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Fabulous Fish Fakes

The freshest catch of the day isn’t from the sea! Tofu and flavorful veggies are taking the place of traditional fish dishes. So let the fish swim free, but hang on to the taste!

Faux Fish Sticks
1 lb. package firm tofu, drained
2/3 cup fine organic cornmeal (or white flour)
2/3 cup sliced almonds
2 tsp. sweet paprika
2 tsp. kelp granules
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. dill weed
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2/3 cup plain, unsweetened soymilk
1 lemon
olive oil

  • Preheat the oven to 400º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat parchment with olive oil. Set aside.
  • Combine the cornmeal or flour, sliced almonds, paprika, kelp, salt, onion and garlic powder in a blender, and blend on high until most of the almonds have been turned into a coarse meal, with a few larger pieces of almond remaining. Pour the mixture into a wide baking dish or pie plate.
  • Place the plain soymilk into a bowl and set next to the cornmeal mixture.
  • With a sharp knife, cut the tofu into even slices just under ½-inch wide. Cut tofu out into fish sticks, or use a fish-shaped cookie cutter to cut out tofu fish.
  • Working with one piece at a time, dip the tofu into the plain soymilk, then toss gently in the cornmeal mixture to coat evenly. Place on the prepared baking sheet. When all the tofu fish are on the baking sheet, sprinkle them with olive oil.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the tofu fish over and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until crispy (if making tater tots, place them on the baking sheet for the last 15 minutes).
  • Remove tofu fish onto a plate, and squeeze some fresh lemon juice evenly over the tofu.

Makes 4 servings

Top Tip: Kelp granules can be found in shaker containers at health food stores or online at Sprinkle them on any food for a low-sodium salt alternative; they’re a good source of iodine!

These fabulous faux sticks were taken from the Vegan Lunch Box cookbook by Jennifer McCann. 

Red-Envelope Mock Fish 
This dish is named after the red envelopes of money given to children during Chinese New Year celebrations.

1 large potato (about 8 oz.), peeled, boiled, and mashed
1/4 cup chopped water chestnuts
1Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 large (10- by 12-inch) frozen bean curd skin or sheet, thawed
2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water

1/3 cup slivered Chinese sweet pickles or sweet gherkins
1/4 cup unrefined sugar
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
3/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 to 3 Tbsp. canola oil
Cilantro sprigs for garnish

  • For the filling, combine the potato, water chestnuts, cornstarch, salt, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a medium bowl. Unfold the bean curd skin and place it on a flat work surface with the narrow edge toward you. Spread the potato filling evenly across the middle of the bean curd skin. Fold the bottom half up over the filling, then fold in the sides. Brush the top and side edges with the cornstarch mixture (reserving the remaining mixture), and gently roll up the bean curd skin to form a loose cylinder. Set aside
  • For the sauce, combine the pickles, sugar, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, and hot pepper sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the reserved cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens, about 2 minutes.
  • Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Carefully place the filled bean curd skin into the wok, seam side down. Cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a large platter.
  • Cut the bean curd skin in half lengthwise, and then crosswise into 12 pieces. Pour the sauce over the pieces and garnish with cilantro.

Makes 4 servings

Top Tip: If you can’t find frozen bean curd skin, use egg-less egg roll skins instead (from most Japanese and Chinese markets).

This recipe is loaded with goodies, but you also might want to add daikon radish, asparagus, scallions, mushrooms, sesame seeds, even an avocado!
6 cups water
3 cups short-grain brown rice
1 small cucumber
1 small zucchini
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
2 small carrots
1/2 lb. fresh spinach
2/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 package pre-toasted nori sheets (or toast your own by briefly passing the sheets over a stove flame)

Prepared wasabi paste

  • Bring the water to a boil. Add the rice, lower the heat, and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Seed and julienne the cucumber, and julienne the zucchini, bell peppers, and carrots. Steam these vegetables, along with the spinach, over boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
  • Mix together the vinegar and brown sugar, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. When the rice is cooked, stir in the vinegar and brown sugar mixture and let cool to room temperature.
  • When the vegetables and rice are cool enough to handle, lay out the first nori sheet. Place a handful of rice in the center of the sheet, moisten your hands with water, and gently but firmly press the rice to the edges of the sheet so that there is a thin layer of rice in a line on the sheet. Spread a bit of wasabi paste on top of the rice, approximately 1 1/2 inches from one edge of the nori sheet. Lay vegetable strips parallel to the wasabi in a width of approximately 1 inch along the wasabi line.
  • Carefully wrap the closest edge over the vegetables, then roll the nori delicately but tightly. Seal by moistening the edge of the nori. Once the nori sheet is completely rolled, slice the roll into 6 pieces and arrange on a platter. Repeat with the remaining nori sheets.

Makes 6 rolls

Top Tip: If your nori rolls won’t stay rolled, try “sealing” the seam with a little maple syrup or brown rice syrup.

Top Tip: Use an inexpensive bamboo sushi mat to roll up the nori sheets to prevent them from tearing.

Fancy Fillets
Serve these tasty cutlets with a dollop of tofu tartar sauce (see recipe) or hot sauce or use them to make extraordinary sandwiches.
1 lb. firm tofu
Egg replacer equivalent to 1 egg
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. dried basil
Dash dried thyme
Oil for frying

  • Cut the tofu into 1/4-inch thick slices. Wrap the slices in thick paper towels and pat to remove excess moisture.
  • Beat the egg replacer and soy sauce together in a small bowl. Combine the wheat germ, cornmeal, paprika, basil, and thyme on a plate.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet. Dip each slice of tofu into the egg replacer mixture, then coat both sides in the wheat germ mixture. Fry the slices until golden brown on both sides. Serve with tofu tartar sauce (see recipe).

Makes 4 servings

Tasty Tartar Sauce
This tangy sauce enhances any fake fish dish.
1/2 lb. soft or medium-firm tofu
1/4 cup safflower oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon (1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp.)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. prepared mustard
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish

  • Blend together the tofu, oil, lemon juice, salt, and mustard in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the pickle relish and serve.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Veggie Tuna
For a great kids’ lunch, pack this off to school or play.
5 lbs. carrots
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 small red onion, diced
Green or red bell pepper (optional)
Tomato (optional)
1/2 cup eggless mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. kelp powder

  • Juice the carrots in an electric juicer. Save the pulp for veggie tuna and enjoy the juice as an energizing beverage. Combine the celery, onion, and, if desired, finely chopped bell pepper and tomato. Stir in the carrot pulp. Mix in the mayonnaise, soy sauce, salt, and kelp powder. Use as you would canned tuna.

Makes 4 servings

Top Tip: If you can’t find eggless mayo at your local health food store, you can make it at home in seconds flat. Combine 1/2 lb. soft or medium-firm tofu, 1/4 cup safflower oil, 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Tofu Chowder
“Oyster” crackers are terrific with this untraditional clam-free chowder.
2 Tbsp. oil
1 medium onion
2 carrots
3 celery stalks
2 cups water
2 cups soymilk
1/2 lb. tofu, crumbled
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. celery seed
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)

  • Chop the onion, carrots, and celery. Heat the oil in a large cooking pot. Add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté for 15 minutes.
  • Add the water and soymilk and stir. Add the tofu, salt, pepper, and celery seed and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and let the chowder simmer until the potatoes are soft.

Makes 8 servings

Top Tip: Use sea salt instead of regular salt to really bring out the “chowder” flavor.


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