Sometimes being vegan means discovering new exciting dishes – after all, there is an abundance of options that aren’t very well known. But sometimes you are craving an old dish that need re-inventing. Unless you are a in lab making the famous Impossible Burger, meat and fish dishes can be the toughest to re-create with plant-based ingredients.
The most common option is soy, but there are many who are allergic or intolerant to it, and also many who choose to avoid soy because of its health risks: digestive problems, thyroid issues, and even dysfunction of the immune system.
Also, more than 90% of it own in the U.S. is genetically modified! These are all great reasons to avoid cooking with and eating soy.
How can one make a vegan “meat” or “fish” recipe without it? Luckily, there are options. Meat substitutes are a little more well-known: cauliflower instead of chicken, wheat and grain-based burgers, and marinated mushroom “ham” are just a few examples. What many do not know is that there is a fun and delicious substitute for fish available.
This substitute is a popular in Asian food – banana flower or banana hearts. They are full of nutrients: protein, calcium, iron, Vitamin E, potassium, and fiber. Most importantly, they are a superfood. And they make a great vegan battered “fish.”
Health Benefits of Banana Flowers
Banana flowers come from the ends of banana fruit clusters on banana trees. They are completely edible, and classified as a flower, although it is often falsely called a vegetable. They are very popular in Thailand, China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and many other places.
When not using it as a fish substitute, banana flower can be added to soups, salads, stir fries, and even teas. It can be eaten raw or cooked.
The benefits of adding it to dishes are numerous.
Banana flowers may help balance insulin levels, making them a great food for diabetics. The high magnesium content in the flowers helps fight depression. The antioxidants in them provide protection from free radicals, which damage health. The iron content prevents anemia. And finally, they are easy to digest and help with digestive problems.
What Do Banana Flowers Taste Like?
Just as cauliflower “chicken” does not taste like chicken, banana flowers do not quite taste like fish. But do not fret, just like cauliflower “chicken,” banana flowers taste great, and with addition of seaweed in the recipe they may be very fish-like.
But what do they actually taste like?
Banana flowers taste similar to both zucchini and zucchini flowers. Some say it reminds them of artichoke.
While it may take some work to prepare and cook banana flowers – all bracts have to be removed one by one – the taste and health benefits make it all worth it. Why banana flowers when it comes to a fish substitute? When cooked, all the layers of the banana flower fall apart, making it a similar to fish consistency.
Banana Flower Battered “Fish” Recipe
This recipe comes from The Hunger Grains, a brand new page for sharing vegan food recipes.
Because it is cooked in oil (and it’s not alcohol-free), it may not be the healthiest version of this recipe, and I would be personally be curious to see what happens if you bake it instead (if you try it, please leave us a comment about how it turned out).
However, the recipe is vegan, soy-free, and gluten-free.
You will need:
-1 can of banana blossoms (can be purchased online; also try looking in the frozen section of your local Asian food stores).
-1 Tbsp seaweed flakes
-1 Tbsp lemon juice
-½ tsp dill
After draining banana blossoms of the brine, mix the blossoms with seaweed and lemon juice and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
-1 cup of gluten-free beer batter
-1 ½ cups rice flour
-1 tsp celery salt
-1 tsp paprika
-¼ tsp ground black pepper
-1 ½ cups gluten-free beer (you can make your own!)
(For an alcohol-free recipe, you can substitute beer with vegetable stock).
After refrigerating the broth for ten minutes, take out banana blossoms, drain them, roll in rice flower, dip each piece in the batter, and deep-fry them in the oil.
For this, choose the oil that can handle the highest heat. Coconut oil may be the best choice for this, because of its high number of healthy saturated fats, it is very resistant to heat. But unlike many other fatty foods, its fats are not unhealthy, quite the opposite, as many studies have shown. And even the recent worry about coconut oils saturated fats has been largely proven to be unfounded.
Avocado oil is another excellent choice.
Watch the making of this recipe:
Here goes the first #recipe video ? Today its Beer battered #vegan fish, #soyfree and #glutenfree ? The texture of banana flowers are so similar to white fish once cooked, super easy recipe ? Follow for more to come
Posted by The Hunger Grains on Tuesday, June 27, 2017