Marc Fosh recipes | Fish & Chips and the perfect tempura!

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Who doesn’t love a light, crisp batter adding an irresistible crunch to delicious vegetables, fish and seafood? Tempura is a very ancient cooking technique that apparently was born when Portuguese Jesuits met Japanese cooks a few centuries ago. On the face of it, it’s a very simple batter made up of only two ingredients: rice flour (preferably sifted) and sparkling water. The Japanese masters work them with chopsticks and only for a few seconds, the time that a lumpy consistency is formed: yes, you read correctly, unlike most batters, the tempura must not be smooth. Some will add a pinch of baking soda, a spoonful of sugar or an egg yolk to the two basic ingredients.

For me, the real secret for a super light, tempura is to make sure that everything is well chilled. The batter must be worked (a little) in a metal bowl placed in a larger bowl full of ice. A similar rule must also be applied to the vegetables or fish you want to fry: it’s much better to keep them in the refrigerator until the moment before cooking. The very cold batter in contact with the boiling oil allows the food not to absorb too much oil, thus remaining light and frothy. This process is known as the thermal shock: The temperature of the oil should be between 170C and 180C (335F-350F) and you should make sure not overcrowd the pan. Cook the tempura in small batches, and make sure the oil comes back up to temperature before adding another batch, because cooking it at too low a heat will lead to oily, soggy results. Most importantly, however: eat it hot and crisp, fresh from the pan. Try this amazing prawn tempura with a spicy dipping…you will not regret it.

Fish and chips is one of my favourite dishes, the beloved British classic is in many ways exacly like a tempura. Consisting of tender, flaky fish enveloped in a crispy golden batter, paired with thick-cut chips that are crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, it’s a dish that satisfies both the palate and the soul. Whether enjoyed wrapped in paper on a seaside promenade or served on a plate in a cosy pub, fish and chips still evoke a sense of nostalgia and comfort to me. Accompanied by a splash of tangy malt vinegar, mushy peas, and a dollop of creamy tartar sauce, it’s a dish that’s very hard to beat!

My fish fingers & chips

Ingredients: serves 4

  • 4 fillets of white fish (such as cod or hake)
  • 100g flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 150ml cold beer (lager works well)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

For the chips:

  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into thick chips
  • Salt, to taste
  • Malt vinegar, for serving

Prepare the Chips:

Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Place the potato chips in a large bowl of cold water for about 30 minutes. This helps remove excess starch and ensures crispier chips. Drain the potatoes and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or large pot to 160°C (325°F). Fry the potato chips in batches until they are just starting to turn golden brown, about 5-6 minutes per batch. Remove the chips from the oil and drain them on a paper towel-lined plate. Increase the oil temperature to 190°C (375°F). Return the partially fried chips to the hot oil in batches and fry until golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per batch. Once done, remove the chips from the oil and drain them on a paper towel-lined plate. Season the chips with salt while they’re still hot and keep them warm in the preheated oven until ready to serve.

Prepare the Fish:

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and black pepper. Slowly pour in the cold beer while whisking continuously until you have a smooth batter. The consistency should be similar to pancake batter. Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or large pot to 180°C (350°F). Pat the fish fillets dry with paper towels and cut into strips. Lightly season them with salt and pepper. Dip each fillet into the batter, coating it completely. Carefully place the battered fish fillets into the hot oil, cooking in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding. Fry the fish for 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crispy. Once cooked, remove the fish from the oil and drain them on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve the hot, crispy fish fingers and chips with malt vinegar, mushy peas and tartare sauce on the side for dipping.

The real secret for a super light, tempura is to make sure that everything is well chilled.

Crispy prawn tempura with spicy dippying sauce

Ingredients: Serves 4

For the Tempura batter:

  • 150g plain flour
  • 150g cornflour
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 300ml chilled sparkling water
  • 2 egg yolks

For the spicy dipping sauce:

  • 1tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2-3 tbsp Japanese soy sauce

To fry:

  • 12 large king prawns, peeled and cleaned, tails left on
  • Lemon wedges to garnish

Mix all the ingredients for the dipping sauce and set aside. Half fill a large saucepan or deep fat fryer with sunflower oil and heat until a small cube of bread turns golden brown in 30 seconds. Place the flour, cornflour and salt into a bowl and mix together. Make a well in the middle with a wooden spoon, add the egg yolks and then gradually pour in the sparkling water and mix using chop sticks and stir until the mixture is thin and a little lumpy. This will ensure the batter is perfectly light and crisp. When the oil is hot, dust the prawns in a little flour, shake off the excess and then briefly dip into the batter and transfer straight to the hot oil. Fry 2 or 3 prawns at a time and fry for 1-2 minutes or until just golden brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Serve immediately with spicy dipping sauce and lemon wedges to squeeze over.

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