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twig boy cooks – beer battered tofish and chips with mushy peas.

twig boy cooks – beer battered tofish and chips with mushy peas.

Hello and what a way to start. A classic.

Everyone enjoys a nice bit of beer battered fish and chips with mushy peas, well, everyone except the fish. Fortunately for them and your conscience, there is a way to enjoy this fantastic meal without any guilt, you simply substitute the fish for tofu. Now you might immediately be thinking ‘urgh, that sounds rank’ and frankly, I can’t blame you, I felt the same. However, once I got down to it and gave it a whirl it was pure.

It’s fairly cheap and easy to make and most importantly, incredibly tasty. You should 100% give it a go.
N.B. This dish works a lot easier if you have a deep fat fryer. If not, you can make it in a large saucepan slightly less than half filled with oil. See references in the recipe.
N.B.II. Beer batter is optional. If you don’t like beer simply use all sparkling water.

Ingredients. Serves 2. Prep time – 45 minutes. Cooking time – 1 hour.
For the tofish:
2 tofu blocks – roughly 150g blocks but you can use whatever shapes/sizes you want really.
lemon juice
nori (optional)
For the batter:
125ml of beer (if using)
75ml of sparkling water (or 200 ml is not using beer)
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
For the chips:
2 medium/large potatoes
For the mushy peas:
1 can of marrowfat peas or 1 serving of your pea of choice
white pepper
1 tsp mint sauce


ONE. Cosmic, now we have all the ingredients in place we can make a start, the first thing you’ll want to do is squeeze out the excess moisture from your tofish. That’ll help it to drink up all the delicious marinade you’re going to put it in shortly. To do this you’ll need to wrap each piece in kitchen towel and give it a good press. Now I’m a big fella so I tend to put them in between two chopping boards, push down on it with all my might and then leave it sat in between the boards with a box of wine on top. Be careful here, you don’t want to mash your tofish up. Trust me. At best you’ll end up with tofish goujons, at worst, you’ll end up at the chip shop.

Ah, tasty, bland, colourless tofu. Yummy.

TWO. Once you’re happy that you’ve drained as much moisture out of your tofish as possible it’s time to put it back in. I’d recommend getting a shallow dish large enough to hold all your tofish fillets and liberally seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Make sure you cover both sides, cover and place in the refrigerator to wait patiently.

THREE. While your tofish is relaxing it’s a good time to start your chip prep work. Now, personally, I’m a godless heathen that likes skin on his chips. I am no purist. If, like me, you know the proper way to enjoy a chip just give your spuds a good scrub. If you’re a sensitive soul now is the time to peel them. We’ll wait………. Finished? Super. Now chip size is a matter of opinion, I am British, I like a thick cut chip, you might not. We’re all right (just some more than others). I usually go for a chip that’s about the same size as my finger, I find that a good rule of thumb. Once you’ve cut your chips out, put them in a pan, season with salt, give them a stir, drop a lid on and bring them to the boil. Once they are boiling, drop the heat right down and leave for another 8 – 10 minutes. You want them fairly soft but not falling apart. When you’ve reached that Goldilocks zone of parboiled chip perfection you should drain them and leave them somewhere nice to steam dry for about 20 minutes. Pre-heat your oven to a medium/low temperature (just to keep things warm.

These may not actually be the size/shape of my fingers.

FOUR. If you are using nori, now is your time to shine. Remove the tofish from the fridge and cut out enough sheets of nori to just cover each fillet. This parts a touch fiddly but if me and my huge, chip-sized fingers can manage it I have complete faith that you can. Use a brush to moisten the nori sheets with some of your salt, pepper and lemon juice marinade and carefully wrap your fillets, you can overlap a bit but I wouldn’t go too far personally.

Oh, it’s looking good now.

FIVE. It’s the fun part now, the reason we are all here. It’s time to start frying. There are 2 ways to fry your chips, the posh way, and the sane way. If you want to be posh start off by heating your fryer to 130° (265f). Pat your chips dry with kitchen roll and then fry for about 5 minutes. Remove the chips and increase the fryer temperature up to 180° (355f). Drain any excess fat off of the chips, pat dry and when the fryer reaches optimum chip frying heat, put them back in. cook them for another 10 minutes or so, until golden brown and delicious looking. If you want to cook them the sane way, just cook them at 170° until they look delicious. They work well both ways, it just depends on how much time you have. Once you have cooked your chips to perfection put them into some aluminium foil, season, cover and place into the preheated oven to keep warm.

SIX. Whilst your chips are cooking you can use this time to pamper life’s complexities or you can make your peas and batter. The peas are quite tricky to be honest. You need to open the can/bag and put them into a pan (add water if cooking from frozen). Season to taste, I use salt, white pepper and mint but you might like, erm, spicy peas(?), anyway, put them on a low heat and leave them to it. For the batter you should mix the flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl large enough to hold your tofish fillets. Add the beer and water and whisk really, really well. A lumpy batter is a bad batter. As with the peas, you can customise this batter to suit with any number of seasonings. If you find your batter to runny or to thick you can easily adjust the quantities of wet and dry ingredients.

SEVEN. Time for tofish! Dip your fillets into the batter ensuring you get a good, solid coverage on all sides then carefully put them into the fryer (still at 180° (355f) 2 at a time. Fry them until the batter is golden or looks to your taste (you can’t really undercook tofish so don’t worry about getting ill. It just might tast a bit ‘meh’).

EIGHT. When your tofish is nearly ready remove your chips from the oven and plate them, then take a fork/spoon/masher/your hand and mush your peas up to your desired ‘mushy pea’ consistency. Personally, I like a bit of texture in there. Put them onto the plate next to your chips in an artsy food network kind of way making sure you leave enough space for the tofish.

NINE. Er, add the tofish and eat it. Maybe serve it with tartar sauce if you like? I am currently working on a vegan tartar sauce recipe so check back in a few days and you should be golden. Just like your batter.



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