After vegan chick’n, comes vegan fish! Or should I say feesh!
Made with just 3 main ingredients, this vegan “fish” is surprisingly real! The “flesh” is tender and flaky, while the skin is super crispy! Served with a caramelized shallots or peppercorn sauce, this will surely not disappoint. Let’s make feesh!
This recipe makes use of dry vegan “chicken slices” (TVP) that are first soaked in water for about 20 minutes to rehydrate. Then, we finely chop them to imitate the fibrous “flesh” of fish.
If you have never heard of TVP, it means Textured Vegetable Protein. It is a dry product that comes in many different shapes like cutlets, chunks, etc. It first needs to be rehydrated before being used as a meat substitute.
I first tried using young jackfruit to imitate the texture of fish, and while the texture was good, it was not as impressive as with the TVP.
Then, we have mung bean purée that acts as a binder. I went with split mung beans as they have a quite neutral flavor, but you can use mashed red beans if you prefer.
The fishy flavor comes from the seaweed that is placed on one side to imitate the skin, and from the addition of vegan fish sauce. If you don’t have it simply use soy sauce.
To make the filling, mix the minced TVP with the mung bean purée and the flavorings.
Quick tip: If you want to make the process quicker, pulse a few times in a food processor.
There are two ways to shape the “fish”. You can cut a fish shape out of a sheet of nori, or simply roll the mixture into nori sheets to make rolls. The first method requires a bit more patience and will be slightly more difficult to handle compared to rolls, but the result will definitely be more impressive!
On the other side, rolls are perfect if you want to use this “fish” in tacos, sandwiches, summer rolls, and more!
I hope you will love this vegan “fish”! It is tender, flaky, has a delicate texture, and a super crispy skin!
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
- Soak the vegan chicken slices (TVP) in cold water for at least 30 minutes, or until soft.
- In the meantime, place the split mung beans and water in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Let simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until no water remains and the mung beans are soft. Keep an eye on it to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn.
- Transfer the cooked mung beans to a small mixing bowl and mash it using a fork until you get a purée.
- Drain the vegan chicken slices and press it between your hands to remove excess water. Shred the vegan slices into thin strips. Next, finely mince the stripes (see photo).
- Add the minced vegan chicken to the bowl with the mung bean purée. Add the sugar, vegan fish sauce, salt, minced garlic, and onion powder if using. Using a spoon, mix until well combined. It should hold together but still be a bit crumbly.
- Cut the sheets of nori into two fish shapes (or into long rectangles if you want to make rolls).
- In a small bowl, combine the tapioca flour with the water. Brush the nori sheets with the tapioca mixture. Next, divide the “fish” mixture on top of the two nori sheets and press it down into a thin layer, shaping with your hands to give it the same shape as the nori sheet. Make sure to leave about 1/2-inch so you can fold the nori sheet just a little bit over the “fish” mixture. You should get two “fish”.
- Heat about 3 tablespoons of oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, fry the vegan “fish” for about 5 minutes on each side, starting with the side on the opposite of the nori sheet.
- Transfer to a plate lined with parchment paper to remove excess oil. Serve with your favorite sauce (peppercorn or shallot sauce work great!), or use in sandwiches, tacos, summer rolls, etc!
- This vegan “fish” is best served immediately but will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
This fish can also be braised, start by caramelizing onions or shallots, add chili, garlic, and then deglaze the skillet with a drizzle of soy sauce and a couple of tablespoons of water. Add the vegan fish and cook for another 3-5 minutes so it absorbs the flavors of the sauce.
Recipe adapted from Bà Mẹ Quê