Back when I was living in Antwerp, I went to ‘Barrio Cantina – Food Truck Festival‘, where I not only met amazing people but also tasted some great food. At the recommendation of my best friend Pierre I went to try a fish burger at ‘Jean Sur Mer’ (anything that rhymes must be good, right?), which turned out to be pure heaven. I actually went home regretting that I didn’t eat another one and hoping I would one day be able to eat it again. But then I moved to Ireland and I never really got to taste that unbelievable crispy fish again. Luckily for me Jean has since then launched his own brand of fish batter, to make your own ‘kibbeling’, which is white fish dipped in batter and then fried.
After receiving the flour to make the batter, I knew right away what I was going to make with it: fried fish taco’s! I had never made it or even eaten fish taco’s but it’s something that I wanted to try for a while now. Now strangely enough I have been living her for over a year now without actually owning a deep fryer but luckily Elisah (Jean’s lovely wife) suggested I’d try it in a wok instead and the result was really great. I somehow felt it was a lot healthier as well instead of using fat I just used some good quality olive oil to fry my fish in.
I wanted to make really colourful fish taco’s that were quite basic but still had a bit of a special edge to them so I went with fried hake, pickled carrots and cabbage, red onion, crispy radishes and mango with a very easy dressing made of sour cream and avocado. It may sound complicated but it actually is a very basic and easy recipe, it takes barely any prep work, and frying the fish only takes a couple of minutes.
When you make this, try and pay a visit to your local fishmonger instead of buying fish from the supermarket, it will be fresher and of such high quality and you can ask them to remove the grates & skin, which is a much welcomed gift when making fried fish as you really want there to be no grates inside.
Since Jean Sur Mer’s batter isn’t available in Ireland you can replace it by using all purpose flour.
Serves: 4 people
- 500g hake
- 100g all purpose flour or Jean Sur Mer’s Kibbelingdough
- 2 avocados
- 200ml sour cream
- 100ml pale ale or sparkling water
- 2 carrots
- 12 small soft tortillas (tip: try ‘Wahaca Flour & Corn Tortillas’ from Tesco)
- 12 washed radishes
- 2 mangos
- 1 lime
- 1 small green cabbage
- 100ml white wine vinegar
- 1 red onion
- 80g of sugar
- 100ml still water
- handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
- salt and pepper
Let’s start with pickling our cabbage and carrots, which you ideally should do at least 2 hours – 1 day ahead. Simply peel the carrots and slice them in julienne (thin strips). Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut the core out and slice the cabbage up thinly as well and put both in a jar. Mix the vinegar with sugar and still water really well and add it to your sliced carrots and cabbage, close your jar and shake shake shake. Put in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Next up is our dressing, which you should not make beforehand at all as the avocado will start to brown if you wait too long so make this just before you start with the fish. Mix your avocados with the juice of 1/2 lime, cumin, garlic powder and sour cream and keep mixing until you have a smooth mixture with no chunks. To keep it fresh as long as possible you can put the avocado pits in the sauce, but the lime juice will already help a lot too.
Slice up the red onion and radishes in thin slices and set aside. Slice up the mangos and put aside as well. The best way to slice up a mango is to firstly not peel it until you have sliced it up completelt as it will be to slippery otherwise and also not try to cut it through the middle as the pit will be in the way, but try to slice of the cheeks first and then work your way around the pit. Put the taco’s ready in the microwave but don’t start it yet as this only takes 45 seconds to heat!
Now moving on to our fish. Slice it up in small chunks of about 5cm. Mix the flour with the ale or sparkling water until you have a smooth batter and season with pepper and salt if you are using plain flour. Don’t worry if it looks a bit thick, we don’t want this to be too liquid as it won’t stick on the fish if it is. Dip & roll the fish around in the batter and place them in a bowl right next to your deep fryer or wok. If you are using a deep fryer: heat it up to 180°. If you are using a wok, add a good layer of olive oil (should be about half the height of the fish so 2 cm) and heat at high heat. Test it by dropping a tiny drop of batter to see if it gets fried right away.
Put the fish in the basket or wok and shake it right away, this will prevent it from sticking to the bottom. The fish only has to be fried very shortly, until it’s crispy and golden brown.
Turn on the microwave to heat up your taco’s.
The best part about eating taco’s is being able to put all the ingredients together yourself so whether you are eating alone, with a special loved one, friends or family, I would recommend putting everything out on the table: onion, radishes, mango, pickled veggies, fish, sauce, parsley and taco’s and have them put it together themselves as it’s part of the charm!