Fish and drink are two summer favourites for many people in the Mahurangi and it’s no different for
Matakana resident, builder and Master Chef contestant Kris Williams.
The former Mahurangi College student learnt to fish and use a fry pan from a young age.
“I started cooking around age five because my mum wanted me to be able to look after myself,” Kris says.
“Growing up in the Mahurangi, I spent a lot of time on the water and learnt that fish is a great meal if it’s done well.”
Coming into the summer season, he recommends beer battered paprika and parsley fish as a simple but tasty option for cooking your catch.
“It’s not a difficult recipe to follow, but will complement any fish you have well.”
The main part of the recipe is making the batter mix, using ingredients such as paprika, garlic powder and your favourite beer.
“I enjoy this because it just spices up the fish and gives it some colour as well,” he says.
He says the key things to remember are not to overcook the fish and keep the batter thin and crispy.
“You don’t want to dry the fish out and don’t let the batter be too thick and overpower it. You want the fish to be the hero of the dish.”
Although he doesn’t take himself too seriously in the kitchen, Kris is no amateur, having finished in 11th place on Master Chef New Zealand in 2013.
“I had always watched Master Chef Australia and thought this looks easy. When an advertisement came up online for the New Zealand competition, I decided to enter.
“I don’t think too many young builders enter shows like that so I got chosen pretty easily.”
Kris says he wasn’t as knowledgeable as a lot of the other contestants, but developed his culinary skills during the programme.
“I picked up ideas from the other contestants. I’m a far better cook now than before I went on the show.
“I’ve never been fanatical about being in the kitchen, but I enjoy good food, so I do make an effort when it comes to meals.”
Kris says anyone can create good food and recommends pulling recipes off the internet and adapting them to get the flavours you like.
“There’s no shame in using other people’s recipes and experimenting with them, but always remember with fish to let it be the dominant flavour, because it’s a delicate one.”
Beer Battered Paprika and Parsley Fish
Oil to deep fry
Up to eight fish fillets of your choice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup flour
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp parsley
2 egg whites, whisked
Bottle of favourite beer
Season fillets with salt and pepper. Combine dry ingredients with slightly whisked egg whites. Mix beer in until you have a nice thin batter – keep as cold as possible. Put in fish fillets until coated. You should just be able to see the fish through the batter. Fry at 180C until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, and enjoy.