Fish and Chips

Sunday, 12 May 2024 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Bon appétit
Reading Time:  7 minutes

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© LoopZilla/cc-by-sa-3.0

Fish and chips is a hot dish consisting of fried fish in batter, served with chips. The dish originated in England, where these two components had been introduced from separate immigrant cultures; it is not known who combined them. Often considered Britain’s national dish, fish and chips is a common takeaway food in numerous other countries, particularly English-speaking and Commonwealth nations.

Fish and chip shops first appeared in the UK in the 1860s and by 1910 there were over 25,000 across the UK. By the 1930s there were over 35,000 shops, but by 2009 there were only approximately 10,000. The British government safeguarded the supply of fish and chips during the First World War and again in the Second World War. It was one of the few foods in the UK not subject to rationing during the wars, which further contributed to its popularity.

In Britain and Ireland, cod and haddock appear most commonly as the fish used for fish and chips, but vendors also sell many other kinds of fish, especially other white fish, such as pollock, hake or coley, plaice, skate, ray, and huss or rock salmon (a term covering several species of dogfish and similar fish). In traditional fish and chip shops several varieties of fish are offered by name (“haddock and chips”), but in some restaurants and stalls “fish and chips”, unspecified, is offered; it is increasingly likely to be the much cheaper basa. In Northern Ireland, cod, plaice or whiting appear most commonly in ‘fish suppers’—’supper’ being Scottish and Northern Irish chip-shop terminology for a food item accompanied by chips. Suppliers in Devon and Cornwall often offer pollock and coley as cheap alternatives to haddock.

Traditional frying uses beef dripping or lard; however, vegetable oils, such as palm oil, rapeseed or peanut oil (used because of its relatively high smoke point) now predominate, in part because it makes fried chips suitable for vegetarians and for adherents of certain faiths. A minority of vendors in the North of England and Scotland, and the majority of vendors in Northern Ireland, still use dripping or lard, as it imparts a different flavour to the dish. Lard is used in some living industrial history museums, such as the Black Country Living Museum. The fish part of the dish is filleted, and no bones should be found in the fish.

© Edwardwexler/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Executioner/cc-by-sa-3.0 © flickr.com - Ewan Munro/cc-by-sa-2.0 Vegan Fish And Chips © Mx. Granger © LoopZilla/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Matthias Meckel/cc-by-sa-4.0
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© flickr.com - Ewan Munro/cc-by-sa-2.0
In Britain and Ireland, fish and chip shops traditionally use a simple water and flour batter, adding a little sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and a little vinegar to create lightness, as they react to create bubbles in the batter. Other recipes may use beer or milk batter, where these liquids are often substitutes for water. The carbon dioxide in the beer lends a lighter texture to the batter. Beer also results in an orange-brown colour. A simple beer batter might consist of a 2:3 ratio of flour to beer by volume. The type of beer alters the taste of the batter; some prefer lager whereas others use stout or bitter.

British chips are usually considerably thicker than American-style French fries. Some U.S. restaurants and some people in their home cooking may use a thick type of chip, similar to the British variant, sometimes referred to as steak fries. In 2016, British chef Gordon Ramsay opened a British-themed fish-and-chip restaurant in the Las Vegas Strip.

In chip shops in most parts of Britain and Ireland, salt and vinegar are traditionally sprinkled over fish and chips at the time it is served. Suppliers use malt vinegar, onion vinegar (used for pickling onions), or the cheaper non-brewed condiment. In a few places, notably Edinburgh, ‘sauce’ (as in ‘salt and sauce’) is more traditional than vinegar—with ‘sauce’ meaning a brown sauce. In England, a portion of mushy peas is a popular side dish, as are a range of pickles that typically include gherkins, onions and eggs. In table-service restaurants and pubs, the dish is usually served with a slice of lemon for squeezing over the fish and without any sauces or condiments, with salt, vinegar and sauces available at the customer’s leisure. Ketchup is also a popular addition (a 2020 YouGov poll in the UK saw ketchup, curry sauce and mushy peas as the top three toppings after salt and vinegar). In Ireland, Wales and England, many takeaways serve warm side portions of sauces such as curry sauce or gravy, if requested and normally for a small extra fee (curry sauce topped the poll in Wales with one in three using it as a topping). The sauces are usually poured over the chips. In the Midlands especially, chips with mushy peas or baked beans are known as a “pea mix” or a “bean mix”. Other fried products include ‘scraps‘ (also known as ‘bits’ in Southern England and “scrumps” in South Wales), originally a by-product of fish frying. Still popular in Northern England, they were given as treats to the children of customers. Portions prepared and sold today consist of loose blobs of batter, deep-fried to a crunchy golden crisp in the cooking fat. The potato scallop or potato cake consists of slices of potato dipped in fish batter and deep-fried until golden brown. These are often accompanied for dipping by the warm sauces listed above.

Read more on BBCgoodfood.com – Classic fish & chips and Wikipedia Fish and Chips (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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