fried fish tacos

The perfect combination of crunchy, creamy, crispy, tart and sweet.  All in one hand-held meal.

All components of these yummy tacos can be prepared early in the day.  When you’re ready to gather with your peeps, arrange it all on a large platter.  Let everyone build their own.

You’ll be topping these off with a creamy dressing.  If you choose to skip this step, that’s okay.  You can just top off your tacos with a dollop of sour cream.  But, really …if you have the time, go for it.  This dressing adds a bunch of flavor.  It’s best to make it well ahead of time, so the flavors have a chance to blend.

The chipotle pepper is full of flavor and heat.  Be careful to remove and discard every last seed before chopping.  The seeds are “over-the-top” hot and most of us would rather take a pass on them!  On the other hand, the pepper and adobo sauce are what this sauce is all about.

The other important addition is the red cabbage slaw.  If you have a recipe for a tart slaw that you love, now’s the time to use it.  But …if you want to try a new one, here’s my recipe for Bobby Flay’s Red Cabbage Slaw.  It’s pretty darn tasty!

Okay, so let’s move on the meat of the matter.  Sorry, I guess that should be fish of the matter.  I like to use cod.  It is hearty and holds up well during the cooking process.  It is readily available in most markets, even the wild caught variety.  You can use any firm white fish, such as tilapia, snapper, cod, mahi mahi, or catfish.

I used refined organic coconut oil for this presentation.  But, really, any neutral vegetable oil is fine.  I prefer to cook the fish sticks in batches in a medium pan so I don’t need an excessive amount of oil.  Just be sure you don’t crowd the fish in the pan.  You want the edges to crisp up as they cook.  These “fish sticks” are great leftover, especially for the kids.  They love to dip them in some ketchup or cocktail sauce.  Throw in some fries and you’ll be their hero.

The tortillas are fine just warmed up but, they are so much better when you give them a minute on the grill.  Really.  That’s all the time it takes to add flavor and get some grill marks on those guys.  Lightly oil the preheated grates and place the tortillas directly on the grates, in a single layer.  Keep an eye on them.  They can burn quickly.  After about 30 seconds, check for grill marks.  Flip over and cook an additional 20 to 30 seconds.  Transfer them to a plate and cover until ready to use.  We like the flour tortillas, but feel free to try the corn version.

When your mealtime is approaching, prepare the rest of your toppings and arrange them on a large tray or cutting board.  You’ll need some sliced avocado, lime cut in slices or wedges, chopped fresh cilantro.  If your cream sauce is on the thick side, you can add a bit of water to it.  It’s best if it can be drizzled on top of each taco.  Bring out the warmed tortillas and fried fish pieces.  Add them to the tray. And let your guests go to town.


fried fish tacos

Servings 8 tacos



  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon adobo sauce (from can of chipotle peppers)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (from 1/2 lime)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup lager beer
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 16 ounces fresh cod, cut in sticks
  • kosher salt, for seasoning
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 - 6" flour tortillas, lightly grilled
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lime, cut in slices or wedges
  • 2 cups red cabbage slaw or similar
  • 1/2 cup chipotle cream or sour cream
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish



  1. Place all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Stir well to blend.  Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

  2. NOTE:  If cream is very thick, add a few drops of water to thin it to drizzling consistency.


  1. Combine the flour, cayenne pepper, egg and beer in a large bowl.  Mix well and let it sit at room temperature.

  2. Line a baking sheet with several layers of paper toweling.  Place it near the pan, to hold the cooked fish strips.

  3. Pour oil in a medium pan (10-inch) and preheat over medium heat.  Season fish on all sides with salt.  Place the fish in the bowl with the batter.  Carefully turn each piece, so that all sides are coated.

  4. When oil is hot, place about 5 pieces of fish in pan.  Make sure the sides are not touching.  Once the fish begins to brown after about 3 to 4 minutes, flip it over to continue cooking on the other side.  The fish should be done after an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

  5. Using tongs, remove fish from pan and place on prepared baking sheet.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  6. While fish is cooking, heat the tortillas by wrapping the stack in a clean cloth towel and placing in microwave for 30 seconds.

  7. To serve tacos, all components can be placed on a platter or tray for do-it-yourself creations.  Or, while holding the folded tortilla in the palm of your hand, place two or three pieces of fried fish in the curved tortilla.  Tuck a few slices of avocado along one side.  Squeeze some lime juice over taco.  Top with some slaw and cream.  Garnish with a sprinkling of cilantro.

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