James Street South Cookery School: Beer battered fish

Gallopers beer battered fish by Niall McKenna
Niall McKenna

WITH it being the month to celebrate 'Brewing and Distilling' as part of Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink, I thought I would include one of my favourite recipes that uses beer, glorious beer.

As a chef and restaurant owner, I am lucky enough to sample most new food and beverage products when they come on to the market in Northern Ireland and it has been fantastic to see the amazing growth in the number of locally brewed artisan beers, all using a wide variety of ingredients to get very different tastes.

It all started with Hilden Brewery but over the past four years we have seen the introduction of Yardsman, Gallopers Beer, The Boundary, and Mourne Mountains Brewery to name but a few. All of these breweries are independent and starting from scratch so it is an exciting time in the north for this industry.

If you like to consider yourself as a bit of a beer connoisseur and would like to sample these, and more, then Brewbot on the Ormeau Road carries the widest selection in the city and offers tasting glasses. The Vineyard off licence, only a short walk down from Brewbot, also does tastings and has a huge selection to buy if you want to enjoy them at home.

We recently held a tasting session with Niall McMullan from Yardsman and we plan to do more during the summer months. To keep up to date, sign up via our contacts page at

Celebrating the provenance of its local produce, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s Food Heartland Awards will showcase and champion the outstanding food and drink created and produced across the borough.

Entries are open to all local food and drink businesses and those working across the agri-food sector. Deadline for entries is next Friday, April 15. Visit for details.



4 firm fillets of plaice/whiting

100g self-raising flour for dusting

250 g self-raising flour

3 egg yolks

100ml Gallopers beer

1 litre oil

Salt and pepper

Sparkling water can be used instead of the beer.

Method: Dry the fillets on a clean cloth and season the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the fillets in the dusting flour. To make the batter, whisk together the yolks, water and the flour until the mix is smooth. The beer/sparkling water will add a lightness to the batter, which is why beer works so well. Drop the fish fillets into the batter and coat them thoroughly.

Place the oil in a pot or wok and bring up to a high heat – be careful, as this can spark. Fry until the batter turns golden brown; remove the fish and leave to dry on kitchen roll. Serve with a tartare sauce or peas and a wedge of lemon.


250g salt cod – this has be purchased from a fishmonger

200g potatoes, cooked and mashed (Maris Piper or King Edward)

2 eggs, beaten

4 tblsp milk

1 tsp chives, finely chopped

2 tblsp parsley, finely chopped

Pinch of sweet smoked paprika

500ml vegetable oil

Lemon wedge to serve

Method: Start by soaking the salt cod in a bowl of cold water in the fridge for up to 12 hours, changing the water after three hours. Drain and rinse under cold running water.

To cook, place the cod in a pot, cover with water and bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat off and leave the fish to sit for five minutes. Remove from the water and flake the fish away from the skin and remove any bones.

Place the flaked fish into a bowl and add the mashed potatoes, milk, chives, parsley and egg mix, then bind together. Add the smoked paprika and season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, roll the mix into perfectly round balls. To cook, place about 500 ml of oil into a pot and bring to a high heat, then drop the balls in and cook through. You can finish them off in the oven if you think they need it. Serve with a wedge of lemon and a homemade mayonnaise or aioli.


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