From chef Aaron’s family kitchen: TVP “Mock Fish”

(Chief Aaron Egan)

Fake fish vIt sounds a lot like how you might make gefilte fish both in terms of flavor profile and method.

With the precipitation of recent times, my mind has focused on the floods throughout history, whether it was the biblical flood or simply the cases of the last 60 years when I-94 was underwater during of the next “500-year flood” that happened far less than 500 years ago.

Chief Aaron Egan
Chief Aaron Egan

And, of course, my mind turns to food and fish, because the rivers that flow through the gutters in the streets of my neighborhood might as well be teeming with fish no matter how deep they are. As a person with food allergies, I don’t eat real fish. I have a weird fake fish made from tofu in my freezer that I still intend to make … something… with, and I made dishes that could normally use seafood without these ingredients, doing my best to create a similar flavor result.

Here, however, I have a recipe inspired by an older cookbook given to me by a good friend: The spice and spirit of Kosher Jewish cuisine. Published by Chabad in 1977. This is really a crash course in running a Jewish home for a young woman who is married in a situation more religious than she was familiar with, or who did not have a bubbie for. teach him the old ways and so is a little lost on how to cook for Shabbos. The cookbook contains a wide variety of recipes and ranges from the very complicated culinary to the occasional sachet of onion soup and cream of mushroom dishes, with a lot of things lying somewhere in the odd space between them. of them.

As a dish to use leftover cooked chicken, there is a recipe for fake fish; this is a lot like how you might make gefilte fish both in terms of flavor profile and method. Why not adapt it to use a meatless base and create something tasty? It looks a lot like the ingredients, but it’s very simple and uses a lot of things from the garden.

TVP “Mock Fish”


  • 1 ¾ cup TVP (textured vegetable protein), rehydrated with 1⅓ cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup grated carrots (about 1 larger carrot)
  • 1 cup yellow onion, grated, drained and reserved juice (about a 3-4 inch onion, maybe less)
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup matzo, more if needed
  • ½ tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 C. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 C. sugar (optional, to be used if you are a Galician who likes it sweeter)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped, rinsed and wrung out (save the stems!)

Cooking liquid:

  • 3 pints. the water
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 green pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • the saved comes from parsley
  • 1-2 sprigs of fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. sugar (again for Galicians only)


Rehydrate the TVP and set aside. Chop the parsley well, wrap it well in a tea towel or a cloth towel and rinse it under cold water, wringing it out from time to time. Wring it out one last time to remove all the liquid and excess chlorophyll, and set it aside.

Place the water and all the pan juices, except for the salt and sugar, in a large large saucepan. Bring to a boil, and when it starts to roll, add salt and sugar. (This will prevent your pots from pitting under intense salt concentration.)

While the water (now a kind of court-bouillon) is heating, turn your attention back to the fake fish. Combine TVP, grated carrot and onion, minced garlic, egg, matzo flour, salt, pepper, sugar and parsley in a bowl and mix well until blended. Add a little onion juice as you mix to make sure the flavors permeate; pour the rest of the juices into the poaching liquid. If the mixture is too loose to handle, add a little more matzo flour. If it is too firm, add a little water or onion juice.

Reduce the poaching liquid to a boil. Shape the “fish-like” mixture into patties the size of your palm, pressing down firmly to wrap the ingredients together. Slip these patties into the poaching liquid as you prepare them and work quickly to make sure they all cook at about the same rate.

Poach, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until balls float and are cooked through. It may take longer depending on your stove; turn periodically with a skimmer to ensure even cooking.

Serve with horseradish, mustard, broths, matzo balls, pumpernickel, etc., hot or cold, depending on your preference. If you keep the fake fish in your refrigerator, you should indeed keep it in a little of the liquid in which it was cooked, a bit like balls of matzo … or gefilte fish, although this will not do everything. makes a jelly.

The cookbook would probably suggest that you pour a can of tomato sauce over it. I’d more likely use them in a soup, stew, or broth type situation, or make a creamy, slightly sour sauce to work with the TVP funk and strong onion flavor you bring to the table. Experiment and find out what is right for you.

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