Jun 26 08
by cara
at 3:59 PM
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Baja Fish Tacos

I had my first-ever fish tacos a few weeks ago, and absolutely LOVED them.  Why didn’t anybody clue me in on these any sooner?!  I ordered them again at a different restaurant a week later and loved them even more.  Coincidentally, shortly after both of those delicious dining experiences, the cooking section of The Houston Chronicle featured a story on fish tacos and included several recipes.  Of course I snagged those pages and added them to the top of my recipe file (or should I say pile?).  One recipe in particular grabbed my attention since it features a spicy beer batter and two different yummy sauces.  I gave that recipe a go earlier this week.  I was extremely pleased with the results even though I played around a little with the sauces to suit my preferences and ingredients I had on hand.  These were delicious and The PIcky Apple enjoyed them too.

Baja Fish Tacos

From The Houston Chronicle

Spice Chile Sauce (optional)

  • 1/2 a 7 ounce can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used more yogurt instead)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 3/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon Valentina Hot Sauce (I omitted, only because we were all out of sauce)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

Avocado Sauce (optional):

  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons light sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons milk, plus more to thin sauce if necessary
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 4 cilantro sprigs, stemmed and chopped
  • Salt


  • 1 cup tempura flour (I used a box of McCormick’s Tempura batter, found near the other fish fry products)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon Coleman’s dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano, rubbed to a powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season fish
  • 1 cup cold beer, plus more to thin the batter if necessary (Corona was what we had on hand)
  • 1 pound firm, meaty fish (halibut, mahi-mahi or tilapia) or 1 pound of small to medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (I went with tilapia because it was cheapest)
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Finely shredded green or purple cabbage  (I used a bag mix that included green and purple cabbage, as well as broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots)
  • Chopped cilantro
  • 3 or 4 limes cut into wedges

To make the Spicy Chile Sauce, blend chipotle chiles, mayonnaise, yogurt, sour cream, hot sauce and sugar in a food processor until creamy.  Pour into a container and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the Avocado Sauce, pulse the avocado, sour cream, milk and lime juice in a food processor until it is creamy.  Ad more milk if necessary , until sauce is the consistency of whipping cream.  Add the cilantro and salt to taste; pulse until just blended.  Pour into a container and refrigerate until ready to use.

The batter can be made several hours ahead and refrigerated until you are ready to use it.  To make the batter, combine the flour, onion powder, cayenne mustard, oregano and salt in a bowl.  Whisk in the beer.  It is okay if there are some small lumps.

Cut the fish into 1/4 inch thick slices about the size and shape of a very large index finger.  Sprinkle with lime juice and salt.

Pour oil to the depth of 1 1/2 inches in a deep, wide cast-iron skillet.  Heat over medium heat to 350 degrees.

Pat the fish dry with paper towels.  Dip a few pieces of fish into the batter, which should be the consistency of pancake batter (add more beer if it is too thick).  Using tongs, swish the pieces until coated.  Remove the fish, letting excess batter drip back into the bowl; place the fish in the hot oil.  Cook a few pieces at a time to avoid crowding the pan and lowering the temperature of the oil, until they float and the batter is golden-brown.  Place the fish on paper towels to drain.

Heat tortillas on a dry griddle for about 1 minute on each side, or microwave them briefly until pliable.  To serve, let each person assemble his or her own tacos to suit, with sauces, shredded cabbage, cilantro and lime wedges.

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  1. I admit I’ve never had a fish taco. Not being fond of fish in general. But I do eat fish and chips. Maybe I’ll have to try a fish taco sometime.

  2. My favorite tacos can be found at the fish market in Ensenada, right on the waterfront. Sugar Tongs

  3. Heh — I have a recipe pile like the one you described. We love fish tacos, but they’re so plentiful around here, I never make them. These look especially yummy!

  4. Lovely! You should come out to San Diego… we have great fish tacos out here. I just love the combination of fried fish with crisp cabbage and a great sauce. Yum.

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