New spin on traditional fare

New spin on traditional fare

A Hongkonger teaches our junior reporters the secrets of cooking one of Britain's favourite dishes, fish and chips, as well as an unusual item on the menu - deep-fried Oreo cookies

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Odessa Fung (left) and Ruby Leung taste the freshly cooked fish and chips.
Odessa Fung (left) and Ruby Leung taste the freshly cooked fish and chips.
Photos: John Kang/SCMP
Fish and chips is a favourite British takeaway meal, traditionally eaten on Fridays. So one Friday this summer, four junior reporters went to Chip In Fish & Chips restaurant, to find out how to make and - most importantly - eat fish and chips.

Hongkonger Vicky Chan learned to make fish and chips while working at her aunt's restaurant in England, where she lived for more than 10 years. She opened her own restaurant in Sai Kung last November; residents voted it the best new restaurant in a local poll in June.

Chan's restaurant has gained lots of attention among locals and in Hong Kong's Chinese press - particularly for its speciality, deep-fried Oreo cookies.

Here's what our junior reporters learned ...

Deep-frying for crispy goodness

The fish is coated in batter, then fried so it's crispy on the outside and juicy inside. Cod is the popular choice. It is quite cheap and customers like the taste and texture. But king prawns, calamari, onion rings and sausages are also on the menu.

The steps for making traditional fish and chips are quite simple once you've got all the ingredients and all the necessary cooking appliances, such as the deep fryers.

Restaurant owner Vicky Chan taught us how to prepare and cook the fish, sausages and chips, mushy peas and - her speciality - deep-fried Oreos.

Chip In uses two different fryers. One fryer is used only for deep-frying fish. Why? Well, you wouldn't want your chips and Oreos to taste like fish, would you?

It's called "deep-fried" food because it is cooked in a deep fryer filled with hot oil. At Chip In, one fryer will often contain at least 25 litres of hot oil.

Ruby Leung


Art of battering fish


Ruby Leung deep fries a fish fillet

To deep-fry the fish, we first coated fish fillets with flour. This soaks up the water. It's important because water and oil don't mix. Then, we held on to the end of each fillet and dipped them in batter - a liquid mix of flour, water, milk and eggs.

Now here's the trick: as we put the fillet into the hot oil, we placed it only halfway in. We waited for the batter to expand in the oil so the fish would float on the surface when we let go, instead of just sinking to the bottom of the fryer.

The fish and chips are served with mushy peas and sprinkled with salt and vinegar, and placed in "boats". The boats are made of folded, clean, blank sheets of newspaper.

Newspaper is really good at soaking up the oil from the food. More importantly, it also keeps the food warm.

The paper boats are served on bamboo trays, made by Chan to look like red British postboxes.

Odessa Fung and Suskihanna Gurung


Not-so-easy-peasy mushy peas

I was in charge of making the mushy peas. This involves boiling them, adding milk, butter, salt and pepper, and then mashing them.

I thought it would be easy as the peas just need to be soft. But I found it pretty hard to mash and crush the peas, even after adding the milk!

In the end, I thought the peas were really tasty. They go really well with chips.

Chip In's chips are much thicker and softer than the thin, crisp French fries of other fast-food restaurants.

Chan says fish and chips are healthier than you think. Only the batter, and not the fish, touches the cooking oil. Fat chips are less oily than French fries, too. As they are so thin, most of the potato in a French fry is soaked in oil. But lots of the potato in larger chips never gets near the oil.

Lyndon Fan

Young Post organises regular activities for our junior reporters. If you wish to join, send your name, age, school and contact details to reporters.club@scmp.com with "jun rep application" in the subject field


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