There are multiple ways to make vegan fish and chips. This is my favorite because it is the least oily and has the best texture, firm on the inside, crunchy on the outside. This recipe uses extra firm tofu covered with Nori seaweed. The first time I tried tofu made this way was at the Seattle restaurant, No Bones Beach Club. It reminded me of the deep fried Halibut I used to enjoy before becoming vegan. With the first bite, I knew I had to recreate it, now that I have this will be my go to vegan fish recipe.
1 block of extra firm tofu
1 sheet of Nori seaweed
2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
2 cups vegan buttermilk, (there are recipes online for homemade vegan buttermilk, I prefer the recipe from the Non-Dairy Evolution cookbook)
2 cups gluten-free flour, (regular all-purpose flour can be used but I find gluten-free makes for a crispier fry), my favorite is Bobs Redmill
Old Bay seasoning, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
5 heaping tablespoons Vegenaise, (or homemade vegan mayonnaise, shown in a future blog post)
1 large dill pickle, grated
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper, to taste
1 large russet potato, (serves 2 people)
pickle juice, enough to cover the sliced potatoes, (as a option you can use water and a splash of vinegar)
1 tablespoon oil, (I prefer olive oil but you can use any vegetable based oil)
salt & pepper to taste
I recommend pressing the tofu for at least 15 minutes to remove water, giving the tofu a better texture. Here is my favorite tofu press, Tofuture
Peel and slice the potatoes. I like russets for french fries, other popular types have their uses but can be to dense for fries.
Put the sliced potatoes in a large bowl and cover with pickle juice. I’ve gotten in the habit of saving pickle juice for this reason, if you do not have any, water and a splash of vinegar will work. Let the cut potatoes soak for at least an hour, but overnight is ideal.
Slice Nori seaweed sheets to fit the size of your block of tofu.
Slice the tofu lengthwise, you can slice the block in half if you prefer a thick slice of fried tofu, or in thirds if you like a thinner piece.
Coat one side of each piece tofu with a small amount of water, then cover the one side with the Nori sheet you cut earlier.
Let the tofu pieces sit with the seaweed for 5-10 minutes. While you are waiting is a good time to make the tartar sauce.
In a medium sized bowl add the vegan mayonnaise, grated pickle, finely grated garlic, mustard, dill weed, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir, taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Drain the sliced potatoes and dry thoroughly in a kitchen towel. Lightly coat the potatoes with oil, salt, pepper and your favorite seasoning. You can air fry or bake the french fries, both options will be delicious. If you bake them set the oven to 400 degrees farenheit and bake for 10 - 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Cut the tofu pieces in half diagonally to form a triangle.
Set 3 pans or shallow bowls on your counter. In the first bowl add the flour, the second bowl the vegan butter milk and in the third bowl add the Panko bread crumbs. In each bowl sprinkle Old Bay seasoning, (or your favorite seafood or Cajun seasoning).
In a heavy bottomed, deep sided pan add enough cooking oil so the tofu will be submerged, make sure the pan is deep enough that the oil is not above half full. If your pan is more then half full of cooking oil it will over flow when you add the tofu and potentially catch fire. Heat the oil to 350-360 degrees farenheit.
Coat the tofu, first in the flour, then the butter milk, then the Panko.
Carefully set each piece of tofu in the hot oil. Check every couple minutes. When golden brown remove from the oil and set on a baking sheet fitted with a cooling rack.
A little dill sprinkled over the tartar sauce adds a nice visual, and a little malt vinegar on the fries and tofu adds a little punch. Enjoy!