Local Heart, Global Soul

April 21, 2010

A step-by-step guide to Kiwi’s Real, Traditional Fish and Chip perfection…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PORTUGAL — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We do have Fish and Chips in The Netherlands… but it’s definitely not the same sort of Fish and Chips that I grew up with in New Zealand.

The differences run deeper than just the varying fish varieties that are caught in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere’s, the batter is completely different in both texture and taste and the end result in The Netherlands is never the wonderful crunchy batter that I love about New Zealand Fish and Chips.

The chips are usually smaller too, more what I would call Kiwi “French Fries” here in the Netherlands and what the Dutch call “Belgium Patat”  for the New Zealand ones. ( i.e. large chunky pieces of potato sliced thickly, not thinly).

I miss my Kiwi Fish and Chips to death sometimes and every now and again get a hanking to make my own.

Over the years I’ve been tweaking my recipe each time to try and get maximum crunchiness out of the batter,  to find out the best way to size the  fish pieces for easy cooking,  and the best batter mix that sticks nicely to the fish and the best cooking method to get the batter to stay on the fish (and not end up in a crispy black lump on the bottom of my fryer) .

I have a very basic arrangement for my frying: a deep pan with oil, not a fancy electric fryer, if you have an electric one then just follow the instructions that come with it for best results.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Ingredients, Chips:

potatoes, peeled and sliced into thick lengths.

oil for frying

salt for seasoning

vinegar for seasoning (optional)

tomato sauce (preferably “Watties”) (optional)

Friet sauce or mayonnaise (optional)

Batter for Fish:

300 ml beer (about 2 cups)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

6 heaped tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon mild paprika powder

1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

pinch salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Frying the Chips: (Do these before the fish)

Pat your raw, cut chips with a clean, dry teatowel/teacloth to absorb any starch, (the teatowel/ teacloth goes into the laundry after this job)

Heat your pan of oil so that it is up to temperature for frying. (place a small piece of potato in first to test it) bubbles should form quickly around the potato and you should see the oil “boiling” around the chip, if there is no movement immediately, then the oil isn’t hot enough yet.

DO take EXTREME care when deep frying with oil, any burns will be deep and painful and NEVER leave a pan of hot oil unattended,  (unattended fat fryer’s catching alight are a major case of house fires).

Fry your potatoes, in batches until they are golden brown and almost all the way though, when they get to this stage, remove from the heat and drain on paper towels to absorb the excess fat.Continue until you have done all the chips, they will be light brown and almost completely cooked.

Set the chips aside to finish after the fish is cooked. After the fish is cooked, pop the chips back into the fryer until they are cooked through ( 1-2 minutes), drain off the excess oil onto kitchen paper towels and serve immediately with the fish.

Frying the Fish:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(any beer will do…)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whisk all the batter ingredients together until you have a smooth batter with no lumps.

(photograph © Kiwidutch

Cut the fish into small pieces, I cut my double fillets in half lengthwise, and then in half width-wise so that the pieces are fairly uniform in size and cook evenly. The pieces will be almost rectangular and a little longer than my index finger (and 2-3 times as wide)

(photograph © Kiwidutch

(photograph © Kiwidutch

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Take a piece of you fish fillet in your (clean) fingers, hold it by the thinnest end of the fish and dip it into the batter, letting about half of the excess drip off and then carefully, slide it thick end first into the hot oil.

I hang on to it VERY carefully for about 15-20 seconds with my fingers about 2-3 cm (just over an inch) away from the oil and then I gently let it drop. Do this slowly and you should not get splashed by the oil, and the fish will not stick to the bottom of the pan.

My deep fry-pan does come with a basket, and I use the basket when I’m frying the chips, but I personally prefer to remove the basket  when doing the fish and just very carefully slide the fish in. DO  make certain that there are no drips of water on your hands or the fish, if water comes in contact with the hot oil it will splatter enormously and you could get burnt.

Clearly this is  also NOT a recipe that you would consider making with any children close by.

(photograph © Kiwidutch

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I find that I can get up to four small pieces of fish into my fryer at once.  If I try more they stick together and it all gets very messy very quickly.  I let them get quite brown so that even the thickest part of the inside fish is cooked though, and then I carefully lift them out with a metal slotted spoon, putting them onto some sheets of kitchen paper to blot off any excess oil .

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The batter should be wonderfully crisp and crunchy.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I have the batter pretty much as I want it now… from now on I will only be tweaking the seasonings a bit more, maybe some herbs?….  If I can make it even better, then I will post updates in the future.

Yum… Enjoy!


  1. Wow, I’m gonna have to try this one. Thanks for the detailed instructions and delicious photos.

    Comment by jstwndrng — April 26, 2010 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

  2. […] look for them near Christchurch events that you attend. Fish and Chips While you may have eaten fish and chips at other locations around the world, the availability of fresh fish makes them a special treat in […]

    Pingback by Try These Iconic Foods While Staying in a Christchurch Hotel — July 5, 2017 @ 10:40 am | Reply

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