Fush & chups….quintessentially kiwi. I never used to really like fish & chips until I got here. I wasn’t really a fan of fish full stop. Childhood memories of not being allowed to leave the table until I’d finished seemed like tortuous & put me off fish for quite some time. That & too many chewy batters & soggy chips & god forbid mushy peas on the side adding to the totally non crisp factor.
However I am a total convert; not much beats a good fush & chups & we are blessed with delicious fish here in the land of the long white cloud; snapper, blue cod, terakihi, hapuka…they even sound more exotic than haddock! To note I am also a convert now when back home too as many delicious little fishes to be had in the mother country too.
The perfect fish & chips…or fush & chups if we’re talking in newzeald.
Golden, crispy, light batter, moist fresh fish. A sprinkling of sea salt & a squeeze of lemon. Chips golden & crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside & for me dowsed in salt & vinegar for a sharp kick, the one remnant I enjoy from the mother country. A little mayo & ketchup on the side. Eaten with fingers a must & preferably outdoors, perfection being on a beach on a balmy summer evening, the sun setting. And if you’re going for full indulgence white bread & butter to make a chip butty out of any remaining chips!
The real star is of course the batter. Cooked through, well seasoned, light, golden, crunchy & no soggy or chewy in sight. And here’s where we went in search of the best batter. To add baking powder or yeast, or something fizzy, sparkling water or beer, that was the question.
A little research revealed Rick goes for baking powder & ice cold water, Jamie goes for flour, baking soda & cold beer & Nigel gives a twist with plain flour, pear cider, oil & egg whites for a totally different variation. Cold seems to be the key for light, bubbly crunchy batter. In the end we went for cold beer & cold flour with a little baking powder & it was delicious, as delicious if not more so than those up there from the local chippy.
Sadly if watching one’s waistline one can’t be indulging this way every night of the week, but the good news is that you can still indulge & have quite delicious fush & chups!
These one’s from Donna Hay went down a treat & will most definitely be making a few encore appearances when treat but healthy desired. Fish is topped with herby lemony bread crumbs & grilled & spuds & kumara are baked. On the side a bursting with flavour yoghurt tartare.
Fush & chups, tweaked from Donna Hay Fast & Fresh
For the chups
2 medium potatoes, peeled & cut in to chips
1 medium kumara, peeled & cut in to chips
Pinch chilli flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup thick plain yoghurt
2 tbsp cornichons, chopped
1 tbsp capers, chopped
1 tbsp dill, chopped
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
For the fush
1 1/4 cups coarse bread crumbs*
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Pinch chilli flakes
8x 120g firm white fish fillets
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
Lemon wedges to serve
Salt & pepper
*I always have some in the freezer, left over bread just gets whizzed up in the food processor & added to the big bag in the freezer.
Pre heat oven to 200C/390F
Place the potatoes & kumara on a baking tray & sprinkle over a good pinch of salt & pepper along with the chilli flakes. Drizzle over the olive oil & toss to combine. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden & crisp.
For the yoghurt tartare place the yoghurt, cornichons, capers, dill & vinegar in a small bowl. Add a little pinch of salt & pepper & mix well to combine & set aside until ready to serve.
Place the breadcrumbs, lemon zest, parsley & chilli flakes in a bowl, season with salt & pepper & mix well. Place the fish on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Top with the breadcrumbs. Mix the lemon juice & olive oil together & drizzle it over the breadcrumbs.
Cook the fish under a preheated grill for 5-7 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden & crisp & the fish is cooked through.
Serve the fish with chips, a little tartare & wedges of lemon.
Enjoy, maybe even with your fingers!