What I imagine people from Baja California say in greeting to each other. Or when they wake up. Or do anything. What I am trying to get at is that the inhabitants from Baja California, Mexico might as well be Pokémon for all that I know about them. That doesn’t stop me was enjoying flaky, fried Baja fish tacos with homemade tangy white sauce.
Welcome back to Kitchen Catastrophe! I am the alternate host that keeps showing up like a bad case of the Clap, Alan Vandegrift! Jon is out today being a drunkard on stage. At least, that’s what he tells me. In the Shakespearian tradition, Jon likes to think the world is a stage; so he very well might be at the local sports bar.
What I never understood about baja fish tacos and the reason I have failed so many times in the past in trying to make a flying fried skin is that I was missing the key Ingredient: Baking powder. Baking powder is a weak acid that releases CO2 gas into the batter that allows it to expand in a much faster time frame then say, yeast. Perfect for throwing battered fish into 375 degree F (190 C) hot oil! No one wants to stay in hot oil too long!
This OLD TIMEY representation of an African American knows the pluses of baking powder
Now for the batter itself. We will be making a beer batter to fry this tilapia in. Except I am not for this recipe. Considering that my body rejects the decision to drink beer, we are going to be using Apple Cider instead. Don’t panic. Cider allows for the same positives the beer brings to the table. It is carbonated so it brings more of that lovely CO2 into the mix. The alcohol dissolves faster than water, so the batter will cook quicker. Much less risk of overcooking the food.
FISH TACOS AHOY!
Fill a small medium bowel with flour, a dash of cornstarch, and the baking soda. Mix it together. Add in an egg and the cider and stir till you have the desired consistency. Almost like a pancake batter. Let stand for 15 minutes to allow for the carbonation of the batter.
With that chillin on the sidelines, cut fish into desired size and warm oil to 375 degrees F (190C). At this temp, the fish will cook and be done when the batter is done cooking as well. Don’t want to be uneven.
Sprinkle the fish with some flour and then, using tongs (for safety), dip the fish pieces in the batter and then submerge in the oil. Let the fish cook until the batter is brown. Be sure to turn over once in the process to make sure the batter and fish are cook on both sides. After fried, let drain on paper towel to collect spare oil.
You have no idea how many scars I have on my arm from oil. Careful friends!
Now, I have to sell you on the sauce, because the parts of it dot not sound like they would go together. The main ingredients are lime juice, plain yogurt, and mayonnaise, with spices thrown in to provide extra flavor. This sauce will be tangy and sweet and will offset the fish flavor very well. The spices thrown in, jalapenos, cayenne pepper, cumin, oregano, and dill, will bring in the hint of Mexican flavoring that makes this sauce so good. After the fish is done, quickly make the sauce. It takes two seconds.
Using a small skillet, heat up corn tortillas on the stove to make them pliable and then plate the tacos. Put the desired amount of fish in each, cover with cabbage and the white sauce, and then enjoy!
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Next later this week is an important milestone for Kitchen Catastrophe. So join us as Jon attempts to cook a soufflé!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup Apple Cider
- 1/2cup plain yogurt
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspnn ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- Oil for frying
- 1 pound white fish fillet, cut into desiered portions
- Corn tortillas
- Shredded cabbage
- To make beer batter: In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Blend egg and beer, then quickly stir into the flour mixture (don't worry about a few lumps).
- To make white sauce: In a medium bowl, mix together yogurt and mayonnaise. Gradually stir in fresh lime juice until consistency is slightly runny. Season with jalapeno, capers, oregano, cumin, dill, and cayenne.
- Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Dust fish pieces lightly with flour. Dip into beer batter, and fry until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Lightly fry tortillas; not too crisp. To serve, place fried fish in a tortilla, and top with shredded cabbage, and white sauce.