Vegan Spicy Stewed Fish

I’ll warn you up front: this recipe will annoy most of the vegans among you. It’d annoy me a little bit if I came across it in a vegan blog. That’s because it calls for two ingredients most people probably can’t find. It may also annoy the non-vegans among you as well, because I’ve found that many non-vegans are annoyed by things that pretend to be meat. I’m going to post it anyway because I do sometimes find myself in possession of some realistic fake meat that I have no idea what to do with and it turned out really well. In fact, it turned out so well that I might try to replicate it with tofu – making it much more accessible – in the future. If you try it with something easier to find, like tofu, let me know the results!

Vegan Spicy Stewed Fish

8 oz vegan “fish” slices
1 lime
2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1″ piece ginger, grated
1/4 cup vegan “fish” sauce (you can try 2 Tbsp soy sauce + 2 Tbsp water if you can’t find this)
1/4 large red onion, or 2-3 shallots, small dice
1 jalepeno
1/2 tsp coarse red salt
1/2 tsp coriander, ground or crushed
7 oz diced tomatoes (half a can)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

Here’s another frozen vegan “meat” I found in the Vietnamese grocery store after Mark and I went bowling: “codfish slices”. Like the cocktail weiners, they contain absolutely NO BORAX!

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Zest and juice the lime and add the results to a large, shallow dish along with the garlic, ginger, and “fish” sauce. Whisk.

Marinate the “fish” slices in this mixture for anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours, turning occasionally.

Slice the jalepeno …

… and dice the onion or shallots in a small dice.

Chop the cilantro:

Heat a small skillet over medium heat with a little oil. Add the onion and saute a few minutes.

Add the jalepeno and continue sauteing …

… until both are soft.

Smear a thin layer of the tomatoes into a baking dish.

Add the “fish” slices, sprinkle with salt and coriander, and then evenly pour the marinade over the slices.

Add the sauted onions and jalepenos in a layer.

Add the rest of the tomatoes in a layer then sprinkle with the coriander and press the leaves down into the sauce so they don’t burn.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. While the “fish” was baking, I sauteed up some more of those French beans I made the other night, this time tossing with garlic, shallot salt, and half of the rest of the tomatoes.

I also made some couscous, using broth instead of water and stirring in the remaining quarter can of tomatoes as well as some more of the shallot salt, with which I seem to be pretty heavy-handed lately.

Remove “fish” from oven.


This was really good! I asked Mark what he thought and he said, “I pretended it wasn’t fish and found that I really liked it!” (I don’t think that pretending it wasn’t fish required a large stretch of the imagination considering it wasn’t fish.) He also really liked the couscous and he ate more than a half a skillet of the beans, so for someone who claimed he wasn’t hungry, I’d say this meal turned out pretty well.

Here’s the whole meal:

I liked the texture of the “fish”, which I think will be hard to replicate without commercial products, but I do think tofu would adapt easily to this combination of flavors, so I think I’ll definitely try it again with tofu. Oooh, and I just realized that jackfruit would work really well here too! I think I’ll try that next now that I think of it!


  1. Josiane Said,

    May 29, 2009 @ 11:40 pm

    You’ve got a great mix of flavors in there! I’m pretty sure it’d be great with more than the “fish”.

  2. kibbles Said,

    May 30, 2009 @ 9:17 am

    I’m so bummed. I was just at an asian market but I couldn’t find any fake meat products! It was crowded so I couldn’t search as thoroughly as I wanted but aah, I know they have hidden fake meat. Oh well. I scored a bunch of other amazing things from there and all for less than 30 bucks (not including the extremely expensive rice).
    Those fish steaks look real! Scary.

  3. Courtney Said,

    May 30, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

    I hope you do try it with jackfruit and post your recipe and results! I have a can of it sitting in my cupboard for some reason…I must have seen a recipe on-line for it somewhere, and then once I finally found the jackfruit, I couldn’t find the recipe!


  4. Amy Said,

    May 30, 2009 @ 11:09 pm

    Yum. Those codfish pieces are pretty easy to find in Australia. (that, and I found a ‘fish sauce’ recipe in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman)…

  5. mariajose Said,

    June 1, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

    I never looked for borax free before. I assumed that since it’s band in the US it wouldn’t be a problem. Do you find many things with borax in them?

  6. renae Said,

    June 1, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

    Courtney, I have a weird collection of random foods in my cupboards for the exact same reason!

    Amy, I’m adding that to my ever-growing list of reasons to move to Australia 🙂

    Mariajose, I was just joking about looking for borax-free foods. Since it is unheard of to put it in food here and Americans mostly consider it a cleaning agent, it seems funny to see foods advertised as “borax free”. It’s like finding a food labeled “No rat poison!”

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