Here’s a recipe for a classic taco that everyone’s basically always craving… fish tacos! But instead of fish, these use tempeh as a protein. When you cut it properly, it does a surprisingly good job at maintaining the right shape to mimic the fish you’d eat in fish tacos!
This was part of my RECIPE?! series! That means the first time around of making these bad boys wasn’t necessarily perfect. But people always ask for the recipes made in the hot for food kitchen, so that’s why I’m sharing it with you! Looking for something similar and completely perfected? Check out the filet-o-tempeh sandwich in the debut hot for food cookbook!
tempeh fish tacos
These beer battered tempeh fish tacos are to die for, and better than the real thing! Crispy on the outside, moist and savory on the inside. Get taco’ing!
- 1 package tempeh (thawed, if frozen)
- 1/3 C white wine vinegar
- 2/3 C water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 C + 1/2 C all-purpose flour
- 1/4 C + 1/8 C corn starch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 3/4 tsp ground white pepper (or ground black pepper)
- 1 1/2 C very cold club soda (or beer of your choice)
- 3 C vegetable oil, for frying
jalapeño tartar sauce
- 1 C vegan mayonnaise
- 8-10 pickled jalapeños, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp brine from jalapeños
- 1 C finely chopped kale
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 1/2 C finely chopped yellow pepper
- 1/2 C finely chopped tomato
- 1 finely chopped green onion
- ground black pepper, to taste
Slice the tempeh into 1 1/2 inch sticks, then cut those pieces in half so you have more of a nugget.
In a dish, combine white wine vinegar, water, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of old bay seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper together. Submerge the tempeh in this mixture and let it sit in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the kale slaw and jalapeño tartar sauce before you get deep frying so you can eat the tempeh "fish" while it's hot.
Massage lime juice into finely chopped kale and combine with remaining ingredients in a bowl. For the tartar sauce, stir together vegan mayonnaise, pickled jalapeños, and brine and refrigerate the sauce until ready to serve.
In a deep pot, heat your oil to 375°F and prepare your flour dredge and the batter.
In one bowl, combine 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/8 cup corn starch, 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper together. This is the first dredge for the tempeh sticks.
In another bowl, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup corn starch, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon each of paprika and old bay seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and 1/4 teaspoon each of sea salt and white pepper. You will add the club soda or beer to this mixture right before frying, so make sure your oil is at the right temperature before you mix this together.
Take a couple pieces of tempeh from the vinegar marinade and dredge through the flour/corn starch mixture until well coated. Then dunk into the batter and get it well coated.
Gently place these pieces into the hot frying oil and let fry for 3 to 4 minutes until the batter is a deep golden brown colour. Use a slotted spoon to remove the tempeh pieces onto paper towel and continue frying 2 to 3 pieces at a time until they're all battered and cooked. Don't over crowd the fryer as the pieces will stick together. To prevent sticking, watch them as they first go into the fryer and keep them apart with the slotted spoon or a fork while frying.
Assemble tacos on tortillas of your choice and serve immediately. The tempeh fish sticks are even good on their own with the tartar sauce and slaw, too!