The best fish tacos you've ever tried are just a few minutes away using this great recipe! Crispy fish, crunchy slaw, soft warm corn tortillas and a creamy white sauce combine to create Cinco de Mayo in your mouth, any night of the year!
These are the tacos that put Baja California on the culinary map. This Mexican state south of San Diego, California, boasts some of the very best seafood in the world. Traditional Baja fish tacos are always deep fried, then dressed simply with shredded cabbage, loads of fresh lime, and a creamy Baja sauce.
I don't do very much deep frying of my seafood. But this Baja fish taco recipe gets rave reviews every time it hits the table. If you've been looking to switch up your Baked Fish Tacos with something new, this is a great fish taco recipe to add to your collection!
What you'll need to make these Baja Tacos:
Cod - any similar white fish, such as mahi mahi or even grouper, would be delicious in this recipe. Fresh, if possible, or a high quality frozen fish that has been thawed gently in the refrigerator overnight.
Cornstarch - we dust the fish pieces in cornstarch and also use it in our beer batter to create a light and crispy coating. Rice flour or potato starch would also work.
Self-rising flour - the baking powder in self-rising flour helps create more lift in the batter. If using all purpose flour, add an extra pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon baking powder.
Kosher salt - I prefer a coarse kosher salt such as Morton or Diamond Crystal.
Cayenne pepper (optional) - for a kick of heat without any overwhelm, we add a bit of cayenne to the batter.
White pepper - adds a ton of floral peppery flavor without the black pepper specs in your golden batter.
Cold beer (or seltzer water) - I'm the weirdo who really doesn't like the flavor of beer. So I've often made beer batter using seltzer. But it's not just the carbonation that creates a great batter. The yeast in beer adds both flavor and lift to your batter. So I do recommend that you grab a bottle of pale colored beer - I use Heineken.
Neutral oil (for frying) - to deep fry our fish, we need several cups of a neutral oil such as canola oil, sunflower oil or vegetable oil. I have made this recipe using a shallow fry method with just ½ inch of oil covering the bottom of the skillet. The batter doesn't fry up as evenly, but it's a perfectly good option if you're hesitant to deep fry!
Corn tortillas - Baja style tacos must be served on corn tortillas. And in my house, corn tortillas must be charred in a dry skillet before serving. But if you're feeding people who prefer flour tortillas, go with God. I shall not report you to the Taco Authorities.
Baja fish taco sauce - a 5-ingredient sour cream sauce the whole family will love. Find the full recipe at the link above. As written, this creates a slightly spicy sauce, but it can be modified to suit your needs!
Shredded green and red cabbage - finely shredded to use as topping for your fried fish tacos. Adds even more crunch and freshness.
Cilantro - you can dice the cilantro or just use whole leaves.
Lime wedges - fresh lime juice is a flavor enhancer throughout this dish. They are squeezed directly over the cabbage topping to make a crunchy slaw on top of your taco!
Full measurements and directions included in the printable recipe card below.
Step-by-step instructions for Baja Fish Tacos Recipe:
To begin, dry cod thoroughly with paper towels and slice into 1 inch by 2 inch slices. Dust the fish pieces in ¼ cup cornstarch. Set aside.
In a large bowl, prepare the fish batter. Combine self-rising flour, cornstarch, salt, white pepper and cayenne (if using) in a large mixing bowl. Use a whisk to mix well. Add 1 ¼ cups very cold beer. Stir to combine, but leave lumps.
Heat about 2 ½ inches of neutral oil in the bottom of a dutch oven over medium-high heat. You want to keep your oil around 375℉. Dredge fish pieces that have been dusted with cornstarch in the beer batter. Let excess batter drip off the fish, then gently lower each piece into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan, or the oil will cool too much and you will have a heavy, oily batter.
Fry 3-4 minutes, or until the batter is medium golden brown and the fish is cooked through. Remove each crispy beer-battered cod piece and lay on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Continue dredging and frying the fish in batches until complete. The process goes quickly, but you can keep the finished fish pieces in a warming oven until ready to serve.
Use a dry skillet to warm and slightly char corn tortillas. To serve, layer Baja fish taco sauce onto each corn tortilla. Top with 1-2 pieces of beer battered cod, followed by shredded green and red cabbage and cilantro. Top with a squeeze of lime juice, and even more fish taco sauce, if desired.
FAQ's, Variations and Serving Suggestions:
The cayenne adds just a touch of heat to the batter. You can add more ground cayenne to the batter, or rely on your taco sauce or a bottle of hot sauce to add additional heat to your meal.
Beer battered fish is always best served immediately after frying, so it's ideal to make just what your family and friends can eat at that meal. To reheat leftovers, heat on a rack over a baking sheet in the oven at 375℉ until just heated through.Print