Fish Tacos Recipe

Crunchy, vodka-battered fried fish is eternally flawless enveloped by homemade, fresh corn tortillas and topped with a vibrant slaw and fresh salsa.
Photo by Derek Gardner

Makes about 30 tacos
Prep time: 45 minutes 
Total time: 2 hours 


for the chipotle mayo: 
1 cups|205 grams mayonnaise
3 tablespoons chipotle in adobo
½ tablespoon lime juice 
kosher salt, to taste 


for the salsa verde cruda: 
5 tomatillos, quartered 
1 bunch cilantro
1 garlic clove 
¼ serrano chile 
¼ white onion, peeled 
kosher salt, to taste

for the pico de gallo: 
1 serrano chile, minced 
½ red onion, minced
¼ bunch cilantro, minced 
olive oil, as needed 
kosher salt, to taste 

for the coleslaw: 
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly julienned
¼ head green cabbage, thinly sliced
¼ head purple cabbage, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
kosher salt, to taste 

for the tortillas:
2 cups|265 grams masa, preferably Maseca
3 tablespoons canola oil 

for the fish: 
2 ¾ cups|400 grams rice flour, plus more, for dredging  
¾ cup|100 grams gluten-free flour 
2 tablespoons potato starch
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon paprika 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cayenne 
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1 (12-ounce|355-ml) bottle sparkling water, such as Topo Chico
⅓ cup|80 ml vodka 
1 tablespoon agave 
2 pounds|900 grams boneless, skinless fresh cod or any other fresh white fish such as hake or haddock, portioned into 1-ounce|30-gram pieces 

to finish: 
canola oil, for frying 
cilantro macho leaves
lime wedges


  1. Make the chipotle mayo: Place all of the ingredients in a blender and purée until you have a homogenous sauce. Put in a squeeze bottle and reserve. 
  2. Make the salsa verde cruda: Place all of the ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use. 
  3. Make the pico de gallo: Mix all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and season to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Make the coleslaw: In a large bowl and using your hands, gently massage all of the ingredients together. Season to taste, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Make the tortillas: Combine the masa with 1 ½ cups|375 ml water. Mix thoroughly for 2 minutes until a soft dough forms, then divide into 30 (20-gram) balls. (If the dough feels dry, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time.) 
  6. Cut 2 circles from a plastic bag the same size as your tortilla press. Place one ball of dough in the middle of the plastic circles in a tortilla press and press down, creating a tortilla. Lift the tortilla and rotate it a quarter turn, then press it down again. Do this up to four times until it is an even thickness. 
  7. Heat a comal or large nonstick skillet over medium-high and lightly coat with oil. Add a tortilla to the pan and cook, flipping once, until charred, 1 to 2 minutes, then flip it again to steam the tortilla on the inside, about 1 minute more. At this point the tortilla should blow up a little; if it does this it means you are ready to get married and have a family ;-) Transfer the tortilla to a board and wrap in a dish towel to keep warm. Repeat this process with the rest of the balls. 
  8. Make the fish batter: Mix the rice flour, gluten-free flour, potato starch, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, baking powder, cayenne, and black pepper together in a large bowl. Slowly stream in the sparkling water, whisking to combine, then whisk in the vodka, and finally the agave. You are looking for a smooth batter with no lumps that is thick but still runny. If the batter is too thick, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency. Set aside. 
  9. Make the tacos: Heat 2-inches of oil in a large saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°F. Dredge the pieces of fish in rice flour, shaking off excess, then, using tongs, dip immediately into the batter, then into the oil. Fry until golden, 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a sheet tray lined with paper towels or a baking rack. Season with salt. 
  10. To serve, squeeze some chipotle mayo on a tortilla. Top with a piece of fish, then garnish with the slaw, pico de gallo, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and the salsa. 

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