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Tempeh “Fish” Tacos

These “fish” sticks are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Fish tacos are a go-to family favorite in our house, so the fact that these tempeh alternatives satisfy everyone is saying something. The batter below is gluten-free and vegan but we have found that for extra fishy umami you can add a teaspoon of fermented fish sauce. You could also serve these “fish” sticks with fries for a tempeh “fish-and-chips.” The accompanying slaw is quick and easy. Depending on the season, we make it with fresh or dried tomatoes. While the two versions are a little different, both are absolutely tasty. 8 ounces Basic Soybean Tempeh (page 157), make it or buy it or tempeh of your choiceHigh-heat oil for frying, such as coconut or peanut4–6 corn tortillas


  • ½ cup chickpea/garbanzo flour
  • ¼ cup potato starch
  • 2 teaspoons seafood seasoning such as Old Bay
  • 1 teaspoon dulse flakes or kelp powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup seltzer water
  • SLAW
  • 1 green cabbage 1.–2 pounds, finely chopped
  • 1 large fresh tomato or 6–7 sun-dried tomatoes diced
  • ½ red onion finely diced
  • ½ bunch cilantro chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ –1 cup almond-based mayonnaise or regular preferably homemade (pages 308 and 309)
  • Salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • To make the slaw, combine the cabbage, tomato, onion, cilantro, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the mayonnaise, using however much you like in your slaw. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss until evenly coated, then taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Slice the tempeh into strips.
  • To make the batter, combine the flour, potato starch, seafood seasoning, dulse flakes, and baking soda in a bowl and mix well. Add the vinegar and seltzer, and stir until just mixed. The batter will have the consistency of a fluffy pancake batter.
  • Heat about 1 inch of oil in a pan. Dip the tempeh pieces into the batter to coat. Fry the tempeh in the pan, turning once, until crispy and golden, about 3 to 5 minutes per side (see note).
  • While the tempeh is cooking, warm the tortillas in a skillet over medium heat to soften. Stuff the tortillas with the tempeh and slaw and serve hot with all the usual taco fixings.


Note: The pieces may soak up a lot of oil. If the pan dries out, add a little more oil when you turn the tempeh.
Excerpted from Miso, Tempeh, Natto & Other Tasty Ferments by © Kirsten and Christopher Shockey. Photography by © Dina Avila. Used with permission from Storey Publishing.
My Notes: I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but my gut (which is what fermenting is all about) tells me that you can likely air fry these on parchment in an air fryer or with the new Mealthy CrispLid and your electric multicooker. (Check out my recent post about the Mealthy CrispLid to learn more!)