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For love of Fish Tacos – South California

For love of Fish Tacos – South California

Southern California is a place of variety of food. Its cuisines are influenced from many different cultures like Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Soul and Filipino. It is the birthplace of many American fast foods. If you want to really understand the food of South California, you must visit a farmer’s market or interact with the top celebrity chefs and the people with a lot of experience and contacts in the food business as they pick up the best organic produce.  There are many famous restaurants chains in South California which sell self -innovated ultra-fresh Californian cuisines. The Californian people are usually very health conscious and lead a healthy lifestyle which promotes the production of fresh organic vegetables, fruits and meat. Battered and fried foods are not so common in California but there are certain exceptions like the Fish tacos, French Fries and Tempura.


California was once a Spanish Colony and has a long Mexican territorial history. There are a large number of Mexicans, Meso-Americans and other people with Mexican roots that reside in California. Thus, the cuisines of Southern California have a fair amount of Latin influence among them. There are number of Latin dishes which are very famous at this place. Dishes like Burritos, Nachos, Tacos, Tortas, etc. are very popular among the locals. There are countless Tacos shops one may find in Southern California.


Taco is a Mexican dish made up of corn or wheat Tortilla folded or rolled around a filling. The filling could be of different varieties like cheese, vegetables, pork, beef, etc. Fish tacos are a typical and ultimate dish of California but there origin is said to be from Bajar California, the northern most state of Mexico. Firstly burgers then pizzas, the chefs of America are now obsessed with Fish Tacos.  Its recipe had evolved through the past 10 years. People say that Ralph Rubio of the Rubio chain was the one who introduced Fish tacos to South California. He tasted it at a local Baja vendor shop and returned in 1983 to build a taco empire in California. Fish taco is the favourite grab and go meal for the surfers. It is made of a double layer of steamy corn tortilla with grilled or fried fish, bright red tomatoes and cabbage shreds. There are thousands of taco eaters in California each with their own unique taste and style.


The recipe of Fish Taco includes white-fleshed fish, shredded cabbage and creamy white sauce. Together these three are known as the holy fish-taco trinity. Any alterations made in the originals self of them may change the true form of the dish itself. There are some common mistakes which are made while preparing fish taco which may change the dish to its core. There are certain fixed rules which must be followed while preparing fish taco. Firstly, you must beer batter the fish. There must be no grilling, no baking and most importantly, no blackening of the fish. Secondly, the cabbage must be shredded extremely fine. You may use a mandolin for this purpose. At the last, the most important and difficult thing that should be kept in mind is that, you must press your tortillas and they should be just 4 inches in diameter. It is better to prepare it at home than to buy from stores. The tortillas size should be just enough that the end of the dried fish may poke out decently form one of its ends.


The ingredients for making a Fish Taco include 2 cups of Maseca, 1 ¼ teaspoon salt or according to taste, ½ cup mayonnalse, ½ cup Mexican crème or sour cream, ¼ cup whole milk, 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce or according to taste, 1 small garlic clove, 3 limes, 1 quart canola or vegetable oil, 2 cups all- purpose flour, one 12 –ounce bottle Negra Modelo or other lager, 1 pound firm white fish fillets cut into 3 inch by ¾ inch strips, ¼ small head green cabbage, 1 ripe avocado – thinly sliced and 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves.


Mix the Maseca, ¼ teaspoon of salt and 1 ¼ cup of water in a bowl and stir it well. Make sure the dough it not dry and doesn’t crumble. Stir it well and gently kneed it for 2 minutes. Make 16 balls of dough of 1 ½ inches of diameter approximately. Cover them with damp cloth so that they remain moist. Take the tortilla press and line it with two sheets of plastic. Place the dough ball in it one by one and press it so that it becomes 4 inches in diameter. Put the frying pan over medium high heat. Cook the tortillas from both sides for about 50 seconds. Do the same with all other tortillas.Now you must prepare the sauce. Take the mayonnaise, crèma, milk, Sriracha, garlic and juice of ½ slice of lime in a small bowl and mix them well. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Cut the remaining 2 ½ slice of mile into wedges.


Now, take a deep pot and heat the oil in it to 350 F. Take another medium bowl and put together the flour, beer and 1 teaspoon salt and mix them well. Make sure the mixture should have the texture of a pancake batter. When the oil is hot enough, dip the fish in the batter and fry it for 2-3 min till it becomes golden brown. Season it with salt after draining it with a paper towel. Now, place a fish in each tortilla and arrange them in a serving plate. Do the topping of each taco with finely shredded cabbage and apply a drench of sauce too. Also add a slice of avocado and a few cilantro leaves. It is served best with lime wedges and cold beer.


There are many restaurant chains in South California which offers the most delicious Fish tacos one can ever taste. One among them is Mama Testa Taqueria, known for its authentic Mexican taste. It offers “Guerrero Style” Fish Taco which is fried but not quite crunchy. It is mandatory for any fish lover to visit it once. If you want to have Fish taco at a fancy restaurant, George’s Ocean terrace is worth your money and appetite. Its fish taco just melts in the mouth and is served at lunch and as an appetizer at dinner.

About apurva kushwaha

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