the title of this post was almost “things to serve with malt vinegar,” because i truly and deeply love malt vinegar. it’s tangy, a little sweet, rich, and cuts through the heavy patina of any fried food. and, evidently, makes mushy peas a marvelously flavorful dish that has become this american’s new favorite side.
i’ve never had mushy peas, as it is never served as a side for fish and chips here in the ‘states. so it isn’t my fault that i’ve never been able to appreciate fish and chips as a substantial meal rather than a greasy plate of potential regret. it might sound a bit off-putting, or stereotypically bland, but the process of soaking the dried peas in a baking soda solution drastically alters the flavor and texture of the peas and helps them retain a vibrant green. it tastes nothing at all like split pea soup, for which i was very glad when it was finished, as i, rather unromantically, detest that dish. instead it is creamy, slightly vegetal, and somewhat sulfuric and reminiscent of boiled egg yolk, and ultimately a completely appropriate anchor for beer batter and french fries soaked in malt vinegar.
my goal for the fish was to make fishy sticks using yuba rather than tofu, mostly as i was out of tofu. you can, of course, use whatever protein product you like, as the aim of this fishy game is not so much flavor, which would be provided by the strips of nori anyway, but something to coat in beer batter and deep fry. hearts of palm would work wonderfully, i’d imagine, if sufficiently patted dry. the mushy peas require at least a 24 hour soak but are very easy to finish and can simmer away while you fry.
yuba fish sticks
enough for 4 or 5 people
1 package square frozen yuba, thawed (about 12 oz) or 1 block tofu, pressed and patted dry and cut into 16 wedges
2 sheets nori, quartered into strips
3 tbl cornstarch
1 c flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 12 oz beer, preferably maltier than hoppy
oil for frying
– heat oil for frying, as you like, to 350F. i used about 2 cups in a heavy cast iron skillet.
– take 3 sheets of yuba. place a strip of nori across the bottom and roll it up tightly, like a flauta. cut in half and repeat with the remaining sheets of yuba and nori (if using tofu, or anything other than yuba, wrap the nori around the protein like onigiri)
– sprinkle the cornstarch on a dish and roll each yuba roll in it to coat
– whisk together the flour, powders and seasoning in a bowl, then whisk in the beer to make a thin batter
– when the oil is hot, browning a drop of batter in 30 seconds, dunk a yuba stick in batter, let the excess drip off briefly and carefully lower into the oil. fry for a little over two minutes, turning once. repeat with the remaining sticks, working in batches.
– drain on a paper towel and serve immediately
3-4 russet potatoes, scrubbed
1 tbl vinegar
oil for frying
– bring 4 cups water to a rolling boil in a large pot, add vinegar
– cut the potatoes into french-fry shapes, about 3/4 inch thick
– boil the potatoes for about 5-7 minutes or until they only resist slightly when pierced by a fork, but are still not fully cooked
– drain the potatoes and spread out on a kitchen towel, allowing to dry completely
– heat the oil as above and fry the potatoes in batches for about 5 minutes or until golden brown
– drain on a paper towel and salt to taste
2 c dried split green peas
1 tbl baking soda
1 1/2 tsp malt vinegar
salt and pepper
1 tbl vegan butter, if desired (i did not add this)
– soak the peas with baking soda dissolved in about 6 cups water overnight in the fridge
– drain the peas and rinse thoroughly
– put the peas in a pot and cover with about an inch of water to start
– bring to a simmer over low heat and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary
– when the peas have cooked down into a smooth paste, add vinegar, butter if desired, and salt and pepper to taste
– serve hot with more vinegar splashed on top