Quick and easy to prepare, these tacos are a classic example of modern Mexican food. Originally, a tempura-style batter was introduced to Baja Peninsula by Japanese immigrants, but this soon morphed into a beer batter.
- 125 ml (½ cup) aïoli
- 125 ml (½ cup) sour cream
- ½ cup thinly sliced white cabbage
- ½ cup thinly sliced red cabbage
- ½ cup of julienned carrot
- ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander
- vegetable oil, to deep fry
- 50 g (⅓ cup) plain flour
- 500 g boneless, skinless fish fillets like snapper or barramundi, cut into 8 cm x 2 cm strips
- limes wedges, to serve
- salsa picante (hot sauce), to serve
- 225 g bread flour, plus extra to dust
- 60 g lard (see Note)
- ½ tsp salt
- 80–100 ml warm water
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp fresh black pepper
- 200 g (1⅓ cups) plain flour, sifted
- 1 scant tsp baking powder
- 375 ml beer
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 30 minutes
To prepare the tortillas, mix the flour and lard together, by rubbing the mixture between your fingertips until combined. Add the salt and then slowly add most of the water. Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together, adding the remaining water if the dough looks dry. Turn out onto a floured bench and knead for 4–5 minutes until smooth. Divide the dough into 12 equal size balls, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Dust a work surface with flour. Flatten each ball with your hands, then, using a rolling pin, roll into 15 cm rounds. Heat a small frying pan over high heat. Place a tortilla in the dry pan and cook for 45–55 seconds until small spots appear on the underside. Flip and cook for a further 30–45 seconds until the tortilla puffs up and small brown spots appear on that side also. Place in a tea towel to keep warm. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
Prepare the beer batter by combining all the dry ingredients, then whisking in the beer until smooth.
Combine the aïoli and sour cream, season and place in a serving bowl. Toss the cabbage, carrot, onion and coriander together and place in a serving bowl.
Heat 10 cm oil in a deep saucepan to 180˚C. Coat the fish pieces lightly in flour, then dip into the batter, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl. Gently lower into the oil and cook for 3–4 minutes until golden. Drain on paper towel and keep warm while you cook the remaining fish.
Arrange all the elements on the table and allow guests to build their tacos to taste. Serve with lime wedges and salsa picante.
• You can replace the lard with vegetable shortening for a vegetarian tortilla.
Photographs by Benito Martin. Styling by Jerrie-Joy Redman-Lloyd. Table by Ici et La.