The surprising vegan substitute you can use for fish

Going vegetarian (and even vegan) can be quite simple these days thanks to the abundance of information and recipes online. However, there are some dishes you might crave that seem quite difficult to find substitute ingredients for. Comfort foods like biscuits and gravy, mac and cheese, or fish and chips are among those that feel hard to replicate without animal products, but that doesn't mean it's impossible — in fact, you can even find vegan mac and cheese at some grocery stores now! There's also one unusual vegan ingredient that's actually a perfect swap for fresh fish which you may have never come across: banana blossoms. 

If you're not familiar with this flaky plant, you might recognize it by another name, banana hearts. It's essentially the bloom that appears and grows at the end of a banana cluster on a banana tree. The purple, tear-shaped food is somewhat like an artichoke, with a fleshy, chunky interior that flakes well like fish. It's a traditional ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine, but it's quickly becoming a stand-out among many vegans who are just now learning about it for themselves (via The Guardian).

This ingredient is easier to find than you might think

Those of you who haven't noticed banana blossoms or hearts in your grocery store might feel like this is another vegan ingredient that will be too difficult to find, but it actually isn't. You can find cans of the food at most Asian grocery stores or buy it on Amazon if you would prefer to have it shipped right to you. If you have the option, choose AROY-D brand banana blossoms, as Elephantastic Vegan says they generally have bigger pieces that are more intact compared to the CHAOKOH brand. Both will work though if you can't find the outlet's prefered brand.

To prepare banana blossoms for vegan "fried fish", just toss them in a flour mixture followed by a dip in batter. Next, fry the pieces until they are golden brown. Use Nori, lemon juice, and dill in your flour mixture and batter to add a fresh, fishy flavor. You can even serve these with vegan tartar sauce made using vegan mayonnaise! What you'll end up with is a satisfying, soft and flaky fried fish substitute. So, make a run to your nearest Asian specialty store to get a can or two and give this trendy vegan recipe a try. You just might be surprised by how much you like this vegan alternative.