In my opinion, fish tacos — of any sort — are always delicious. I mean essentially you can saute or grill up any fish, put it in a tortilla add a few of your favorite toppings and call it a day. But then there are battered fish tacos, called “Baja-style fish tacos” by many, which consist of a lightly battered mild, flakey fish served in a corn tortilla, topped with a creamy sauce, some shredded cabbage, maybe some hot sauce or salsa and always a spritz of lime. It’s said that this style of taco originated in the Mexican state of Baja California and they are now popular all across the U.S.
My mom made a rendition of these growing up, which she titled Beer-Battered Fish Tacos. While she doesn’t recall where she got her original recipe, it was a bottle of beer, some all-purpose flour and some seasoning that she used to batter her fish. If you Google “beer-battered fish tacos” you’ll find a ton of recipes like how she made them growing up for a non-Paleo recipe.
With my mom’s recipe in mind, it occurred to me the other day that I didn’t have a battered fish taco recipe on the blog and I knew I had to start attempting a Paleo rendition of my own! It took me a few tries to get the batter just right, but I still cannot believe how fantastic this Paleo rendition of beer-battered fish tacos turned out. Wow!
Now, to keep things Paleo, I opted to use Topo Chico instead of beer. You can use another sparkling water, but Topo Chico is the bubbliest of all sparkling waters — and my very favorite. Just like beer, the bubbles from the Topo Chico add body and lightness to the batter. I also opted to use a mix of cassava flour + tapioca flour for the breading (along with a few seasonings to add flavor) to keep the recipe grain-free and gluten-free.
The end result, well… you’ll just have to try them out for yourself to know how great they really are! And while the Topo Chico is already out, why not serve these with a Ranch Water or two? Cheers!
Paleo Battered Fish Tacos
For the Batter:
For the Creamy Hot Sauce Slaw:
- 4 tbsp mayo
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp your favorite hot sauce I use El Yucateco. But you could use cholula, sriracha, anything you like here!
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 cups shredded cabbage OR slaw mix
For the Fish Tacos:
- 1.5 lbs skinned halibut or cod, cut into approximately 2-3 inch pieces
- 4 tbsp avocado oil
- 12 tortillas you can use corn or use Siete Foods Grain-Free tortillas to keep these Paleo
- pico de gallo, for serving
- 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
- cilantro, for serving
Make the Batter for the Fish:
- In a large bowl, combine the Topo Chico, cassava flour, tapioca flour, salt, smoked paprika and onion powder. Whisk until well combined. Set aside to thicken up a bit while you prepare the rest! Your batter should feel similar to a pancake batter, It should flow smoothly, a little heavier than chocolate milk, and thinner than cake batter. *please see notes regarding best batter tips below.
Make the Creamy Slaw:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the mayo, lime juice, garlic, hot sauce, and salt until well combined. Do not add the shredded cabbage yet. Set aside.
Cook the Fish:
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add the avocado oil.
- While the oil is heating, take 1/2 of the fish pieces and place them into the batter. Gently toss to coat.
- When the oil is hot and shimmering, but not smoking, use a fork or tongs to pick up one battered fish filet at a time, shaking off any excess batter. Carefully place the filet into the hot oil. You'll want to place just enough fish into the oil without overcrowding the skillet (that means none of the fish should be touching!). Let them fry until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked fish onto a large paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with a little salt. Continue until all of the fish is browned, then begin the second batch.
Serve up the tortillas:
- Meanwhile, while you are frying your fish in batches, char your tortillas. You can do this 2 ways:1. For a Gas Stovetop: Fire up the burners on your stove to the lowest setting. One at a time, carefully place a tortilla directly on the burner and flip after about 45 seconds. As you finish cooking the tortillas, place them onto a towel and close the towel up to steam the tortillas and keep them warm.2. For an Electric Stovetop: Place the tortillas in a dry (no oil) stainless steel skillet over medium heat and cook them for about 30 seconds on each side.
- Right before serving, toss the cabbage in with the creamy dressing you made in the first step until it is well coated.
- Place a small amount of the creamy slaw in the bottom of the charred tortillas, top with a filet (or 2, depending on how big your tortillas are) of the fish. Then garnish with pico de gallo, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. You can always serve with more hot sauce, too, if you want! 😉 Enjoy!
- the temperature of your topo chico makes a difference. If you use a cold topo chico right out of the fridge your recipe will likely turn out perfect. If you use room temperature, your batter might be thinner. you may need 2-3 more tablespoons of cassava to thicken a bit more.
- The brand of cassava flour may change the recipe a tad, too. If your batter is too thin, add 2-4 more tablespoons of cassava. If it's too thick, add 1/4 cup more topo chico!