I swore that I would not fall prey to copious imbibing of fish and chips. I distinctly remember putting it on a list of cons when making the decision to come and live in Ireland. “Con #6: Fish and Chip Consumption” I knew that it would be possible to give in to frequent “chipper runs” to the Pink Potato around the corner which would clearly be the demise of my yoga-fied figure that I had been so diligently been working on. We discussed it in detail. Made a plan. And I was convinced that I would not lay a hand on a fish and chip more than once or twice in a year.


For those of you who are Irish, fish and chips may be as ordinary and non-exciting as pork and beans would be to an American. But to me, (perhaps us?) it is nearly a delicacy. A luxury. At the very least, a treat. And of course, it tastes far different than any Friday Night Fish Fry I’ve ever encountered. Maybe it’s the malt vinegar drizzled over the top, maybe the Atlantic cod, or dare I say, maybe it’s the mushy peas that my husband puts on my plate when it accompanies an order of fish and chip at Doonbeg.  Maybe it’s because the fish from chippers comes wrapped in brown paper. Maybe it’s the cheese and garlic sauce that is sometimes on offer. Maybe it’s the batter that reminds me of all the battered goodness at the State Fair.

I don’t know. But, eating a fish and chip from time to time is simply unavoidable, if not totally unnatural.

It was not often that I would actually prepare a fish and chip dinner at home, because somehow, for me, doesn’t seem like the real thing unless you are ordering from a chipper or ordering it off the menu at someplace like this. But, since we moved out of Adare and onto the farm, I have taken to learning to make nearly everything from scratch here at home as it is less trouble than driving for three quarters of an hour for supper….especially if craving a fish and chip.

At some point, I decided it was time to create our own version of fish and chips here at home. Of course, I had to put a little American spin on it and add beer to the batter (for this post, I used a lovely new Irish craft Ale called Sunburnt Irish Red by 8 Degrees Brewing) which did not go astray, and, in fact, really boosted the flavor. I also add some freshly cut thyme or dill from our garden depending on the day.

But, the best bit is the chickpea chips (or frites if you’re fancy). Both farmers-little and big- regularly request them. The recipe is from an amazing restaurant in Napa Valley, CA called Ubuntu. These chips are somewhat time-consuming upfront, but well worth the trouble. Totally delicious and marginally more healthy than potatoes because chickpeas are protein packed.  In fact, you could make a meal out of the chickpea chips alone.

Our little boy has named this version of fish and chips, “Dunmoylan Fish & Chip” since our “chipper” is right here on the farm.  Add any Irish ale of your choosing and try the lemon aioli dipping sauce on the side if you please. (or vinegar, tartar… Ballymaloe relish goes great with the chickpea chips too!)

Irish Ale & Thyme Battered Fish

Ingredients (serves 4)

225g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour

1 egg, lightly whisked

375ml (1 1/2 cups) chilled light beer

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, to deep-fry

8 (about 120g each) white fish fillets (such as flathead or whiting)

Sea salt flakes, to serve

Lemon wedges, to serve

Place flour in a bowl. Add the egg and stir to combine. Gradually whisk in beer until batter is smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

Add enough vegetable oil to a large saucepan to reach a depth of 8cm. Heat to 190°C over high heat (when oil is ready a cube of bread will turn golden brown in 10 seconds). Dip 2 pieces of fish, 1 at a time, into batter to coat. Drain off excess. Deep-fry for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and cooked. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat, in 3 more batches, with remaining fish and batter, reheating oil between batches.

Chickpea Chips

Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 1/2 cups chickpea flour , plus more for dusting (avail at natural foods stores)

1 cup cornmeal (maize meal in Ireland)

2 cloves garlic , finely grated

3 Tbsp. kosher salt , plus more to taste

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 Tbsp. chopped rosemary

Zest of 2 lemons

Vegetable oil , for frying

In a stainless steel pot over high heat, combine chickpea flour, cornmeal, 7 cups of cold water, garlic, and salt. Whisk gently to prevent sticking on the bottom; over-whisking will cause the final product to “soufflé” and fall.

Once the mixture begins to thicken and bubble (after about 3 to 4 minutes), reduce heat to medium and switch to a rubber spatula. Add remaining ingredients except oil, stir to combine, and continue stirring to prevent sticking. When mixture pulls from the sides of the pot like a dough (after about 6 to 8 minutes), transfer it to a rimmed sheet pan lined with nonstick aluminum foil. Spread mixture out evenly, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap, and top with another sheet pan. Refrigerate for 4 hours until completely cold and set.

Carefully remove mixture from pan by gently lifting the bottom layer of aluminum foil onto a cutting board. Remove plastic wrap, then cut into “fries” about 3 inches long.

Heat oil in a large pot to 190°C over high heat (when oil is ready a cube of bread will turn golden brown in 10 seconds).  Toss fries lightly in additional cornmeal, and deep-fry them in small batches until crispy, about 3 minutes. Remove and set on paper towels. Sprinkle with kosher salt to taste and serve with lemon garlic aioli.

Lemon Aioli

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 clove garlic, minced

½ tsp lemon zest

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together.

Serve as dipping sauce.

And…drum roll please…the winner of the Farmhouse Cheeses of Ireland book drawing is: Tim Magnuson. Tim, please email your mailing address to me at imen.producer@ireland.com so I can send the book out to you straight away! A big, big thank you to everyone for participating in my first ‘official’ book giveaway. There will be more to come, promise! xx

Slan Abhaile,


Photos and styling by Imen McDonnell. For more food styling + photography work, please contact me at imen.producer@ireland.com.

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19 Responses to “Irish Ale Battered Fish + Chickpea Chips”

  1. Wayne says:

    Just happen to have some white fish to give this one a try..

  2. Niamh says:

    This looks great – especially the chips! Going to make them, and it’s perfect as I have a huge bag of chickpea flour that needs to be used up. Beer batter is very popular in the UK too btw 🙂 x

  3. I’m so excited by this post, I want to make all of it, but first the chickpea chips. We had some at a tapas bar this summer and I haven’t stopped thinking about them since. Your photo makes me want to dig right in.

  4. Looks great Imen! Glad you’re enjoying your research…

  5. That sounds yum! Looking forward to meeting you at the women and agric conference 🙂

  6. I am completely intrigued by the chickpea chips. Just when you think there is nothing new under the sun ;-).

  7. Aoife Mc says:

    Chickpea chips! What a fabulous idea. I love it! I will definitely be giving them a go asap.

    I love fish and chips, a total guilty pleasure. But you’re right, the chipper-bought kind should only really be a rare treat. Like twice a year or so.

    All the more reason to make something as lovely as this at home! Guilt free!

    Well. Slightly less guilt free rather 🙂

  8. Anne Tierney says:

    I am definitely going to have to try this this week. Sounds amazing!

  9. nessa robins says:

    Fish & Chips was my favourite treat as a child. Your photograph is so gorgeous, they look like the perfect Fish & Chips! The chickpea chips sound fantastic – I must try them and I love lemon aioli, it goes so perfectly with fish. Must make this down for dinner really soon 🙂

    • imen says:

      You are so lucky to have grown up with proper fish and chips! If you give the chickpea frites a try let me know..love to hear how you like them. Thanks for your comment xx

  10. Wow, wow, wow! What an amazing take on Irish Fish n’ Chips. Sounds delicious. I only ever use Chickpeas to make Hummus or add to soups. I am a vegetarian so this recipe has really caught my eye and I also have cornmeal all the way from South Carolina so it’s Chickpeas Chips for dinner tonight. Thanks for the great recipe.

    • imen says:

      Thank you so much Mary! You won’t be disappointed with the chickpea frites….they are amazeballs!xx

  11. This sounds AMAZING! We’ll have Eight Degrees here for the festival, have to try the batter… although I can imagine that Or Golden Ale from Trouble Brewing would be good too, as it’s very tasty.

    • imen says:

      Thank you Lily….just had a look at Cloughtoberfest…love it! If I wasn’t going to be pressing cider at Savour Kilkenny, I’d be there! I love the Golden Ale from Trouble Brewing as well, excellent!

      • hey.. sorry, only just saw this by chance… thanks Imen! My sitting room is now full of Or Golden Ale, and Eight Degrees, Breweyed, O’Hara’s… looks like a shebeen in here! Pity you can’t make it… save the date next year 🙂

  12. Móna Wise says:

    Ooooh – the Fish n’ Chips gets us every time too. I never order them out anymore. I can’t be convinced well enough where the fish comes from and sometimes if it really is cod. Your recipe for the chickpea chips looks very interesting. We oven bake chickpeas with olive oil and salt for a snack instead of popcorn and they all love them, so this will have to be tried. Lovely photos and styling Imen. I wish you lived closer so you could teach me a few things!

    • imen says:

      Yum, oven baked chickpeas sounds good….must give it a try. As always, thank you for your comment Mona! xx

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