This recipe for homemade crispy Vegan Fish Nuggets is fish-free and plant-based, but by adding seaweed, it reminds you of the fresh and salty taste of real fish. Serve the tofu fish sticks with a rich and tangy dill dip as a scrumptious snack, appetizer or finger food at your party.
Simple and Easy Vegan Fish Nuggets
These mock-fish nuggets are super easy to make using simple to get ingredients. They are made of nori-seasoned tofu coated in beer batter then deep-fried until perfectly golden and crisp. Using nori provides that umami and briny taste that perfectly mimics the sea flavor of classic fish nuggets. For an even better flavor I also added a little maple syrup and lemon juice to the marinade. Coated in an airy and crunchy coating, it will satisfy your craving for seafood whether you are vegan or not. Serve as they are paired with the creamy dill dip or turn them into a tasty vegan fish burger or serve with fries if you love fish and chips!
Making the Beer Batter
If this is the first time that you heard about using beer in your batter, then you are in for a great surprise! Adding beer to the batter for frying makes the vegan fish nuggets super light and crispy. Beer-infused batter cooks faster and absorbs most of the heat from the oil because of the carbon dioxide content. This allows the tofu to be cooked properly inside the coating without burning or getting dry. Most of the alcohol content and taste burn off during the cooking process, so it should be safe for everyone to eat.
Can I make the batter without using beer?
Yes, you can. The element that makes beers really good for the batter is their carbon content. So if you want to make this alcohol-free you can use sparkling water instead.
Ingredients Used and Possible Alternatives
- Tofu: I used natural firm tofu. You can also use extra-firm if you have it on hand.
- Nori: You can also use kelp or dulse granules as alternatives.
- Lemon juice: Or any citric juice. This adds a sharp tangy tone and allows the flavors to penetrate the tofu.
- Maple syrup: adds a natural sweetness and tones down the saltiness. Alternatively, you can use agave syrup, or other syrup, sugar, or sugar substitute too.
- Canola oil: Sunflower oil works too.
- All-purpose or spelt flour: to make these vegan fish nuggets gluten-free, you can also use a gluten-free 1 to 1 flour blend.
- Turmeric: adds color and a subtle flavor to the batter.
- Beer: the batter will not rise during frying without this. As mentioned earlier, a good alternative if you don’t want to use beer is sparkling water or any carbonated drink.
- Salt and Pepper
- Unsweetened Soy Yogurt: Or use another dairy-free yogurt.
- Vegan Mayonnaise: If you want a low-fat alternative, simply add more dairy-free yogurt to the dip. However, this will change the taste and consistency.
- Dill: you can use either fresh or dried dill for this recipe.
- Lemon juice
How to make Vegan Fish Nuggets
As always, I recommend checking out this step-by-step instruction first. Then you can find the full recipe with the exact measurements in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Press tofu and cut into nuggets
Wrap the tofu in paper towels and press out any excess liquid (as shown in the video). Then cut the pressed tofu horizontally into 3 slices and cut each slice into 4 nuggets.
Step 2: Marinate the tofu nuggets
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the marinade. Add the tofu pieces, mix everything well and let it marinate for at least 2 hours (or overnight in the fridge).
Step 3: Make the beer batter and fry til crisp
Then combine all the ingredients for the beer batter in a bowl. Pour the frying oil into a large frying pan or shallow pot so that it is at least 1 cm high and heat. When you dip a wooden skewer into it and bubbles form around it, the oil is hot enough. Dip the tofu pieces into the beer batter with tongs and then add them to the hot oil. Fry for about 2 minutes per side until the nuggets are golden brown and crispy. Then remove and place on paper towels to drain and mix together all the ingredients for the dip.
Tips when Making Vegan Fish Nuggets
- Make sure to press the tofu properly to get rid of excess liquid. Properly pressed tofu absorbs more marinade and the beer batter will stick to it better.
- Leftover tofu can be used for a Vegan Stir-fry or Vegan Bolognese. However, you can also cut out triangles or sticks so that nothing is left over.
- Use oil with a high smoke point like avocado oil, canola oil, grape seed oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil for best results.
- The oil has to be hot enough or else it will be absorbed by the batter and it will turn soggy. Test by dipping a wooden skewer or chopstick into the oil. If it steadily bubbles and sizzles around it, the oil is hot enough.
- Do not over-crowd your pan. Placing too many nuggets all at once will affect the temperature of the cooking oil and the nuggets won’t get crunchy.
- Place the fried nuggets in a cooling wire rack or on paper towels so excess oil will be removed.
Can I Bake them instead?
Yes. If you don’t want to deep fry the nuggets, you could also make a classic breading with cornflakes, breadcrumbs, or panko flour and bake them in the oven or air fryer as I did with my Tofu Nuggets.
Storing Homemade Vegan Fish Nuggets
I highly recommend eating them once they cooled down a bit after frying. This is when you will really enjoy the flavors and texture of the tofu fish nuggets. For any leftovers, you can refrigerate for a couple of days and reheat in the oven. It won’t have the same level of crunchiness but it should still taste good.
This Vegan Tofu Fish Nuggets recipe is
- Deliciously umami and briny
- Super light and crunchy
- Gluten-free possible
- Alcohol-free possible
- Perfect for snacking
- Delicious with any dips
- Easy to make
More vegan finger food to try:
- Crispy Baked Tofu Nuggets
- Vegan Samosa
- Sweet Potato Falafel
- Vegan Summer Rolls
- Turkish Borek
- Barbeque Cauliflower Wings
- Crispy Polenta Fries
- Veggie Wraps With Hummus
If you try these crispy vegan tofu fish nuggets, feel free to leave a comment on how you like the recipe. And if you take a photo of your tofu snack and share it on Instagram, please make sure to tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka so I won’t miss your post! Happy cooking! 🙂
Vegan Fish Nuggets with Dill DipAuthor:
- vegetable oil e. g. canola or sunflower oil
*Note: Watch the recipe video and check out the step-by-step photos in the blog post above!
- Wrap the tofu in paper towels and press out any excess liquid (as shown in the video).
- In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the marinade. Add the tofu pieces, mix everything well and let it marinate for at least 2 hours (or overnight in the fridge).
- Then combine all the ingredients for the beer batter in a bowl.
- Pour the frying oil into a large frying pan or shallow pot so that it is at least 1 cm high and heat. When you dip a wooden skewer into it and bubbles form around it, the oil is hot enough.
- Dip the tofu pieces into the beer batter with tongs and then add them to the hot oil. Fry for about 2 minutes per side until the nuggets are golden brown and crispy. Then remove and place on paper towels to drain.
- Mix all the ingredients for the dip in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the dip with the nuggets and enjoy!
- Flour: Instead of all-purpose or spelt flour, you can also use a gluten-free 1 to 1 flour blend.
- Maple syrup: you can use any other syrup, sugar or sugar substitute too.
- Soy yogurt: or use another dairy-free yogurt.
- Mayo: If you want a low-fat alternative, simply add more dairy-free yogurt to the dip. However, this will change the taste and consistency.
- Beer: Without the beer, the batter will not rise during frying. Alternatively, if you don't want to use beer, you can try sparkling water instead.
- Frying: If you don't want to deep fry the nuggets, you could also make a classic breading with cornflakes, breadcrumbs or panko flour and bake them in the oven or air fryer as I did with my tofu nuggets.
- Read the blog post above for more information on the recipe!
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