Cali-Baja Fish Tacos

Pati makes a fish taco reminiscent of one she had in Baja California inside the town of Ensenada, where the Baja-fashion fish taco is stated to have originated. Her recipe is available in English and Spanish, see hyperlinks underneath…

Cali-Baja Fish Tacos
Cali-Baja Fish Tacos


  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour plus extra flour for dusting the fish
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt or to taste plus more to season the fish
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup Mexican beer preferably a light beer (but anything short of a very dark bitter beer will work)
  • Safflower or canola oil for frying
  • 1 pound mild firm white fish such as cod, haddock, or halibut, cut into 1×4-inch strips
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

To Prepare

Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0% FullscreenWatch the “Pati’s Mexican Table” episode featuring this recipe.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, set with the paddle attachment, beat the egg whites at medium speed until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

In another bowl, combine the all-purpose flour with the salt and cumin and whisk in the Mexican beer. In 4 additions, gently fold the flour mixture into the egg whites, taking care not to deflate the egg whites.

Pour the oil into a heavy, wide skillet or casserole to a depth of ¼” and heat over medium heat for at least 5 minutes. Test the heat by dipping a wooden spoon or the tip of a piece of fish into the oil: it should bubble happily around whatever you introduce into it. Set a cooling rack on a baking sheet and cover the rack with paper towels. If you don’t have a cooling rack, just cover the baking sheet with paper towels.

While the oil is heating, you can season and flour the fish strips. Season them lightly with salt and pepper. Place flour on a plate, and gently press each fish strip into the flour, flip over and flour the other side. Tap off excess flour and place on the rack.

When the oil is hot, one by one, dip the floured fish strips into the batter and immediately, but gently, place into the hot oil. Add as many as you can without crowding the pan. Fry until crisp and lightly golden brown, which should take 2 to 3 minutes; then flip and fry on the other side, for another 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp and lightly golden.

Remove with tongs – the type with the heat-proof coating on the ends is best if you want to avoid tearing the batter – or a slotted spoon and place it on the paper towel-covered rack. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Serve on a flour tortilla with salsa macha and creamy slaw. Optional, pickled red onion and a jalapeño marinated in fresh squeezed lime juice and salt to taste.COMMENT

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