Sourdough battered fish and chips

    13 hours 45 min

    Who said fish and chips was bad for health? Here, I make a wholemeal sourdough batter for the fish and deep-fry the fish and unpeeled chips (dug from the garden) in light olive oil. I serve that with mushy peas from soaked and cooked marrowfat peas and tomato ketchup from tomato puree, garlic and herb vinegar and plain yogurt.


    Cambridgeshire, England, UK
    6 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 250g dried marrowfat peas, plus steeping tablet
    • Garlic and herb vinegar
    • 1 bottle wine, cider or malt vinegar
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed
    • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
    • Homemade ketchup
    • 1 small can double concentrated tomato puree (no added salt)
    • 25ml homemade garlic and herb vinegar, more if needed
    • 1 or 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
    • Sourdough
    • wholemeal sourdough starter
    • water
    • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    • 4 fillets of cod or haddock
    • wholemeal flour
    • 1kg potatoes, or as needed
    • light and mild olive oil for deep frying

    Prep:45min  ›  Cook:1hr  ›  Extra time:12hr soaking  ›  Ready in:13hr45min 

    1. Soak the marrowfat peas the day before, by adding the steeping tablet and about 1L of boiling water to the peas in a bowl or jug. Leave overnight. This softens the tough skins and swells the peas.
    2. Next day rinse the peas well and add enough fresh water to cover them in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer with a loose lid on the pan for around 1 hour, or until the peas are soft and tender. When cooked, drain off excess water and mash the peas. I prefer to leave the loose skins in the cooked peas for extra fibre and nutrition, but you could remove most of the skins, if you wish as they tend to rise to the surface. The mashed peas can now be left aside, or in the fridge until required.
    3. The garlic and herb vinegar can be made by taking wine, cider or malt vinegar and adding crushed garlic and mixed herbs, and leaving overnight to extract the flavour. (I keep a bottle of this permanently on the go for various culinary uses.)
    4. For the ketchup, add the tomato puree to a small bowl and sprinkle enough of the garlic and herb vinegar to obtain a ketchup-like consistency. Then add some yogurt and stir to give a pink, smooth, creamy ketchup.
    5. The potatoes should be washed and scrubbed but preferably not peeled to retain fibre and nutrients like vitamin C. The skin also helps to reduce the fat absorbed. Cut up the potatoes into chip shapes and wrap in a towel to dry.
    6. Prepare enough sourdough batter to coat the fish fillets. I usually need to add a bit of water to my sourdough starter to get the right consistency for the batter. Add a little bicarbonate of soda to the sourdough starter to make it bubble and form a nice crunchy batter round the fish.
    7. Now turn on you deep fryer and set at around 160 C. When at the correct temperature, fry the chips in the deep fryer for 5 minutes and then take out and allow to cool down. Leave aside for the moment.
    8. Dry the fish fillets and coat in a dusting of wholemeal flour. This helps the batter cling to the fish. Now place the fish in the batter and see that the batter has covered it all over. Lift the fish out of the batter from the tail end and lower gently into the oil in the deep fryer, one fillet at a time. Cook for 5 minutes at 160 C. Take out of the fryer and place on a plate in the oven at about 100 C to keep warm.
    9. Now give the chips another 5 minutes in the oil at 160 C, just before serving the meal.
    10. Heat up the mushy peas in the microwave so they are piping hot and give a good stir, adding a little water before heating if the peas are too stiff.
    11. You are now ready to serve the meal. Fish, chips, mushy peas with tomato ketchup. The plates should be ready warmed in the oven. I do hope you enjoy this traditional English meal! In the picture, no mushy peas are shown as I did not prepare them on that occasion.


    The dried marrowfat peas usually come with a steeping tablet, but if not you can add a teaspoon of ordinary bicarbonate of soda (not baking powder!).
    I keep sourdough starter in my fridge for sourdough bread and the method of making this is explained in my sourdough bread recipe on this site. You can just use ordinary batter if you prefer. You will need around the same amount of water and flour by weight if making ordinary batter from scratch, and I recommend wholemeal flour for maximum fibre and nutrition. If using ordinary batter, you need to either add baking powder or lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda to get the bubbles.

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    I tried the battered fish with some little changes: I whisked in 1 egg, some more flour mixed with a little baking powder (in Argentina we can buy it pre-prepared with a little salt too, as "harina leudante" ) and a few sprigs of fennel very finely chopped. It was absolutely DELIGHTFUL!  -  02 Dec 2017