James Martin shocks This Morning viewers with unusual hack for fish batter

This Morning chef James Martin, 47 has been a regular on screens in recent weeks as he joins presenters Holly Willoughby, 39 and Phil Schofield, 58, from his home. The Saturday Kitchen star joined the pair on Wednesday to show viewers how to recreate a delicious battered fish and chips takeaway in their own kitchen. The chef used a surprising trick to make the batter. 


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Holly and Phillip were shocked when James revealed his secret ingredient for the perfect fish batter recipe. 

The chef explained he was making his recipe a little differently by adding gin and tonic into the batter, saying he knows the This Morning presenters like the tipple. 

Mixing the alcohol with the flour and egg, he said it tastes amazing when you make batter with the popular combination. 

He also suggested using cider for a really delicious batter, explaining that both options are lighter than beer batter. 

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The star poured the gin and tonic into the bowl and said you want to create a runny mixture before you add the fish, and you don’t need to leave it to rest. 

However, with flour in short supply due to the coronavirus pandemic as people stockpile for baking, James gave some alternatives that viewers could use. 

For a flour-free recipe, James said all you need is some rice – which you can blend for ten minutes in a food processor to create rice flour. 

He added that you could also use cornflour, or use breadcrumbs and egg to create your batter mix. Gluten-free flour would also work for anyone who needs to avoid gluten. 

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The chef suggested using a deep fat fryer, but Holly asked what you can do if you don’t have one. 

James said you can just pan fry the fish using a small amount of oil, making sure you keep turning it over. 

For the fish, James used haddock and cod, and highlighted the waste that often happens in the fish industry. 

He used cod cheeks from his fishmonger which are usually thrown away in this country. 

James then put the coated fish into the fryer. 


  • Fish and chips takeway hack: How to make your own fish and chips

The celebrity chef provided two options for the fish batter recipe, depending if you prefer to use gin or cider – here’s how to cook the perfect fish and chips at home. 

Crispy battered fish with chilli sauce recipe

Serves: 2


400g fish fillets of your choice

Batter 1

250g plain flour

50ml gin

250ml tonic

pinch of salt

Batter 2

100g gluten-free self raising flour

100ml sparkling cider

pinch salt

For the sauce:

200g caster sugar

100ml rice or white wine vinegar

100ml water

1 green chilli, chopped

1 red chilli chopped

Half a cucumber, seeds removed and chopped finely

1 small bunch coriander, chopped

1 small bunch mint, chopped

vegetable oil, for frying


Fill a deep pan \(or deep fat fryer\) one third full with vegetable oil and heat to 190C.

Whisk together all the ingredients for the batter.

Dip the fish into the batter, then fry in batches until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper.

To make the sauce, heat the sugar, vinegar and water in a small pan and bring to the boil. Add the chilies and cucumber and cook for a minute or so. Add the chopped herbs and season to taste.

Note: this makes a lot of dipping sauce but it can be kept in the fridge for one week.

This recipe is available on the This Morning website, here. 

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