These Puerto Rican Vegan Bacalaitos are crispy, fluffy, fish-free fritters that are great for any occasion.
Bacalaitos are a staple in our Puerto Rican street food culture. You can find them everywhere around the island, especially at food stands, carnivals, and even at your church’s cafeteria. My grandmothers used to make them all the time. I never liked cod-fish, so I used to take it out of my fritter while eating them. These are regularly made using codfish, in Spanish “bacalao”. Here’s my vegan version of these delicious cod-fish fritters.
This is my favorite fritter, even though I don’t make it often. How can you make a vegan version of bacalaitos? Well, the flavors of these fritters come from the marinade. As long as you marinate your protein substitute you will have an amazing crispy and fluffy fritter.
For the fish flavor, I shredded part of a nori sheet to the batter. This part is optional but I totally recommend it. You can also use jackfruit as an alternative, but I’m not a big fan of jackfruit so I decided to try hearts of palms instead. It worked for me and I loved the results.
What are Hearts of Palms?
They are tender, white cylinders with a mild flavor that’s similar to artichokes. Hearts of palm are harvested from the inner core of some types of palm trees. They are a great source of fiber, with lots of vitamins and minerals. They are a great addition to any recipe. Hearts of palm are commonly used to replace fish in vegan recipes.
How to Use Hearts of Palms in this Recipe?
I veganized my grandmother’s recipe. I found her favorite recipe book with some handwritten recipes and notes. I marinated the hearts of palms using the same seasonings for the codfish. All you have to do is:
- Drain the hearts of palms and empty the can inside a medium bowl.
- Chop hearts of palms using your hands.
- Add seasonings and shredded nori sheets, set aside, and let it rest for one hour.
Tips for Frying these Vegan Bacalaitos:
- Use sunflower oil for a healthier version.
- Preheat stove to medium-high heat.
- For better results use a deep fryer or a large saucepan.
- Be careful when frying these bacalaitos.
- Have a large plate lined up with paper towels ready. You will need it to transfer the fritters to drain the excess oil.
If you give this recipe a try, let me know what you think! Leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to take a picture and share it on my Facebook page or tag it #thehungrydragonfly on Instagram! I love seeing your creations!
Make these amazing Puerto Rican recipes during your holidays:
Puerto Rican Vegan Bacalaitos
- 1 cup hearts of palms or jackfruit
- 1/2 tsp adobo seasoning I use Badia brand
- 1/2 sheet nori sheet
- 1 tbsp fresh sqeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt or more to taste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1 tsp sofrito optional
- oil for frying I used sunflower
- Drain hearts of palms and put them inside a medium bowl. Using your hands shredded the hearts of palms. Add adobo, lemon juice and shredded nori sheet. Set aside and let it rest for an hour.
- Preheat stove or deep frier to medium-high heat.
- Mix flour with all the seasonings. Stir to incorporate the ingredients.
- Add water stiring constantly to break any lumps. Add sofrito and mix until well combined.
- Fold mixture in hearts of palms or jackfruit.
- Carefully ladle batter into oil, be sure not to crowd the fritters or they may stick together. Fry
- Fry until they are a nice golden color, turning once. To remove any batter bits that are floating in the oil, carefully use a slotted spoon.
- Drain on plate lined with paper towels.
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