"Fish and Chips" - the healthy version
Growing up my family didn't eat a lot of takeaway, but by far my favourite was the classic Australian (or English) fish and chips. Especially in summer after a long day at the beach or down the river, it was just so easy and cheap to go to the local fish and chip shop to get dinner. However, with regard to health, fish and chips is about as bad as you can get: deep fried in trans fats/seed oils, which are highly carcinogenic and cause inflammation in the body. Not to mention the piles of 'chicken' salt that the fish and chips are doused in to make them taste good.
The good news if you are trying to clean up your diet is that there is a quick, delicious and nutritious way to make your own fish and chips (well actually, the chips are sweet potato wedges) that taste fantastic and are homemade. With a little effort you can enjoy your takeaway at home and guilt-free.
"Fish and Chips"
- 2 fillets of wild-caught white fish (I used barramundi)
- 1/3 cup chickpea flour
- 1 egg
- Water, to mix as required
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 3-4 sweet potatos
- Olive oil/coconut oil
- Fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, basil)
- Rocket and grated beetroot to serve
- Peel and cut sweet potatoes into wedge shapes. Preheat oven to 200C. Boil/steam sweet potato in a saucepan until almost cooked.
- Drain water and place sweet potato wedges in a baking dish, drizzle olive oil over the top, add herbs, sea salt and pepper. Place in oven to bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until crispy.
- In the meantime, take a bowl and whisk together chickpea flour and egg. Add water as needed until a batter consistency is reached, so that it will stick to the fish pieces but is still a little bit runny.
- Slice the fish fillets into fish finger, bite-sized pieces. Place in the batter and coat evenly.
- Place a frypan on the burner and add olive oil until there is about 0.5 cm in the bottom of the pan. Heat until hot enough that batter fries almost immediately when dropped in, but ensure it is not 'smoking' (this means it is turning rancid, which is bad news for your health).
- Carefully place batter-covered fish pieces into the frypan and allow to cook on each side for about 3 minutes, or until batter is crispy and the fish is cooked through.
- Remove from pan and drain on paper towel, pressing out any excess oil. Add a few grinds of salt and pepper and toss through fish pieces.
- On a large platter make a bed of rocket and grated beetroot. Once sweet potato wedges are cooked layer them on top of this bed. Place fish pieces on top and serve.
I made this for my family for lunch on the weekend and it was safe to say they loved it. The batter I essentially made up, so the quantities may need to be altered to get the perfect consistency.
When cooking using oil at high temperatures it is important you use a oil with a high smoke point, such as olive oil or coconut oil. Full fat organic butter or animal lard is also better. Whatever you do, DO NOT cook using a seed oil, such as vegetable oil, canola, sesame, peanut or grape seed. These oils are toxic and have a low smoke point and so will go rancid very quickly, which means they will cause free radical damage in your body. When using oil ensure you do not heat it above the 'smoke point' (when there is smoke and lots of bubbles coming off it), because this is a sure sign that it is going rancid. If you choose the right cooking fats and cook with care however, then you may enjoy the deliciousness of your very own fish and chips.
What was your favourite takeaway food? How do you make it healthier?