Okara, a byproduct of soy milk (and hence tofu) production, is a nutritious ingredient that works well in mock fish and meat recipes. Thus if you have ever wondered how to make vegan fish then this is a good place to start.
This recipe produces a very neutrally flavoured vegan fish that is suitable in recipes with strong surrounding flavour elements. Think curries, bold citrus flavours, and oily fried dishes.
Homemade Vegan Fish with Okara
When I reference wet okara, I mean okara that has been squeezed by hand in muslin to extract as much soy milk as possible. Because the ratio of liquid to soy waste will vary in this process, I highly recommend weighing your okara and all other ingredients when making this recipe. You can halve the ingredients for a smaller portion.
- 675 grams (3 ¼ cups) wet okara
- 105 grams (¾ cup) vital wheat gluten
- 50 grams (½ cup) soy flour
- 40 grams (⅓ cup) tapioca starch
- 35 grams (⅓ cup) rice flour
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon MSG
- Nori sheets
- Place a plate in a large steamer and heat it to medium-high. Depending on how many rolls of fish you have, you may want an extra tier.
- Mix all of the ingredients except the nori together in a large bowl. Massage with your hands or a wooden spoon until a thick but pliable dough forms.
- To make a large fish piece, overlap two pieces of nori by about ⅓ sheet. Take two cups of the dough and form it into a roll that extends to the edges of the nori when placed across the shortest length of the seaweed. Dampen the nori and roll the mass up into a tube.
- To make smaller sushi sized fish pieces, places ⅓ cup edge to edge on a piece of nori. Dampen the edges and roll.
- To make a medium sized fish piece, place 1 cup on a sheet of nori and press to close to the edges. Dampen nori and roll.
- Place the faux fish pieces onto the plate in the steamer and steam for 45 minutes. Leave the fish to cool, ideally overnight and in the fridge, before using.
- Author: Kip Dorrell
- Makes: 2-3 large pieces vegan fish
- Cuisine: Japanese
I'm so excited to see this!! Thanks for inventing and posting it. I do make my own soy milk and have SO MUCH Okara. I've tried okara bread, biscuits, cookies....but need more recipies using it. Could this be used for a London Fish and Chips style recipie?? Just wondering.
Hi Greg! I know what you mean about having excess okara. I wish people demanded it more so friends would take some off my hands. I've not tried battering and frying it yet, so I'm not sure if it would work for fish and chips but there's only one way to find out...
Govinda Charam de Moraes Silva
Oh my gosh...thank u! I made it....its amazing......
Glad you liked it!
May I know what is vital wheat gluten..? Any substitute .? Where to buy.?
It is the protein from wheat flour, separated from the starches. You can buy it online at various outlets or in Holland and Barrett for a high street option.
Is there a way to make this gluten free?
Quite probably, but I haven't experimented with gluten free options. Please do let me know if you find a suitable alternative to gluten flour that works.
Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe. I've made a gluten-free vegetarian version and it tasted great! I've substituted the vital wheat gluten. And have used all purpose gluten-free flour to replace the soy, tapioca and rice flour. I've also used monk fruit sweetener instead of sugar, and dashi sauce instead of MSG. I've read that we could substitute with guar gum or xanthan gum for a vegan gluten-free version too.
Watch your Dashi ingredients! The simplest dashi is vegan, made from cold-brewing kombu, while stronger versions are created by squeezing the flavor out of bonito flakes (katsuobushi), dried sardines, dried shiitake mushrooms, dried shrimp, dried scallops, adzuki beans, and/or toasted soybeans making it non-vegan, & non-vegetarian.
I just tried making this but used chickpea flour instead of soy flour and it turned out well in terms of the texture! It reminded me of the store bought Asian vegan fish you can buy. I know you meant to make it bland, but I didn't like how it tasted so plain, and wonder if you have suggestions on how to flavour the dough as well to make it taste better and ready to go as is? I did add some kelp powder but otherwise followed your recipe.
Good question. This is a very plain recipe that I designed to be eaten with Thai cooking methods. For instance I often deep fry slices of this fish and then cook it with a very strongly flavoured sauce. For additional flavour in the base product, I would consider ingredients like mushroom granules (like little stock granules from Asian markets), vegan oyster sauce, sesame oil, a combination of garlic/white pepper/coriander root or stem pounded into a paste, and/or soy sauce. I have a Chinese cookbook that also adds wakame to its recipe.
Shiitake stem powder would add a bold flavor that will remain distinct from most sauces or broths you may use. When cooking with dried shiitake mushrooms, I prefer to remove the stems for most recipes. I reserve and grind them into powder in a mortar and pestle to add to vegan proteins like this. A little white pepper is a good addition as well.
If you’re looking for something more forward, try an infused oil. Since Kip was aiming for Thai dishes, chili and lemongrass would be fun to try!
Good point about the shiitake powder. One common seasoning ingredient in Thai and Vietnamese vegan cuisine is mushroom stock powder. I chuck dried shiitakes, stems and all, in my Vitamix and make a powder. It isn't the same as the seasoning granules but, as Nick said, it's a great ingredient.
Amazing! Sooo good! Really reminded me fish (or the cutlet of fish). Also it was so easy to make, no okara wasted (by the way, i added chickpea flour instead of soy as i didnt have one). And you can eat it with almost anything. Five stars! Thank you 😊🙏
Thank you! I feared it would taste too plain for a lot of people (I made it simply so it could be cooked with and take on stronger flavours) so I'm really glad to hear you enjoyed it.
Nice tip on the shiitake powder! 🙂
How can I buy in market for home
Thank you for your interest but this is just a recipe and not a product for sale. There a lot of good vegan fish products on the market, however.
can i leave out MSG
Sure. You could replace it and some of the salt with a stock powder if you'd like.
Nice. I thhought vegan dont eat any fleshy product. Sounds yum tho
🤣😃😃😃dum me of cause Vegan Fish made of veges etc lol forgive m
hahaha no worries!
I don't usually write reviews for recipes online but I think this recipe demands a reward for how dang easy and tasty and convincing it is. I'm still transitioning to vegetarianism but this is by far the most consistent and forgiving recipe for faux "meat" (seitan is impossible). I made a huge batch at 9pm because I was afraid my okara was going to go bad and it was so easy to mix, lightly knead, and then steam. I love it. Thank you for sharing. I'm going to make this a bunch.
oh wow, what words of praise! Thank you for reporting back and I'm so glad you like it. Seitan can be tricky to work with, depending on the recipe (and most importantly, IMO, the understanding the author has of how gluten works) but mixing it with okara or other ingredients (e.g. soy flour, fine TVP, gram flour, and so on) can help to make it more manipulable.
Hello! I am trying to 'veganize' a recipe that calls for a fish fillet to be wrapped in puff pastry and baked. Would this recipe work being baked instead of steamed? Or do you have a suggestion for how I could make that work?
So I would make with the recipe as is, leave it to cool, and then wrap it in the puff pastry to finish... If you do make it, I'd love to know how it turns out.
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