Aimee Ryan's Beer-battered tofish and chips

Great British Vegan: 3 plant-based recipes to replace your takeaway favourites

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Looking to save money and cut down on meat? Try these vegan versions of takeaway classics.

The Friday night takeaway is a British institution. And for good reason. At the end of a long week of work – especially in January – even the biggest home cooks turn to Deliveroo to help wind down and kickstart the weekend. But with our bank balances not looking in the best of health after the Christmas period, and our new year’s resolutions still going strong, we’re looking to get in the kitchen more and save some money while we’re at it. 

We have countless simple and speedy weeknight dinners to get us through even the greyest of January days, but if you’re looking for home cooked comfort food that’s worthy of your Friday night, you’ve come to the right place. 

Fully loaded juicy burgers, spicy and rich curries and crisp fish with a pile of piping hot chips - that’s exactly what Aimee Ryan is giving us with her new cookbook, just with one twist – all recipes are 100% vegan. With Great British Vegan, Ryan set out to recreate plant-based versions of her favourite dishes. From full English breakfasts to Sunday roasts, afternoon tea and, of course, takeaway favourites, the book is bursting with a roster of meat-free yet indulgent dishes to cook at home. 

Great British Vegan by Aimee Ryan
Great British Vegan by Aimee Ryan

Whether you’re looking to cut down your meat intake in 2022, are already a full-fledged vegan or are just in need of some fresh inspiration, we’ve selected the recipes for you – with the added bonus that they promise to be friendly on our purse strings too. So step away from that menu and turn instead to these vegan versions of takeaway favourites. 

What could be better than a Friday night curry? Aimee’s recipe for tofu korma is packed with flavour, spice and vegetables – you’ll want to make sure you save some for leftovers.

And if you’re in need of an end of week pick-me-up, Aimee’s British veggie burger is sure to do the trick. Fully loaded with vegan bacon, mayonnaise and more, it will have even the biggest carnivores converted.

Finally for a plant-based take on your fish super, Aimee’s tofish and chips is sure to please. Complete with homemade mushy peas and freshly fried chips, we can’t think of anything better to end the week with.

  • Tofu korma

    Aimee Ryan's tofu korma
    Aimee Ryan's tofu korma

    Aimee says: “A regular weeknight favourite of mine is this creamy, flavourful tofu korma. Great for fridge-clearing as almost any vegetable works well in this curry.”

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    For the sauce:

    • 1 tbsp coconut oil
    • 1 onion, roughly chopped
    • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
    • 1 red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
    • 2 tsp medium curry powder
    • a pinch of sea salt
    • 2 tbsp tomato purée
    • 3 tbsp ground almonds
    • 1 x 400ml can of coconut milk
    • 60ml vegetable stock

    For the curry:

    • 1 tbsp coconut oil
    • 1 red pepper, sliced
    • 350g tofu, drained and
    • cut into 2.5cm cubes
    • a large handful raw cashews
    • a large handful of spinach, washed and roughly chopped
    • a handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly torn, plus extra to serve
    • cooked rice, to serve (optional)

    Method

    Start with the sauce: add the coconut oil to a medium saucepan over a medium heat and sauté the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli for three minutes, until softened.

    Stir in the curry powder, salt, tomato purée, almonds, coconut milk and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for two minutes. Add everything to a blender and blitz to a smooth, creamy sauce.

    To make the curry, melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan. Fry the red pepper and tofu for five minutes over a medium heat, until browned. Stir in the sauce and add the cashews. Simmer for 10–15 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the spinach and coriander during the last minute of cooking so that they are just wilted.

    Serve the curry with rice or by itself. Top with extra coriander.

  • British veggie burger

    Aimee Ryan's British veggie burger
    Aimee Ryan's British veggie burger

    Aimee says: “This veggie burger has a great, firm texture – no mushiness! It’s packed full of flavour and cooks beautifully in the pan, the oven or even on the grill. The recipe makes four small patties or two large ones if you’re feeling hungry!”

    Serves 2–4

    Ingredients

    • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for cooking the burgers
    • 1 onion, finely diced
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tsp yeast extract or miso paste
    • 120g shiitake or chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
    • 1 tbsp brown sauce
    • ½ tsp mustard powder
    • 1 x 400g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    • 125g cooked rice
    • 40g porridge oats 
    • 4–6 tbsp plain flour
    • a generous pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper

    To serve:

    • 2–4 vegan cheese slices
    • 2–4 seeded burger buns
    • 1 little gem lettuce, leaves separated and washed
    • 1 beef tomato, sliced
    • vegan mayonnaise (see below)
    • ketchup
    • crispy bacon strips (see below)

    Method

    Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion and garlic for five minutes, until softened. Add the balsamic vinegar, yeast extract or miso paste and mushrooms and cook for a further eight minutes until brown and sticky.

    Add all the remaining ingredients and use a potato masher to crush and combine everything together into a thick, chunky mixture. (You can also pulse the mixture in a food processor.) Shape the mixture into two large or four small patties.

    To cook, heat a frying pan with enough oil to cover the base and fry over a medium heat for five minutes on each side, until slightly charred. Add the slices of cheese to the burgers whilst they are still warm in the pan and let the cheese melt slightly.

    To serve, lay out the bases of the buns and place a cheesy burger on each. Top with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, ketchup, bacon slices and any other toppings you like, then pop the bun lid on top and enjoy.

    Vegan Mayonnaise

    Vegan mayo is easy to find in the supermarket but sometimes you just can’t beat homemade. It is so easy and you can add your own flavours such as garlic, herbs or chilli.

    Makes approx. 400ml

    Ingredients

    • 120ml unsweetened soy milk, at room temperature
    • 2 tsp white (distilled) vinegar
    • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
    • juice of ½ lemon
    • 1 tsp English mustard
    • 250ml sunflower oil

    Method

    Add all the ingredients, except the oil, to a blender and blitz to combine. On medium speed, very slowly pour the oil in as you blend, until you have a thick mayonnaise consistency. It will thicken more as it cools.

    Transfer to a container or jar and keep in the fridge for up to four weeks.

    Crispy bacon strips

    Ingredients

    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tbsp maple syrup
    • 1 tsp smoked paprika
    • ½ tsp sea salt
    • 4 sheets rice wrappers

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.

    Mix the oil, soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, paprika and salt together in a shallow dish.

    Stack two sheets of the rice paper on top of one another and soak in a bowl of cold water briefly to soften them. Using kitchen scissors, cut the sheets into bacon-sized strips.

    Dip each strip into the mixture, coating the paper on each side, before laying on the prepared baking tray. Use a pastry brush, dipped into the mixture, to give them a second coating on the baking tray.

    Bake for five to eight minutes, watching carefully to make sure they don’t burn. They should be crispy and textured with a good crunch. Serve immediately as they will lose their crunch after a few hours.

  • Beer-battered tofish and chips

    Aimee Ryan's Beer-battered tofish and chips
    Aimee Ryan's Beer-battered tofish and chips

    Aimee says: “Not only does this beer-battered tofu look like the real deal but it also has added fish flavour, thanks to the nori sheet. Served with probably the best chips you’ll ever make – which take a bit of effort but are totally worth it – and super-simple minted mushy peas.”

    Serves 2

    Ingredients

    For the tofish:

    • 1 x 390g/13¾oz block of extra firm tofu, drained and patted dry
    • 1 sheet of nori
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • 80g plain flour
    • 50g cornflour 
    • 150ml vegan-friendly pale ale

    For the chips:

    • 1kg King Edward potatoes, peeled and cut into chunky chips
    • 750ml vegetable oil, for frying

    For the mushy peas:

    • 1 tbsp dairy-free butter
    • 200g frozen petit pois
    • a handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp white vinegar
    • sea salt and ground black pepper

    To serve:

    • vinegar
    • vegan mayonnaise
    • 1 lemon, cut into wedge

    Method

    Rinse the chips in cold water to remove excess starch. Add them to a large saucepan of cold, salted water and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for five to eight minutes until just softened. Drain, pat dry and arrange on a baking tray. Refrigerate for at least an hour or, covered, overnight.

    Make the mushy peas. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add the peas and cook for five minutes until soft. Add the mint and vinegar and, using a potato masher, crush the peas until mushy. Season then place a lid on the pan to keep them warm.

    To cook the chips, heat the oil to approximately 180ºC and carefully lower half of the potatoes into the oil. Cook for four to five minutes, or until they are crisp and golden. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the chips from the oil and drain on some paper towel. Repeat with the remaining potatoes. Season generously with salt.

    Whilst the chips are cooking, prepare the tofish. Cut the block in half horizontally, then create fillet shapes, triangles or just rectangles. Using scissors, cut the nori sheet into matching shapes, so that it sits neatly on top of the tofu. This will resemble fish skin and also adds a fish flavour. Squeeze half a lemon over the tofu pieces then pat the nori shapes on top, so they’re fairly secure.

    Use the same pot of oil as you used to fry the chips, and reheat it until it’s reached approximately 160ºC. Make the batter by whisking together the flour, cornflour and ale, then season. Dip the tofu shapes into the batter and then carefully transfer them to the hot oil. Cook for three to four minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon.

    Sprinkle the tofish with salt and vinegar and serve with the chips, peas, lemon wedges and mayonnaise.

    Great British Vegan by Aimee Ryan (£20 White Lion Publishing) is out now

 Photography: Jamie Orlando Smith

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