Tommy Ruffs and a good beer batter make for great fish and chips, but not for the gluten-intolerant.
Having not had and fish and chips since my wife went gluten-free, some months ago, I thought that we were long overdue for some.
These do not come out of packets, they are made from a type from the tuber of the potato plant. Washed, peeled (only if the skin is daggy), and cut into chips, these are fried in deep fat at 180°Celsius.
For those who buy their chips in packets, beware – there is a good chance that there is wheat/gluten in there. If you are going to have chips, do them properly!
When using wheat, I would toss the fish fillets in a freezer bag of durum wheat semolina (pasta flour), prior to battering. As a gluten-free substitute, I used corn flour (maize starch). Another caveat: some things sold as corn flour actually contain wheat. The term corn is dangerously ambiguous, which is why I tend to use the term maize.
For the batter, I used one cup of rice flour, a heaped teaspoon of guar gum, an egg, a large pinch of salt and just over a cup and a half of chilled water. This produced somewhat more batter than required, so could be scaled back.
Chips were cooked first, then popped in a bowl in the oven to keep hot.
Floured fish dipped into the (thick) batter and lowered slowly into the deep fat. This slow introduction stops the fish from sinking straight to the bottom and the batter from sticking to the basket. I did the fish in two batches, keeping the first batch in the oven until the second was complete and then combining the batches for a few seconds before taking out.
After the fish has been removed, back into the fryer with the chips for a few seconds.
Rice batter lacks any particular flavour but has good adhesion, crispness and is quite light, and – of course – is gluten-free.
If cooking for the gluten-intolerant, do not fry in fat that has previously been used for gluten-containing foods. Bear this in mind as well, when eating out; if something is deep-fried, has that fryer/fat been used to cook breaded or wheat-battered foods? If you cannot get a quick and positive answer, avoid like the plague, unless you want to spend the next day or so looking at the back of the lavatory door, or worse.