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Fake Fried Fish

What you need: 

regular soft or firm tofu
soy sauce
nori sheets (seaweed)
Tempura batter mix
oil for deep frying

What you do: 

In Wisconsin Friday fish frys are big, and as a vegetarian I don't want to miss out. So I came up with this recipe. It is based on the memory of an appetizer served me once at a wonderful macrobiotic restaurant, called the Cauldron, that once existed on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Cut up the tofu into rectangular chunks of any size desired. I like to use soft tofu because its never as soft as they advertise and anyway its slightly gelatinous quality makes a perfect, delicate fish substitute. But you can use firm if you prefer. Blot dry and dab one side with soy sauce.
With a scissors cut the toasted nori into appropriate sizes to match the chunks and have ready (but don't place on the tofu yet or the nori gets too soggy and will threaten to slip off while frying).
Heat the cooking oil to deep frying temp.
Mix tempura batter with cold water as directed on package (or to your liking - thinner is lighter). Adhere the nori pieces, like postage stamps, on to the lightly marinated sides of the tofu chunks (I usually do about 3 or 4 at a time, depending on their size) and dip in tempura batter.
Fry until you think they're done (they should puff a little and rise; if they're golden brown, they're overdone).
I like to make a simple dipping sauce to accompany the fried fish. Just blend a little soy sauce with lemon juice and water (you can also add a bit of toasted sesame oil for some extra flavor).
This is a great snack or main dish and fairly easy. I love the combination of textures, soft and crispy. And the seaweed not only mimics the fish flavor, but the look of fried fish as well.
They are best piping hot fresh, of course, but they can be reheated in an oven.

Preparation Time: 
Cooking Time: 
Servings: 
Recipe Category: 

SO HOW'D IT GO?

This was delicious. Next time I will marinate the tofu as it could have been more flavourful but I generally loved the taste. I will definitely make again. Had it with peas and home made chips with a vegan tartare sauce. Good stuff. Thanks!

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Very Tasty! Thank you! I find that the moisture from the tofu soaks into the nori very quickly and easily adheres the nori to the tofu - making it less like likely to slip off while handing. Kelp powder is an essential addition to the marinade for flavour :) Rice flour is better for battering as it has a stickier consistency than other flour. I used regular breadcrumbs which was okay. And I fried these in a small (tiny) pot of oil to use up less oil - oil can be expensive when deep frying ;) Great recipe Admin! :)

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OMG, thes are awesome! I admit I was skeptical... but WOW, I am SO making these again!

I used one block of firm tofu, pressed but not frozen, cut into 3 square 'fillets' & marinated overnight in about 2-3 Tbsp ea of soy sauce (Bragg's, actually) & red wine vinegar. Next time I might cut the fillets a little thinner, to maximize tempura crunch... Cut the nori sheets exactly the right size to match tofu cutlets, for max prettiness; only put nori on one side of the tofu before battering, as recipe indicates -- I tried it with both sides nori'd, & the taste was a little too strong... with one, it's PERFECT!

I used tempura batter made from 1-2/3 cup flour, 4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1-1/2 Tbsp Old Bay, & 2 Tbsp nooch, whisked w/ 2 cups ice-cold water... it was ok, a little thin-- maybe needs a little less water... there may be better recipes out there. Was gonna use this one:

"1 C flour + 1 T old bay + 1 T cajun seasoning + about 1.5 C beer"

... but decided that last bottle of beer in the fridge had a 'higher calling.'  ::)

Made tartar sauce too -- 3ish Tbsp ea: diced dill pickles, red onion, & Nayonaise (or whatever nondairy mayo you prefer!); 1ish Tbsp ea: pickle juice & red wine vinegar (maybe more or less vinegar; til it tastes right); 1/2-1 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning; sprinkle of salt.

Sandwich of tofishy filet with generous tartar sauce, on toasted hoagie = HAPPINESS! Next time with slaw, too... (what emoticon means "drooling like Homer Simpson, when he thinks of donuts"?! someone should invent that!)

Awesome recipe... Thanks!

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This was fabulous. Here's what I did: First, I marinated the cut-up tofu in pickle juice, lemon juice, lemon pepper, and I crumbled part of a sheet of nori into it. Marinated for a couple of hours. Then, I drained and squeezed most of the moisture out of the tofu.  I made my own beer batter; just beer mixed with flour, and added some herbs/spices to it. Then right before frying the tofu, I stuck a piece of fresh nori on one side, battered and fried. I made some tartar sauce to go with it. Just mayo, lemon juice, grated onion and grated pickle. My carnivorous boyfriend couldn't get enough and neither could I. We couldn't believe how close to fish it tasted. It gave me killer heartburn, but I guess it was worth it!!!! :P

i followed your recipe advice! DELICIOUS!!! i need to make the batter thicker next time, but man, was it tasty!!! sure enough, the heartburn crept up! but as you said...worth it! thanks!!!

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Okay, update! This stuff makes the most amazing fish tacos EVER.  For the sauce, I just mixed together a little soy yogurt and vegenaise with cayenne, cumin, dill, lime juice and minced jalapeno.  Throw it in a fried corn tortilla with shredded cabbage and YUM!

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Oh yeah, and kelp powder!  Kelp powder was key to the marinade.

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This was awesome!  I froze the tofu first, then marinated it in a little tamari and lemon juice.  Beer batter worked great..so light and crispy.  I'm going to make fish tacos with this next time!

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Instead of beer, can I use club soda? And would rice flour work instead?? If anyone knows, they can respond.

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Hmm, I don't have a deep fryer but I really want to try this so I think I'll give it a shot anyway.  Wisconsin just isn't Wisconsin without Friday Fish Fry, especially with my family where going out for fish is practically a tradition.

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This was fabulous. Here's what I did: First, I marinated the cut-up tofu in pickle juice, lemon juice, lemon pepper, and I crumbled part of a sheet of nori into it. Marinated for a couple of hours. Then, I drained and squeezed most of the moisture out of the tofu.  I made my own beer batter; just beer mixed with flour, and added some herbs/spices to it. Then right before frying the tofu, I stuck a piece of fresh nori on one side, battered and fried. I made some tartar sauce to go with it. Just mayo, lemon juice, grated onion and grated pickle. My carnivorous boyfriend couldn't get enough and neither could I. We couldn't believe how close to fish it tasted. It gave me killer heartburn, but I guess it was worth it!!!! :P

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