From Land’s End to John o’ Groates, London to Derry, people across the UK are united by their love of fish and chips.
There’s something beautiful about the universal appeal of our national dish. Despite our regional differences, no UK town would be complete without at least one trusty chippy supplying locals with delicious battered fish and freshly fried chips.
While fish and chips is far and away the most popular dish on the menu of any British chippy, fryers have let their imaginations run wild when it comes to side dishes.
Aside from the traditional mushy peas, battered sausages, onion rings, pickled onions, gherkins and eggs, gravy, ketchup, tartar, curry and various other sauces, we want to take a look at some of the more obscure and adventurous accompaniments that have become staples on the menus of chippies across the land.
So, ready your taste buds and make some extra room on your plate, we’re about to serve up 10 fish and chips sides that may revolutionise your fish supper forevermore.
Fish and chips accompaniments from across the UK
1) Mushy peas & mint sauce
Let’s start with a regional twist on an old favourite – mint sauce on mushy peas. Popular in Nottinghamshire and the wider East Midlands area, this colourful combo is enjoyed on its own with a spoon as much as on a plate with battered cod and chips. It’s an especially popular treat during the chilly Autumn nights of Nottingham’s Goose Fair.
2) Pea fritters
Keeping the green theme going with another variation on mushy peas, pea fritters are exactly what you’d think they are – balls of mushy peas deep-fried in batter. Perfect for vegetarians, these fun fritters are making their way onto the menus of chippies up and down the country.
3) Pea wet
Okay, we know we’re milking the pea-based accompaniments but this is the last one, we promise! Talking of milking it, that’s almost what pea wet is – leftover mushy pea juice. A well-loved delicacy in Wigan, pea wet is typically used as a condiment and can be poured lavishly over your fish, chips or pie. Waste not, want not.
4) Baby’s head
Not the most scrumptious sounding side dish on this list, ‘baby’s head’ is the name used in North West England for steak and kidney pudding. This pie consists of lamb or pig kidneys combined with diced beef and gravy, all encased in delicious suet pastry. Baby’s head is enjoyed with mash and gravy almost as much as fish and chips. However, this pudding should always be served upside down in order to live up to its strange but intriguing name.
One of the most popular fish and chips sides on our list, scraps are the bits of deep-fried batter that have fallen off the fish as it is being deep fried. Commonly known as ‘bits’ in the south, ‘scrumps’ in Wales and ‘gribbles’ in the West Country, they are more common in the North of England, particularly in Yorkshire. While this by-product was historically given out as a free treat to the children of customers, today many people can’t order fish and chips without a generous portion of scraps. Clearly, there’s no batter treat!
6) Yorkshire fishcakes
Staying in Yorkshire, these fishcakes are a twist on a much-loved classic. The difference between Yorkshire fishcakes and their traditional counterparts is a thick layer of potato. That’s right – fish, wrapped in potato, encased in batter then deep-fried to perfection. They’re basically a whole fish and chips meal rolled into one golden-brown parcel. Who could argue with that?
7) Battered haggis
Let’s now head even further north and pop over the border into the busy chippies of Scotland. When you think of Hibernian food, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Haggis, of course. While Scotland’s national dish is not to everyone’s taste, few could argue with the tastiness of its deep-fried form. There’s something about the frying process that brings out haggis’s rich flavours, with the fried batter making it more attractive to a younger generation. Remember – haggis supper is a must-have meal on Burns Night!
8) Pizza crunch
The name itself tells you pretty much all you need to know about this calorific accompaniment – it’s a slice of pizza deep-fried in batter. Thanks to an on-going obsession in the British press, pizza crunch now occupies the dizzy heights of Scottish delicacies alongside such classics as haggis, or even Irn Bru! Pizza crunch can now be found in chippies across the South, especially in London where the temptation to try this Scottish classic is proving irresistible.
9) Rag pudding
This is definitely one for the pie connoisseurs. Rag pudding – also known as rag pie – sounds typical enough: it’s a concoction of minced meat, onions, gravy and suet pastry. The unique aspect of this pudding is that it’s cooked in cheesecloth. Yep, it’s baked in that gauze-like fabric used in cheese making. This cooking method has nothing to do with taste and everything to do with traditional. Apparently cheesecloth was abundant in 19th century Oldham where rag pudding originates, so they thought they’d start cooking pies in it. Use whatever materials you have at your disposal, we suppose.
10) Battered black/white pudding
Sausages aren’t the only foodstuff to migrate from the breakfast plate to the deep fat fryer, both black and white pudding have made it to the “Sides” menu in many British chippies (and even some Australian ones too). The bloodless variety, white pudding, is particularly popular in Ireland and Scotland, while battered black pudding can be found across the country, especially up North. As you can tell from many of the above fish and chips accompaniments, Northern England is leading the way when it comes to frying ingenuity.
Whatever accompaniment you prefer with your fish and chips, it’s crucial that they’re fried in the highest quality frying oil. That’s where Frymax can help – the leading vegetable oil for the fish frying trade for over 60 years.
Fully refined and deodorised, Frymax is the frying oil of choice for any chippy looking for sustainable, long lasting vegetable oil. Get in touch with our team today to learn more.