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Baja Fried Fish Tacos

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Serves 6

  • To learn more, read:
    How to Make Fish Tacos
  • from Fine Cooking
    Issue 130

A creamy lime-chipotle sauce gives these crispy tacos a bit of smoky heat. Radishes and cabbage are common garnishes on many Mexican foods and add a nice, fresh crunch. A mild fish like tilapia is the perfect vehicle for a beer batter.

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbs. minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion
  • 4 radishes, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Mexican lager, such as Dos Equis
  • 1 lb. tilapia fillets, cut into 5x1-inch strips
  • 7 cups vegetable oil (or as needed for frying)
  • 12 6-inch corn tortillas
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Whisk the mayonnaise, chipotle, lime juice, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a small bowl.

Put the cabbage, onion, radishes, and cilantro in a medium bowl and stir in 1/4 cup of the sauce. Set the remaining sauce and the slaw aside.

Stir together 4-1/2 oz. (1 cup) of the flour, the beer, and 1 tsp. salt in another medium bowl. Let stand 15 minutes.

Toss the fish with 1/2 tsp. salt in a medium bowl. Put the remaining 2-1/4 oz. (1/2 cup) flour in a shallow bowl.

Pour the oil into an 8-inch-wide, 4-quart pot to a depth of 2 inches. Clip a deep-fry thermometer to the pot, and heat over medium heat to 375°F.

Meanwhile, heat a griddle or heavy-duty 12-inch skillet over medium heat until hot. Working in batches, heat the tortillas in a single layer, turning once, until soft with light brown spots. Stack in a cloth-lined basket or plate and wrap to keep warm.

Working with a few pieces at a time, dredge the fish in the flour, shaking off the excess. Coat the fish in the batter and add to the oil. Fry, turning as necessary, until golden and just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining fish, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain the oil temperature.

Put a piece of fish in each tortilla, and top with some of the slaw and a drizzle of the sauce. Serve with the lime wedges.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 630; Fat (g): fat g 41; Fat Calories (kcal): 360; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 6; Protein (g): protein g 20; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 46; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 22; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 680; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 55; Fiber (g): fiber g 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I made this with cod and red snapper. It was simple to make with great flavours. I lightened the sauce by using half yogurt, and the chipotle was a nice contrast to the mild fish. I used the side burner of my barbeque to cook the fish, and warmed the tortillas on the grill. The family loved eating them right out of the pan. Definitely making them again!

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