If you’re stuck for ideas about what to cook for the vegan in your life this Christmas, this recipe for banana blossom ‘fishless’ cake with tartar sauce could be a perfect fit! It is brought to you by the amazing Tony Keogh, head chef of the popular Cornucopia restaurant. Read on to learn more. This recipe appears in our Winter 2018/19 issue – click here to find your local stockist, or here to subscribe to the magazine.
Banana blossom ‘fishless’ cake with tartar sauce
by Tony Keogh
It has never been easier to follow a vegan diet, as new products constantly arrive on our shelves. New, innovative ways of using these products are also being developed. In the last few years, we have seen everything from aquafaba meringues and jackfruit pulled pork to very realistic plant-based cheeses. Banana blossoms are a staple in Southeast Asian and Indian cuisine, and frequently pop up in salads and curries. When canned and brined, banana blossoms have a strong resemblance in texture to white fish. They work quite well here in these fishless cakes.
For the cakes
650g rooster potatoes
One 510g tin of banana blossom (available from ethnic food stores)
10g wakame soaked in 50ml water
Teaspoon of kelp
Heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard
Zest of one large lemon
Heaped tablespoon of dried chives
Salt and black pepper to taste
Panko bread crumbs to coat the cakes
Rapeseed or sunflower oil for frying
For the tartar sauce
200g vegan mayonnaise
Tsp of Dijon mustard
Juice of one lemon
Heaped teaspoon of fresh dill
To make the cakes: Peel and chop the potatoes into bite size chunks. Bring them to the boil in a pot of salted water. When they are tender, strain them off. Tip them back into the pan and place them over a low heat – this is to ensure most of the moisture has evaporated away. Mash them roughly with a masher and set them aside to cool while you make the tartar sauce.
Tip the mayonnaise into a bowl. Finely chop the gherkins and capers. Add these to the mayonnaise along with the dill, mustard and lemon. Set this aside in the fridge until the cakes are ready.
Open the banana blossom, strain off the water and roughly chop them – not too finely though, as they are going to lend the main texture to the finished cakes. When the potatoes have cooled, tip in the chopped banana flowers, the soaked wakame, the kelp, mustard, lemon zest and chives. Season the mixture to taste.
Take two large dinner plates and coat the first one in panko bread crumbs. Take about 1/8th of the potato mixture and shape it into a patty. If the mixture is a little sticky, wet your hands first. When the patty is shaped, press it into the panko bread crumbs, flip it over and repeat on the other side. Then roll the patty in the crumbs to smoothen out and coat the edges. Place the patty on the second dinner plate. Repeat this with the remaining mixture, and you should get about 8 patties altogether.
Place them in the fridge for about half an hour to chill before frying.
Heat about 1 cm of rapeseed oil in a large frying pan and let it come to a shimmer. When it is sizzling hot, place four of the cakes into it – you do not want to overcrowd the pan. Cook them for about 3 minutes, turn them over carefully, and fry them for about the same amount of time on the second side. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cakes and place them on a kitchen roll lined plate to absorb excess oil. Repeat the process with the remaining cakes. Serve them immediately, with tartar sauce. These cakes also go really well with a nice crisp salad, or some peas and green beans with a little fresh dill, lemon and olive oil mixed through.