Monday, March 5, 2012

Fish Sticks (Minus the Fish)

When I was in second grade, my mom went back to college, and suddenly we were eating a lot of fish sticks and french fries--Dad's specialty. I wasn't complaining; I had no problem with deep-fried food as a child.  However, I think I had my fill at the time, as it has been many years since I even thought about fish and chips. But when I saw a recipe for "Fish-y Sticks" in The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions, I just had to try it. After all, eating fish sticks is an essential part of childhood, right?  I don't want my kids to feel jipped.  I had to change the original recipe around so much because of all the allergens in it (TVP, cashews, flax seed) that I think it's safe to say that what I made was a new recipe all together. The original recipe called for battering the fish-y sticks in full-fat coconut milk and then deep frying them, which just sounded disgustingly greasy to me.  So instead I baked them and subbed a mixture of ketchup and hemp milk for making the crispy coating stick, as my son likes the taste of ketchup when I don't tell him it's there, but refuses it when seen. I know, a bit odd, but we work with what we've got.
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
1 cup cooked chickpeas
2/3 cup pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, sesame, or chia seeds (I like to use 2-3 different ones for variety.)
1/4 cup oat bran
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup chia seed meal
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2-3 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
1/4 cup nori flakes (You could just grind up those popular nori strip snacks.)
1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. Old bay Seasoning
1/2-1 tsp salt, to taste

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Cooking spray or additional olive oil for coating

1. Bring broth or water to a boil in a medium pot, add quinoa, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 13-15 minutes, until the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid.
2. While the quinoa cooks, toast the seeds in small pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and looking a bit toasty.
3. In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas so that they are in chunky little bits.
4. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cooked quinoa, the toasted seeds, the ground chickpeas, along with the oat bran, wheat gluten, chia seed meal, olive oil, 2 Tbsp. non-dairy milk, nori flakes, onion powder, Old Bay Seasoning, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Add the additional tablespoon of milk if the mixture is not holding together well when pressed together in your hand. Taste and add additional salt if desired. The ketchup will add a bit of salt, too, so keep that in mind.
5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
5. In a shallow cereal bowl, mix the ketchup with the remaining 1/2 cup non-dairy milk. In a separate shallow cereal bowl, add the panko bread crumbs. You can form the mixture into sticks, or you can make nuggets like I did. (Actually, I used truck and snowman cookie cutters to form the shapes, but they ended up just looking like nuggets after they were breaded.)  Take each fish-less stick/nugget and coat it in the ketchup mixture and then roll it in the panko bread crumbs to coat.  Place them on the prepared baking tray, and either spray them with cooking spray or brush them with olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes, until crispy.  Serve them with your favorite fries!   

 Do you love pink? Abiline sure does. Look at those pink dancin' legs!

1 comment:

  1. I just found your site and these look wonderful. I am going to make these tonight!! Thank you