Something I had not experimented much with is veganizing fish-based meals. It hasn’t been an issue because I didn’t think I really enjoyed seafood that much anyway. One visit to a farmer’s market in South Florida and I realized I was wrong. The ceviche stands, shrimp skewers and fish and chip tents had me salivating and got me thinking. How can I make this vegan? This question is really more of a challenge and in my experience, it makes herbivores super excited! By the way, I did NOT give in to my craving at the farmer’s market; instead, I got an acai bowl (just in case you were wondering)!
Fish and chips are a classic loved by kids and adults alike. It is essentially fried fish sticks with French fries or as the British say, chips! Believe it or not, this is very easy to make plant-based. Potatoes are already vegan, but I decided to make baked wedges instead so that I was not eating a fully fried meal.
I always start by making the most time-consuming part of my meal. In this case, the potatoes are it! Without counting the actual potato prep, baking alone takes about 25-35 minutes. There is no rule to what type of potatoes to use, so I used one yellow and one russet potato. All you do is slice them into wedges, drizzle a tad bit of olive oil and sprinkle them with salt.
Now you just spread them across a baking sheet, pop them in the oven and set the timer. In the meantime, you can begin prepping the main not so fishy sticks!
One can not eat fried sticks of any sort without a sauce to dip them in! The classic Fish & Chips dish is British, but today I am going to give it a Latin twist. Nothing sounds more Latin than a cilantro-lime aioli! All you do is combine (1/4 cup) vegan mayo, (1/5 cup) cilantro, lime juice from 1 lime, (1/2 tsp) garlic powder, (1/2 tsp) cumin in a blender or food processor. If it is too thick for your taste add some water and blend again. I usually like to leave it in the fridge until dinner is ready!
Hearts of Palm
I don’t know about you guys, but I had never heard of hearts of palm before until a few months ago. I didn’t know what they were, what they looked and felt like, and that they were used for cooking…and eating.
It turns out hearts of palm are exactly what they sound like. They are a vegetable picked from the inner-core of certain types of palm trees. They have a similar taste and texture to artichokes. Not to my surprise, they are extremely beneficial to our digestive health, blood health, promote weight loss, stabilize blood sugar levels, boost immunity, and help prevent anemia. This is all due to its rich properties such as lots and lots of fiber, protein, manganese, iron, and vitamin c.
Unfortunately, I have not seen them at my local grocery store and usually end up finding them at Whole Foods, in the canned vegetable aisle. If Wholefoods is not a thing where you live, I recommend going to “Organic/Fresh” type markets or Asian markets in your area.
Once you’ve managed to find and purchase hearts of palm, you are going to drain them press them flat (not too flat) and cut them in half. This makes them softer, like fish-flesh (poor fishies) and easier to fry without falling apart. Once you have prepped these bad boys, set them aside.
Batter With A Kick!
Now that your potatoes are almost ready, the aioli is in the fridge and the hearts of palm are prepped, all that is left to do is make the batter and fry these puppies up! The batter consists of (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour, (1/4 cup) cornstarch, (1 tsp chili powder), and a dash of salt. To give it a kick I added (1/3 cup) of beer, but you can use water instead.
Once you whisk that all together you should get a thick but very smooth consistency. Place a medium to large skillet over medium-high heat with (1/2 cup) vegetable oil. Once the oil is heated, dunk the hearts of palm into the batter and into the frying pan one-by-one. Allow them to fry for 3-4 minutes on each side before setting them on a paper towel to soak the excess oil. Sprinkle them with salt. By now your chips should be ready, so scoop those on a plate with some of the hearts of palm fish sticks and the cilantro-lime aioli and there you have it. I promise you will be amazed!
Look how real they look! If you spritz some more lime juice and/or dip them in the sauce they taste and feel more fish-like every time. It’s honestly scary!