This Mexican Fish Taco Recipe is all about the fresh flavours, the pulsating palette and the juxtaposition of textures that make up authentic Mexican food. You will be pleased to know that there’s not a grating of melted cheese in sight! Instead, my fish taco recipe is a crispy, spiced fish, crunchy red cabbage, piquant pico de gallo and a creamy dressing alchemy with a citrus squeeze all wrapped in a scrumptious soft blue corn tortilla. It makes for one neat little handful of Mexican street food!
Known as Tacos de pescado in Mexico, fish tacos are believed to have originated in Baja California, the northernmost state of the country. It’s said that sometime during the seventies the local Baja fishermen saw an avenue for selling their fish offcuts to taquerias who fried the fish to serve with tortillas to hungry surfers and intrepid travellers. Today’s Baja fish tacos follow pretty much the same recipe, made with grilled or fried fish, lettuce or cabbage, tomato salsa and a sour cream or citrus mayonnaise sauce served wrapped in a corn or flour tortilla.
In many ways tacos are as every day to Mexico as the humble sandwich is to us Australian folk. They are simply a tortilla wrapped or folded around filling the same way that we wrap two slices of bread around filling. While sandwiches have become a less popular lunch choice in Oz on account of the whole low-carb obsession, tacos have experienced a wee renaissance. It’s been hard to go by any café breakfast or lunch menu without seeing some sort of taco or burrito on offer. From pulled pork and chipotle varieties to breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs they are everywhere.
I can recall my first foray into fish taco eating. It would have been about a decade ago at Byron Bay’s local Ozy Mex takeaway. I think I ordered three fish tacos for $10 and I happily ate them all. Today, you can pay nearer to $20 for two lunchtime fish tacos in a local café setting, so I figured why not try making them at home to save some coin. Once you have a good spice rub, fresh local fish and some quality corn tortillas on hand you can use your imagination to flavour the rest.
I’ve been mostly authentic to the Baja tradition with my Mexican fish taco recipe, although I have added a few of my own favourite flavours as garnishes. You can leave these out or add your own. You might like to try adding black beans and corn or pinto beans and chilli sauce. My version includes fresh coriander leaves, a generous addition of jarred jalapeños and, when in season, diced sweet pineapple for a tropical twist. Served on warmed soft blue corn tortillas they look like a Taubman’s colour chart and they taste stupendous.
Try your hand at my Mexican Fish Taco Recipe below – but promise me you will hold the melted cheese, ok?
- SPICE RUB
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- TACO DRESSING
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon spice rub (above)
- PICO DE GALLO
- 1 large tomato, finely chopped
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
- squeeze lime juice
- 500g firm white fish such as Flathead, Cobia
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 blue corn tortillas (6 inch)
- 2 tablespoons rice flour or plain flour
- 1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
- 1 medium avocado, chopped
- 1 cup chopped pineapple
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- Jalapeños and Coriander leaves to garnish
- Combine all of the Spice Rub ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Combine all of the Taco Dressing ingredients in another bowl and set aside.
- Combine all of the Pico de Gallo ingredients in a third bowl and set aide.
- Chop your cabbage, avocado, pineapple, lime and serve on a presentation board ready to assemble your fish tacos.
- Chop your fish fillets into eight even sized pieces.
- On a dinner plate mix the rice flour or plain flour with 1 tablespoon of the spice rub.
- Heat a non-stick fry pan with a little of the olive oil.
- Dredge your fish pieces through the spiced flour, shaking off any excess, and cook in the fry pan in two batches. Remove from the pan and set aside on paper towel.
- Heat your corn tortillas according to the packet instructions and serve with the fish, chopped salad, pico de gallo and dressing.
- You can use regular white corn tortillas but I love the look of the blue ones!
- Add a squeeze of lime juice to your chopped avocado to stop it from browning.