Crunchy Fried Fish Tacos

Crunchy Fried Fish Tacos
  • Yield:Serves 2 to 4
  • Active time:30 minutes
  • Total time:30 minutes
  • Rated: 4.5

Crispy fried fish tacos served with spicy mayonnaise, cabbage, and pickled red onions. [Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Note: I like the neutral chili and garlic flavor of an Asian-style chili sauce in this recipe. If you prefer the more vinegary tang of an American-style hot sauce or the smokiness of canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, they can be substituted for the Asian chili sauce to taste. I like to use mayonnaise for my sauce, but you can substitute sour cream or Mexican crema if you are mayo-averse.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup beer (plus more as necessary)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (see note above)
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha or other chili sauce (see note above)
  • 2 quarts peanut oil
  • 1 pound white fish (such as cod, hake, or halibut), cut into eight 2-ounce fingers
  • 16 corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 small head of cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 recipe pickled red onions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

Directions

  1. 1.

    Combine flour, paprika, black pepper, and salt and whisk to combine. Transfer half of mixture to a large bowl and set aside. Add beer and egg to remaining mixture and whisk until a smooth batter is formed. Batter should have the consistency of thick paint (add up to 1/2 cup more beer as necessary until proper consistency is reached). Set aside.

  2. 2.

    Combine mayonnaise and hot sauce in a medium bowl and whisk until homogenous. Set aside.

  3. 3.

    Heat oil in a deep fryer, Dutch oven, or large wok to 350°F. Transfer fish pieces to bowl with batter and turn to coat thoroughly. Working one piece at a time, lift fish, let excess batter drip off, then transfer to bowl with remaining flour mixture. Toss to coat thoroughly. Lift carefully with tongs or dry fingers and slowly lower into hot oil. Repeat with remaining fish.

  4. 4.

    Fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plated and season with salt.

  5. 5.

    Divide tortillas into 8 double stacks. Top each with shredded cabbage, 1 piece of fish, pickled red onions, chili mayo, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.