A banana blossom fish recipe for the crunchiest vegan fish and chips in town. The brined and beer battered banana blossom is close close to the texture of real fish its uncanny. This recipe is salty, oily and totally delicious… praise be banana blossom!
Fish and chips might be perhaps my favourite British dish. As a child I used to love unwrapping newspaper parcels to find greasy treats inside. Copious amounts of salt and vinegar was always a must. Tartare sauce I always found a bit bizare, but was fully behind mushy peas.
Having searched high and low for a plant-based replacement for flaky cod, I can truthfully say that banana blossom is the one. Banana blossom is exactly what it sounds like – blossom from a banana tree. This edible flower has long been eaten in south-east asian cuisine, but it’s now beginning to creep into western cooking. The flower has a dense and flaky texture, not too unlike that of fish!
Beer battered banana blossom is as close as I’ve come to tasting the original fish and chips. Who would have thought marinating and frying a flower would result in one of the best vegan fish and chips around! Here’s the kicker – it’s so easy to make and super cheap. What’s not to like!
How to make banana blossom fish
Making vegan fish and chips with banana blossom is incredibly easy, but there’s a few tips and tricks to help you make the best banana blossom fish around.
Making the crispiest vegan fish and chips has two key parts – the marinade and the batter. Banana blossom has a wonderful flaky texture that is very similar to fish, but on it’s own it’s rather bland. That’s where the marinade comes in. Soaking the banana blossom in spices will impart a fragrant taste to it. The key ingredient – nori/seaweed sheets.
The nori imparts an amazing taste of the sea to the banana blossom. So after marinating the banana blossom in the seaweed spice mixture for an hour it tastes very close to real fish.
The second important part to crispy vegan fish and chips is of course the batter. For a traditional fish and chips it needs to be a beer batter – no other batter comes close to giving that wonderfully crisp and tasty batter. The beer batter is made by whisking Ale into plain flour with a dash of baking powder. Baking powder helps keep the batter light and airy when frying.
Making an excellent beer batter heavily relies on the quality and freshness of the beer you use. In my book you must use Ale, as this gives more flavour to the batter. The ale must be cold, a warm ale in the batter will make the batter flat and won’t crisp up as nicely when fried in the oil.
It’s important to select the right Ale for the batter for taste but also to make sure it’s cruelty free. Lots of ale/beers use fish guts as part of the clarifying process in finishing the alcohol. So be sure to get a top quality vegan ale to use in the batter. See my list of suggestions in the FAQ section.
Variants of battered banana blossom
Banana blossom fish works great for fish and chips, but you can use these beer battered delights in a multitude of dishes. Here’s a few suggestions to get you started:
- Banana blossom fish tacos – use the battered banana blossom and serve in a corn tortilla with picked red onion, lime salsa and a spicy hot sauce
- Banana blossom fish finger sandwiches – cut the banana blossom into finger sized pieces, batter and fry as per the recipe. Then serve in between warm granary bread with freshly made vegan tartare sauce and crispy lettuce.
- Banana blossom fillet o fish – recreate the classic mcdonalds burger. Smash the banana blossom into flat pieces and shape into patties in your hand. Batter and fry as per the recipe. Serve in between a burger bun with freshly sliced pickles, vegan mayo and crispy lettuce.
The possibilities are endless!
Banana blossom fish FAQs
I’m not about this banana blossom, can I make vegan fish and chips with something else?
All my crazy talk about the wonders of banana blossom hasn’t swung you? Don’t worry, you can use firm tofu instead if you want a blossom free vegan fish and chips. Use about 800g of firm tofu which you’ve pressed all the water out of. Slice into thick 150g slices and marinate, batter and fry as per the recipe. The texture won’t be as good but it’ll still taste delicious.
Where to buy banana blossom?
Now you’re talking! Banana blossom is available in lots of asian specialty stores. I recommend searching “asian supermarket” in google to find your closest local provider. It’s always better to support local than buying online. If you’re struggling to find a specialty store near you – the large supermarket chains often have it in the canned section of the foreign foods aisle. Failing all of the above you can purchase from amazon, there are many providers offering it. (I won’t put the link here in case people think I’m taking a kickback!)
Is beer batter vegan?
Beer batter is vegan if you use the correct alcohol. Beer batter is dairy and egg free so good news! The bad news is that many beers/ales use fish guts as part of the brewing process. This means they aren’t vegan. Don’t worry, there are many amazing and delicious vegan ales. Here’s a list of my favourite (in no particular order)
I want more like this?
I have plenty of delicious fried goodies on the site to help you satisfy that oil and salt craving. Here’s a list of few of my favourite:
- Kentucky Fried Cauliflower
- Onion Bhajis
- Spicy Courgette Fritters
- Traditional Falafel
- Sweet And Sour Cauliflower
This meal is around 90% less polluting than the average UK meal.
- Eating this recipe will save around 2.64 KG CO2e per person.
- That’s equivalent to the emissions produced driving 21.79 KM in a modern car.
- 450 g Banana Blossom (around 2 tins worth, drained)
- 8 g Nori (about 2 large nori sheets)
- 1 Teaspoon Paprika
- 1 Teaspoon Celery Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Mustard Powder
- Sunflower Oil for frying (about 500ml – 1 litre depending on the size of your pan)
- 230 g Plain Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 300 ml Ale (chilled)
- Take the 8g of nori sheets and break into rough pieces. Add the seaweed to a small food processor along with the 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon of celery salt and 1/2 a teaspoons of mustard powder. Blitz the seaweed into flakes.
- Place the 450g of drained banana blossom in a large tupperware and sprinkle it with the spiced seaweed flakes. Then pour over enough water to completely cover the banana blossom, seal the tupperware and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Once your banana blossom has finished marinating. Remove from the fridge and drain. Don't worry about removing any stray seaweed from the blossom as this will impart flavour.
- Whilst your banana blossom is marinating in the fridge, make the batter. Mix together the 230g of plain flour and 2 teaspoons of baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Slowly pour in the ale, whisking into flour until you have a smooth and thick batter. Refrigerate the batter until needed.
- Pour your sunflower oil into a heavy saucepan until it is deep enough to entirely cover a piece of your banana blossom. Heat the pan over a medium high heat until it is hot enough to fry in. If you own a candy thermometer the oil should be perfect to fry in at 180˚c. If you don't own a candy thermometer an easy way to test if the oil is hot enough to fry in is to batter a crumb sized piece of banana blossom and toss it into the oil after a few minutes of heating. When the crumb begins to vigorously splutter and brown the oil is hot enough.
- When your oil is hot enough arrange your drained banana blossom and batter on the counter next to the saucepan. Take a banana blossom piece and place into the batter. Cover well with the mixture and then immediately place into the hot oil. Fry for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Then remove and place onto a wire rack and season immediately with salt.
- Repeat this process until all your banana blossom is fried. You can make larger “fish” pieces by taking two banana blossom pieces and squashing together in your hands. Then cover with batter and place into the hot oil. The batter should act like glue and you’ll have a larger batter piece.
- Serve with copious amounts of chunky chips and a good squeeze of lemon.