Battered ‘Fish’ Recipe (ToFish) | Vegan, Crispy + Easy

Nobody will believe that this crispy, flaky battered fish recipe is 100% plant-based! This post will show you how to fry battered fish (ToFish) with tofu, miso, and umami-rich nori seaweed.

Bowl filled with battered 'fish' tofish, lemon wedges and dill

Growing up in Australia, battered fish and chips were one of my all-time favorite treats. We’d eat it every weekend on the beach, and since switching to a plant-based diet, it’s one of the things I’ve missed the most. You can imagine my excitement when I discovered I could recreate this classic dish using tofu! 

The secret to getting that authentic umami flavor is a combination of miso paste and nori. They give the tofu a full-bodied, savory flavor, and when topped off with a little lemon or tartar sauce, create the perfect cruelty-free replica. 

Ingredients for Vegan Battered Fish 

Extra Firm Tofu: You will need to press the tofu for at least 15 minutes to remove the excess water. Not only will this give you the right texture, but will also allow the tofu to absorb the flavors of the marinade. Once the tofu has been thoroughly pressed, you will be creating thin incisions ¾ of the way into the block, to give it a flaky texture. 

Nori/Dried Seaweed: Nori is often used in sheet-form to roll sushi, but for this recipe, you will blitz it in a food processor. This Japanese staple has a deep umami flavor and will give your ToFish a hint of the sea. 

White Miso Paste: Miso paste is super salty, and is one of the best plant-based ingredients for adding umami to a dish. If you don’t have miso paste then feel free to use sea salt in its place. 

Lemon Juice: Fish tastes great with a squeeze of lemon, so I have added a dash to our ToFish marinade. 

Batter: Crispy, light, and just a little indulgent, our battered fish recipe can’t be made without this delicious batter! This recipe uses flour, water, lemon juice, and baking powder/soda, and is super simple to whip up. I use all-purpose flour but I’ve also made this batter using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free flour and the results were just as yummy. 

Oil for deep frying: Vegetable oil and canola oil are perfect for frying vegan ‘ToFish.

How to Fry Battered Fish

  1. Prepare the ToFish: Press the tofu for at least 15 minutes to remove the excess water. Divide the block into 8 slices, then make multiple incisions into each piece. Your incisions should go around ¾ of the way through the tofu, stopping before you reach the edge so that your slices stay in one piece. This will create the flaky texture we’re looking for. Place the sliced tofu into a casserole dish
  2. Make the marinade: This battered fish recipe gets its flavor from a tasty umami marinade. Add lemon juice and miso paste to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture over the tofu, then sprinkle with nori flakes. Allow them to soak for at least 15 minutes. 
  3. Heat the oil: Pour the oil into a medium-size pot, and heat until it reaches a boil. Be very careful here, as hot oil has a tendency to splatter. 
  4. Prepare the batter: Whisk together the flour, water, lemon juice, and baking powder/soda until they’re completely combined and free from lumps. 
  5. Batter the ToFish: Carefully place pieces of marinated tofu into the batter, using a spoon to coat all sides. Make sure you do this step directly before you place it into the frying pan. 

Tip: Test the heat of your oil by dropping a small amount of batter into the pan.
If it bubbles and quickly turns golden then you know it’s ready! 

  1. Fry the ToFish: Carefully place the pieces of battered tofu into the pan of hot oil and cook until it turns nice and golden. This should take around 2-3 minutes. When it’s done, transfer the pieces of ToFish to a plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle with a little sea salt

Tip: Cook this battered ‘fish’ recipe in small batches to avoid overcrowding the pot. 

Recipe Swaps

You can turn this battered fish recipe into a beer-battered fish recipe by swapping the water for a light lager-style beer. A non-alcoholic beer would also work well!

ToFish Serving Ideas

Serve your crispy battered ‘fish’ immediately, while it’s still hot and crispy. For a traditional fish and chips flavor, add a sprinkle of salt and a generous squeeze of lemon juice, then serve with thick-cut fries. Tartar sauce also tastes great with this. 

Another great option is to create vegan ‘fish’ tacos. This is a favorite among the Californians here in San Diego! Fill a corn tortilla with battered ‘fish’, coleslaw, ad avocado. You could also cut the tofu into small pieces make ‘fish’ sticks or ‘fish’ bites.

Can I Make Battered Fish Ahead of Time?

This battered fish recipe is best made at the time of eating as the batter will lose its crispiness with time. If necessary you can prepare the tofu and place it into the marinade for up to 24 hours.

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Battered tofish with lemon wedges

Battered ‘Fish’ Recipe (ToFish) | Vegan, Crispy + Easy


  • Author: Rachel Steenland | The Plant Riot
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes + pressing tofu
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes + pressing tofu
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

This plant-based battered ‘fish’ recipe will show you how to fry deliciously crispy battered ‘fish’ from tofu, miso, and nori seaweed!


Ingredients

Scale

ToFish (battered ‘fish’)

  • 1 16oz (455grams) extra firm tofu, drained and pressed for at least 15 minutes
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (juice of one large lemon)
  • 1/2 nori sheet, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon white miso paste

Batter

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour or 1:1 gluten-free flour
  • 1 cup water (or light lager style beer)
  • 12 tablespoons lemon juice (approx. juice of half a lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

To fry

  • Oil for frying

To serve

  • Sprinkle of sea salt
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Tartar sauce

Instructions

  1. Prepare the ToFish: Cut pressed tofu into 8 slices, then make multiple slices 3/4 of the way through to create a flaky texture (see photo above). Place into a casserole dish (or similar), so each piece of tofu covers the base of the dish.
  2. Into a small bowl, add lemon juice and miso paste, then whisk well to combine. Pour liquid over the tofu pieces, and then sprinkle with nori flakes. Cover and set aside on the counter for 15 minutes.

  3. Heat the oil: Pour oil into a medium size pot and bring to a boil. Be careful as hot oil can splatter.

  4. Prepare the batter: Place ingredients into a medium size bowl, whisk together to form a batter.

  5. Batter the ToFish: Carefully place pieces of marinated tofu into the batter, using a spoon to coat all sides. Batter tofu pieces in batches immediately before frying.

  6. Fry the ToFish: Drop a small amount of batter into the pot of hot oil. If the batter bubbles and turns gold brown quickly you will know that the oil is hot enough and ready for frying your battered tofish!

  7. Carefully place pieces of battered tofu into the hot oil and cook until golden brown on all sides, around 2-3 minutes. Once cooked, carefully transfer to a plate lined with paper towel, and then sprinkle with a little sea salt. Cook tofish in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot.

  • Serve immediately while hot and crispy with a generous squeeze of lemon. Enjoy!

Keywords: battered fish recipe, tofish

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