I grew up in a big family, and with so many kids we had a lot of dinners where everybody could construct their own meal, catering to their likes and dislikes. Burgers, kebabs and even teppanyaki were regularly on the menu, but I always loved taco night. In New Zealand of the ’80s and ’90s, Mexican food was almost exclusively made from ‘Old El Paso’ brand ingredients, and while it was worlds away from authentic Mexican food, we loved it.
Since then, I’ve had the chance to try loads of stunning, flavoursome Mexican food, far beyond the packet mixes I grew up with. One of my absolute favourites is the wonderfully chewy soft tacos of Baja California, loaded up with spicy fish, fresh herbs and lime. While my recipe for Chilli Lime Fish Tacos is not strictly traditional, it is truly delicious and a fantastic quick and easy weeknight dinner.
This is also an incredibly simple way to cook fish. Rubbed with a spice mix and quickly roasted in the oven, the fish stays beautiful and moist, and needs absolutely no attention, which means you can get on with the other prep. While you could present an Instagram-worthy platter of pre-made tacos at the table, I think it’s far better to bring all the ingredients to the table and let everyone create their own. This way the fish stays hot, the chef stays relaxed and everybody gets exactly what they want.
What’s your favourite taco filling? Let me know in the comments below! Take care out there, and happy cooking! x J
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
for the fish
- 2 white fish fillets, approx. 175g each
- 1 tsp sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp spicy paprika
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
for the tacos
- 12 small or 6 large flour tortillas (see note)
- 2 small baby gem lettuces, shredded
- ¼ small red cabbage, shredded
- 1 large, ripe mango, cut into small cubes
- small bunch fresh coriander / cilantro, leaves only
- pickled jalapeños, to taste
- 200ml sour cream
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ½ tsp sea salt
- fresh lime slices
Heat the oven to 220°C / 425°F / Gas 7. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Lay the fish fillets on the baking paper and season with the salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Sift over the cumin and paprika and sprinkle over the chilli flakes. Drizzle with the olive oil, rubbing it into the fillets to cover. Roast in the preheated oven for 12 minutes until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
Meanwhile, wrap the tortillas in tin foil and place in the oven with the fish to warm. Prepare all your vegetables, stir the sour cream, garlic and salt together to make the sauce, and arrange on a nice platter with the coriander and jalapeños.
When the fish has cooked, flake into large chunks and serve immediately with the tortillas and fillings. Spread each tortilla with a spoonful of the yoghurt sauce, then top with lettuce, cabbage, fish, coriander and mango. Add jalapeños to taste and spoon over a little of the mango. I prefer to let everyone fill their own tacos, that way everything stays nice and hot.
I like to use small tortillas for fish tacos as they are easier to handle If you buy large tortillas, cut 2 smaller circles out of them using a small bowl or plate as a guide.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 969Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 2793mgCarbohydrates: 125gFiber: 13gSugar: 30gProtein: 40g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How can I tell when the fish is cooked?
Use two forks to gently pull the fish apart, if it flakes easily it is cooked through. A standard thickness of fish will take 10-12 minutes, a thicker fillet of firmer fish such as barramundi (yum!) or swordfish will need a bit longer.
I’m calorie counting! Can I replace the sour cream?
Sure! Use natural yoghurt instead.
Mango isn’t in season at the moment! What can I substitute?
Any sweet fruit is good here, I like peaches, but you could even use a mango chutney or similar.