Think your fish 'n' chips days are over as a vegan? Well, fret not, my friend! Now you have these Beer-Battered Tofu 'Fish' Goujons with Vegan Tartare Sauce! While I can't say they taste exactly like fish, they are very scrumptious and yummy in their own right.
And to be honest, it was always the crispy batter that I loved the most whenever we got a chippy in. And this batter is a perfect match for that fresh-cooked, chip shop taste, while the tofu inside does a good job of mimicking white fish, without hurting anyone!
I have become slightly addicted to these, without a doubt, though I'm sure my waistline won't love me for it. I never seem to be able to be that mindful when I eat this dish, especially since I have started to make my own, tangy, vegan tatare sauce. So I do go overboard and forget all about eating intuitively. Still, once in while won't hurt and food is about enjoyment.
Get a good beer for making the batter - especially since you won't use a full bottle and you'll want to drink what's leftover :) You can check whether the beer is vegan on Barnivore.com, although slightly better for UK readers is VeggieWines.co.uk. I used Hoegaarden in this particular recipe, which is a white beer, although I have tried other beers as well.
As for the tofu that will be inside the goujons, on this time of making I let it drain a while and then marinaded it in malt vinegar with some kelp soaking inside it. I have made this before without marinading the tofu, and that was tasty as well. At this moment, the jury is out for me which one I prefer. With the vinegar/kelp soak, or without. But I wanted to experiment and aim for a more fishy flavour which I was hoping the kelp would provide. I'm not sure - probably because I didn't have kelp powder, just pieces.
My friend who enjoyed this yummy meal with me on this occasion though doesn't like vinegar, but she loved the goujons, and the last time I made it (without the vinegar), my boyfriend was almost twisting out of his seat he loved it that much (although he *is* quite demonstrative) - so it's up to you which version you'd like to try!
As well - if you wanted the tofu to be drier and less crumbly, you could try pressing it first. I haven't done this myself yet but am going to try the next time I make this dish.
The vegan tartare sauce (I think it's called 'tartar sauce' in America!) was very simple to make, and just involved putting a few ingredients into a blender. I found a standard non-vegan recipe and adpated and veganised it. And it turned out well! The sauce though is definitely best eaten fresh, or within a day, so don't make too much if you don't think you can use it all.
The quantities here would really serve four people with 2 goujons each, especially with the fries ('chips' to the Brits!) and a side dish (we had roasted asparagus, but good old mushy peas would, of course, work very well). We did actually polish off 4 goujons each, very greedily, though we were stuffed to bursting - especially since we had Lemon Rosewater Cupcakes for dessert :)
To make up this recipe - if you are going to soak the tofu in vinegar, do that in the morning. Cut the tofu into 8 strips and then put them into the marinading container. Pour over the vinegar, mixed with some kelp powder (preferably). When I was experimenting, I actually only had dried kelp pieces so soaked those in the vinegar! I'm not sure how successful they were!
When it actually comes to preparing the meal over all, you will need to get your fries baking and have them ready, before you go on to making the tofu goujons. They are really simple to make, and you can just leave them to stay warm in the oven once they are ready, as the goujons won't take a long time to make.
Also - make up the tartare sauce before making the goujons too. You can make the sauce once the fries are in the oven, as it is simply a case of putting all the ingredients into the blender, and then leave it in the fridge until ready to serve.
Oven-Fries In Their Skins
1 medium-large potato per person, cut into chips with skin left on
½ - 1 tablespoon olive oil per potato
1.Preheat the oven to 200 °C / 400 °F. Put the chipped potatoes in a large pan of salted water and bring to the boil.
2. Put the oil in a large roasting pan and place in the oven for a few minutes to let the oil heat up.
3. After the potatoes have boiled for about 5-6 minutes, drain then sprinkle with sea salt.
4. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and while the oil is still hot, tip the potatoes into the pan and stir around to coat thoroughly with the oil. Place the pan back in the oven.
5. Bake the fries for about 30-40 minutes, until nicely browned and soft in the middle.
Vegan Tartare Sauce
Makes about 1 cup
3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (commercial or home-made)
3 tablespoons plain soya yogurt
3 pickled gherkins
1½ tablespoons fresh chives
1½ tablespoons spring onion
1 tablespoon capers
½ tablespoon French mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Fresh black pepper (to taste)
1. First place all the 'hard' ingredients (gherkins, capers, chives etc) into the blender and blend until chopped, then add the rest of the ingredients, and blend some more! The sauce should have some 'bits' in it left.
2. Taste test before removing from the blender to decide if you would like salt/pepper or more mustard or lemon juice added.
Beer battered 'fish' goujons
9 oz / 255g organic extra firm tofu
1 cup / 125g flour
1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Some additional cornflour (2-3 tablespoons) to coat the tofu
Sunflower oil for frying (around 400ml)
(You may try marinading the tofu – cut into the goujon shapes - for several hours first in malt vinegar with some kelp powder mixed in. I will have to leave testing the quantities up to you, but suggest around ½-1 tablespoon of kelp powder in enough vinegar to cover the tofu in the container).
1. Whether previously marinaded or not, drain the tofu as much as possible and then if not cut, make 8 goujon pieces from it by cutting the block into half, then quartering each half so you have 8 sticks.
2. Set the tofu aside and make the batter. Sift the flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt together in a mixing bowl. Then slowly add the beer while whisking the batter.
3. In a pan suitable for deep-frying , heat the oil (you may have it heating while making the batter) until hot enough that a spoon of batter sizzles when dropped in.
4. Have a plate ready with some cornflour sprinkled on it. Coat each piece of tofu in cornflour, then dip into the batter and fully coat it. Drop the tofu piece into the hot oil and allow to fry on each side for a few minutes, turning around a couple of times while frying. Cook the tofu in a couple of batches, rather than trying to fry all at once.
5. The batter will be golden brown when ready. Use a slatted spoon to remove the tofu pieces and place the tofu on kitchen paper to drain off the oil.
6. Serve the tofu goujons hot, with oven-baked fries and vegan tartare sauce. Oh, and some beer. Mmmm!!!!