Friends, have you heard of celeriac? It’s the star of our new favorite dish, and we’re so excited to introduce it to you! Celeriac is a root vegetable with a subtle celery-like flavor, and when cooked, it develops a tender and flaky texture (like fish!). Then, when you coat it in a bubbly batter, fry it in a skillet, and serve it with vegan tartar sauce and fries, vegan “fish” and chips happen — and it’s magic!
These celeriac “fish” fillets are crispy, flaky, addictively delicious, and uber comforting! Just six ingredients are required for these gluten-free and vegan beauties. Let us show you how it’s done!
Origin of Fish and Chips
Fish and chips are believed to have originated in England in the 1860s. The combination was inspired by two different dishes introduced by immigrants: battered and fried fish from Holland and chips (fries) from either Belgium or France.
The following is a plant-based take on the concept.
How to Make Vegan Fish and Chips
When brainstorming how to recreate the flaky texture of fish with plant-based ingredients, celeriac came to mind! When boiled, this root vegetable transforms from stiff and firm to tender and flaky.
So we cut it into strips, then boiled it in salted water to infuse it with saltiness and lessen its celery flavor. And it totally worked! Vegan “fish” and chips officially became a reality.
To make a light and bubbly batter, we combined our DIY gluten-free flour blend, salt, nori seaweed flakes (optional for extra “sea” flavor! ), and sparkling water. Regular all-purpose flour with a little baking powder also works, but we found gluten-free flour created a lighter, more preferable texture. Using sparkling water in the batter makes more air pockets, giving it an even more softer texture!
For frying, we went with avocado oil for its high smoke point and neutral flavor. We used just enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan without turning it into a deep frying situation.
- One large celeriac, peeled and cut into 1-inch strips (1 large celeriac is ~1 lb or 450 g)
- Water (for boiling)
- 1 Tbsp sea salt (for salting water)
- 1 cup DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend (or sub-Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 Baking Flour // if not gluten-free, you can sub all-purpose flour and add 1 tsp baking powder)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 3 Tbsp nori seaweed flakes or nori sheets blitzed in a blender (for “sea” flavor // optional)
- 2/3 – 3/4 cup plain unsweetened sparkling water (for a lighter texture // or sub-regular water)
- 1/4 cup avocado oil (or other neutral, high-heat oil // for frying)
CHIPS (choose one // optional)
- Perfect Roasted Potatoes
- Baked Garlic Matchstick Fries
- Crispy Cajun Baked Fries (Oil-Free! )
- Easy Vegan Tartar Sauce (or store-bought)
- Lemon wedges (optional)
- “FISH”: Add 3 quarts (~3 liters) of water and 1 Tbsp salt to a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, carefully add celeriac strips and cover. Boil celeriac for 8-9 minutes or until fork tender. Carefully remove and place on a cooling rack or a plate to dry and cool slightly.
- CHIPS: If you want to enjoy your fish with “chips” (fries), start preparing your choice of Perfect Roasted Potatoes, Baked Garlic Matchstick Fries, or Crispy Cajun Baked Fries (Oil-Free! ) while your celeriac boils.
- BATTER: In a medium mixing bowl, combine gluten-free flour, salt, and nori flakes (optional for “sea” flavor) and whisk to combine. Add sparkling water (starting with the lesser amount) and whisk until smooth and no lumps remain. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes to thicken slightly. After resting, it should be similar to pancake batter in texture (see photo) — add more water to thin or flour to thicken.
- In a large-rimmed skillet (we prefer cast iron), large pot, or Dutch oven, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat. Using your fingers or a fork, dunk each boiled celeriac strip into the batter — you want them thickly and evenly coated. Carefully transfer the battered strips to the hot avocado oil. Each piece should sizzle nicely when you place it in the oil — if it doesn’t make any sound, turn up the heat slightly. Continue dunking and adding the strips to the skillet until the skillet is full. Once sizzling, cook each strip for ~3-4 minutes on the first side.
- Then, use tongs or a metal spatula to lift and flip the strips carefully — they should come up easily. If they are sticking badly, they likely haven’t cooked long enough. Cook for 2-3 minutes on the second side or until lightly browned. Transfer the fried pieces to a cooling rack or a plate with a napkin to drain excess oil, then dunk and fry any remaining celeriac strips that didn’t fit in the skillet. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Meanwhile, prepare a batch of Easy Vegan Tartar Sauce (or use store-bought), remove your chips/fries from the oven, and enjoy the fish and fries dunked in tartar sauce!
- It’s best when fresh. We tested freezing and reheating the “fish,” and it crisps back up nicely, but the celeriac flavor is stronger, and the crispy coating pulls away from the celeriac a bit. Reheat from frozen by baking on a greased baking sheet at 400 F (204 C) for 10-15 minutes, flipping at the halfway point.