Monday, May 5, 2014

Baja Style Fish tacos for 5 de Mayo

Fish Tacos with flour tortillas
(Tacos de pescado)

These tacos are a classic of modern Mexican Food. Originally the batter was introduced by Japanese immigrants to the Baja peninsula, and soon the tempura style batter morphed into a beer batter. This is a pretty quick and easy recipe that is quite stunning in its outcome.

Serves: 6
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes


Flour tortillas
230 g bread flour
60 g vegetable shortening or lard
½ tsp salt
120 ml warm water
extra flour for rolling out

Beer batter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp salt
½ tsp fresh black pepper
1 cup plain flour, sifted
1 scant tsp baking powder
375 ml beer 

Vegetable oil to a depth of 1 ½ inches for frying
1 cup flour with 1 tsp salt for coating fish

½ cup aioli
½ cup sour cream

1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp chopped coriander
½ cup of julienned carrot

500 g boneless, skinless fish fillet like snapper or barramundi, cut into 5 cm x 1 cm strips
3 limes, cut in wedges


To prepare the tortillas, mix the flour and the lard together, by rubbing the mixture between your hands until all the shortening is absorbed by the flour. Add the salt and then slowly add the water and keep kneading the dough until smooth.

Divide the dough into 12 equal balls. Cover them on a bench with cling wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.

Place a 25 cm fry pan on a medium heat. Cover a bench with a sprinkling of flour then use a rolling pin to roll the tortilla out to a 2 cm round. Pick the tortilla up then gently stretch it out to around 22 cm.

Place the tortilla in the dry fry pan and cook around 45 seconds on each side. It should have light brown spots and puff up when flipped over. Keep them covered with a clean tea-towel as they are ready, so they don’t dry out.

Prepare the beer batter by combining all dry ingredients, then whisking in the beer until smooth. Reserve.

Combine the aioli and sour cream, season and place in a serving bowl.

Toss the cabbage salad ingredients together and place in a serving bowl.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet to 180º. Coat the fish lightly in seasoned flour and shake off any excess. Dip it completely into the batter using tongs, and lay it into the oil. Cook until deep golden and crisp, about 3-4 minutes.  Drain on paper towel and keep warm in a warm place while you finish cooking the remaining fish.

Serve all the fish on a platter with lime wedges to garnish. Present to the table with the warmed tortillas, salad, aioli and a spicy salsa of your choice.

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