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Fish Tacos with Chipotle Tortillas

February 21, 2007

Fish Tacos

I first started making these fish tacos in college. I think I found the recipe in some local newspaper or something, I don’t remember where. Of course, there are more fish taco recipes in existence than I’m capable of counting, and people have strong preferences about whether the fish should be fried or sauteed, or topped with cabbage, or with white sauce or salsa or just lime juice and on and on and on. I like this recipe because it’s incredibly simple and light. Growing up in San Diego, I don’t recall eating fried fish tacos, but then again, I didn’t eat many fish tacos at all. I didn’t really cultivate a taste for fish until I was much older.

When I’ve made these in the past, I didn’t actually serve them topped with anything, but the white sauce recipe from The Paupered Chef sounded like an excellent addition. I also used their recipe for tortillas, the same recipe I used last time I made them, with a slight modification: I added some chipotles for some color and a little kick. This was a super excellent dinner.

Stack of chipotle tortillas

As I said last time, tortillas are not that difficult to make by hand. It took me about an hour all together–the most time consuming part is rolling them out. Considering how much better they are than store-bought tortillas, I think it’s worth taking an hour on a Sunday afternoon or something to make your own. Of course, you do have to buy lard.

The only slight difficulty I ran into this time was that adding the chipotles had the unintended effect of making the dough a smidge wetter than last time, which of course made me worry that they wouldn’t roll out well or cook right or something. After letting the dough rest for fifteen minutes, though, it was fine.

Because the recipe is so simple and basic, I will repeat it very quickly here:

Mix 3 cups of flour and a tablespoon of salt in a large bowl. Add a little less than 1/2 a cup of lard, and break it up with your fingers, coating the lard with the flour mix, until the mixture resemble course sand or pebbles. Add 1 1/4 cup of warm water, a bit at a time, until it forms a dough. If you want to add chipotles, add them with the water. I just took three chipotles, with a bit of the adobo sauce, and mashed it into a paste with the back of a spoon.

Chipotle paste

Turn the dough out on to a floured surface, and roll it into a long, 3-inch log. Separate the dough into 16 small balls, and let them rest for about 15 minutes. Then, roll each ball into a rough circle, and fry in a skillet for 30 seconds to a minute on each side. Voila–tortillas.

The white sauce was equally easy, and absolutely awesome. I left out the habaneros, because I didn’t have any, and probably could have used a bit more lime juice to change the consistency a bit, but it was good just like this. Of course, I now have a whole lot of it, and absolutely no idea what to use it on besides fish…

Fish Taco White Sauce

  • 1/2 c. plain yogurt
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • juice from 1 or 2 limes (I used 1)
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
  • pepper and salt

White sauce with spices

Mix together the yogurt, mayonnaise, and lime juice until the consistency is slight runny. Then add everything else and stir it all together. You now have sauce for your fish tacos.

The fish takes only about 10 minutes to make. The original recipes calls for two diced tomatoes, as well, but all the tomatoes at the Hippy Mart looked awful, so I decided to forgo them this time around. The fish was perfectly awesome without tomatoes.

Fish Tacos

  • 1 lb. light, white fish fillets (the original recipe calls for red snapper, but they didn’t have it at the market, so I bought haddock)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 pickled jalapenos, drained and diced (I also added a bit of the pickled onion and carrot that was in the can with the jalapenos)
  • 1 T. butter
  • juice of one lime
  • a handful of cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Cut the fish lengthwise into 2-3 strips, then across the grain into about 1 inch pieces.

Combine the chopped onion and jalapenos (and tomatoes, if you’re using them) in a small bowl, and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish, and saute for about 3 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until it’s opaque. Add the onion mixture, and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Then stir in the lime juice and cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste.

Other than making the tortillas, this dinner probably takes less than 20 minutes to put together. Traditionally, fish tacos are served with corn tortillas, so if you use them, just heat them wrapped in tin foil in a 300F oven for about 15 minutes. I’m not a fan of corn tortillas so much, personally, though I might feel differently about them if they were made by hand and not the dried out things in plastic bags at the supermarket.

Fish tacos and Dos X made me feel like it was almost summer. That, and the 45 degree weather we had yesterday! I know I’m turning into a true New Englander when I think 45 degrees is warm. Dang.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 18, 2009 6:15 pm

    I love fish tacos!

    Taco Fish La Paz in Guadalajara, Mexico has a stand on Avenida La Paz in Guadalajara sounds like ‘Taco Nirvana’.

    My experience in Mexico is that some of the best places to eat are those that are off the beaten path that the locals frequent.

    I’ve been looking for good places to eat in Guadalajara and Taco Fish La Paz in Guadalajara sounds like just the place.

    Fortunately, I live in Ajijic, Jalisco so the trip is a short one.

    My mouth is watering,


    Joe Chapala
    Casa Preciosa Ajijic, Mexico

    P.S. The Chipotle Tortillas sound like a great idea. I’ll have to try them out.

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