hard-cooked) egg through a plastic sieve (strainer) with the back of a spoon and mix into the sauce. Add a dash of Tabasco and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. To make the mushy peas, put the butter in a saucepan and, when it starts to melt, add the peas. Simmer on a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the peas are soft. Add the mint leaves and season with salt and pepper. Reduce to a purée with a hand blender or potato masher.
  4. To cook the fish and chips, cook the chips (fries) in a pan of boiling water for 5–6 minutes until they are not quite tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain and spread out the chips in a single layer on a large plate lined with kitchen paper (paper towels). Leave for at least 20 minutes to cool. Heat the groundnut (peanut) oil in a deep-fat fryer to 180°C/350°F and fry the chips for 4–6 minutes until they are crisp and golden brown. Drain onto a plate lined with kitchen paper and keep warm, uncovered, in a low oven.
  5. Dip the hake fillets in the batter until coated, holding the fillets over the bowl to allow excess batter to drip back into it. Reheat the oil to 180°C/350°F and lower the fillets carefully into the hot oil. Fry for 4–6 minutes until golden brown. Lift the fish out of the oil with a skimmer and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
  6. Serve the fish and chips immediately, sprinkled lightly with salt and accompanied with the tartare sauce, mushy peas and lemon wedges to squeeze over. Serve with some malt vinegar.

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