This did not start as a vegan recipe. Well it wasn’t intended to be a vegan recipe. … at least at the start.
I was simply trying to make a fried cake of some sort using shredded taro, and I happened to have carrots and some unfortunately frozen radishes on hand. I don’t know if it is because I had just been working on a recipe involving smoked salmon, or if the color reminded me of salmon cakes, but I couldn’t help but see the potential for this combination to become a vegan ‘salmon’ cake! It wasn’t an easy journey, however.
Shredded taro is a great starch, and gummy like cooked meat, and the carrots made it the right color, but the radish really brought a funkiness that might have been part of the drive to go in the fish-flavored direction. Now I needed a salty umami flavor. Miso fit the bill just perfectly! Next for a bit of ‘ocean.’ Seaweed crisps! I played around with the idea of kelp granules, but our store only sells the powder, so I nixed that and just added more chopped crisps.
The smokiness took a few tries. At first I ran to smoked salt, but to get enough for the smoke flavor to come through, along with the miso, it was just way too salty. So then I thought about just adding it as a garnish. Again, way too salty. Smoked pepper wasn’t a bad idea though. In the end I added smoked Spanish paprika, bit by bit, until I felt it had enough smokey flavor, then I just garnished it with the rough cracked smoked pepper.
As for the yeast and cornstarch, it added the extra texture needed to keep everything together and give it a nice protein flavor.
Along with the basic ‘salmon’ cake mix, below I have added some suggestions for add-ins. As we know, a salmon cake is rarely just salmon in patty form. You may want to add some other flavors to pull it together with the rest of your meal, and with so many different directions in which to go, I didn’t want to limit it to just one.
However, if you so choose, the stand-alone ‘salmon’ cake recipe is a winner. …even if you aren’t vegan!
Vegan Taro ‘Salmon’ Cakes
By: Semiserious Chefs
makes: 8-10 cakes
- 2 cups peeled and fine shredded taro
- 2 cups peeled and fine shredded carrot
- 1 cup peeled and shredded white radish
- 1/4 cup miso paste
- 24 sheets of seaweed snack; finely chopped or torn
- 1 1/2 T corn starch
- 1 1/2 T nutritional yeast
- 4 T smoked paprika
- cracked smoked pepper for garnish
- minced garlic, onions, or shallots
- fine chopped green onions
- grated ginger
- a dash of Indian black salt
- lemon zest
- fresh herbs:
- a bit of sesame oil and sesame seeds
- minced chilies or chili powder
- You can also try breading it by rolling it in vegenaise and coating it with bread crumbs or a mixture of half flour and half panko, before baking or frying.
*You may find that you need to add some more cornstarch if you have a lot of add-ins, to keep everything ‘caked’ together.
NOTE: Do NOT deep fry these cakes. They want to come apart. Just use a little oil of choice in a skillet and flip them nicely with a spatula.
- Mix all of the original cake ingredients to a bowl and mix well with a fork.
- Pat a little of the batter into a rough circle around 4 inches in diameter. You should be able to make about 8 cakes. You can also make these small, 2-bite, cakes for appetizers or hors d’oeuvres.
- Over medium-high heat, in a well sprayed/oiled skillet, (but not deep fry depth,) fry each cake for several minutes on each side, until nice and golden; even blackened.* Handle them gently, as the cakes will still be a little soft, but should be ‘gummy’ when you pull them apart. You do want the taro cooked all the way through, as it can be an irritant to the mouth if not done so.
- Sprinkle each cake with coarse cracked smoked pepper for extra smokiness and bit of kick.
- Serve as a stand alone snack, with pasta or rice and sauce, or on a sandwich/burger.
*If you are breading your cakes they may respond a little differently. I’ll leave it to your creative instinct to handle this.