Guys! It’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged. These past few months have been crazy hectic. Between writing a grant application, lent, planning an anniversary trip, taking the anniversary trip to Italy, and returning to school for the last month before finals, my schedule has been packed to the seams.
Thankfully, it has all been worth it! But I have been left feeling a little dazed and I’ve had very little time for myself. So let’s tackle these updates one at a time, and then I will share one of my favorite fish taco recipes with you right in time for Cinco de Mayo. Scroll down if you want to go straight to the recipe.
- Grant: I was recently awarded a grant with Fund for Teachers to travel to Mexico this summer to study the connection between language, food and culture. My partner and I will travel to different states in central Mexico to learn about various regional cuisines, the impact of colonization and globalization on Mexican cooking, and the role of food in the formation of a national identity, all while looking for ways to implement this knowledge into a food unit for our classes when we return to the U.S. It is VERY exciting stuff! Can’t wait to bring back this knowledge and to marry two of my greatest passions: education and cooking!
- Lent: I tend to dial things down during lent, as far as food is concerned, in an effort to have more time to spend reading the bible and praying. Things stayed somewhat active on Instagram this year, but sadly, not so much on the blog, since it felt weird to blog about rich and delicious foods that I was fasting from at that time. I am so glad for the time to turn inward and to spend time with God but also excited to invest time into sharing delicious foods with you again.
- Trip: I traveled to Italy during April Break and it was AMAZING! I had never been to a country where I didn’t speak the language, so it was my first time truly feeling like a foreigner or tourist. I had a 90-day Duolingo streak in the months leading up to the Italy trip and it was one of the most consistent activities of my life. I just learned the basics, but my limited Italian came in super handy during the trip. I ate some of the best meals during that week that I hope to recreate here in the weeks to come.
- School: I am in the last weeks of teaching here at school, so things are hectic as students begin to prepare for final exams and I continue to think of ways to teach more effectively. I’m so excited to try a few new review strategies I came up with during break.
Phew! That was a lot of information to share, and I plan to share in a lot more detail soon, but for now, I want to return to one of my favorite topics: food. Specifically, tacos!
My husband is not a huge cook, but there are a handful of dishes that he can make better than me: Asian stir fries, Korean bbq, and fish tacos. Even though I am the Mexican in our household, I have never been to Baja Mexico and have not eaten authentic fish tacos. John, on the other hand, lived in Ensenada for a few weeks in college, making him the resident fish taco expert in our home. BUT–this recipe recently dethroned his reigning rule as head fish taco connoisseur.
These tacos are a perfect marriage (hehe) of our cuisines. The fish is fried in tempura, because tempura is the best flour to fry things in, obviously. The tacos are then topped with the traditional mayo sauce, cabbage, and a brand new addition: kimchi de gallo! Kimchi de gallo is essentially, pico de gallo with kimchi. The kimchi goes well with the tanginess of the tomatoes and lime and puts a fun new twist on a mexican classic.
These fish tacos are crunchy, juicy, crispy, kimchi-ee, and just overall amazing. Give them a go this summer and let me know how they turn out!
Frying: I am not an expert at frying so I’ll recommend some tips and tricks based on what I’ve learned. Tip 1: Your oil needs to be VERY hot. I recommend having a thermometer if you want your fish to fry well. Tip 2: A slotted metal ladle like this one is very helpful to get the fish out of the oil quickly, although good ole tongs will also work in a pinch. Finally, you also want to set your hot fish on a metal rack so that the oil can drip off while keeping the fish crispy. As far as fish is concerned, I’ve used tilapia, haddock and cod and they’ve all been tasty in different ways so feel free to use your favorite white fish here.
Tempura Fish Tacos
Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 1 cup tempura mix
- Cold water
- 1 lb of fish filets, cut into taco size strips (3-4 inches)
- Corn tortillas
- Salt and pepper
Kimchi de Gallo:
- ½ cup of kimchi, diced into small pieces,
- ¼ cup cilantro, finely minced,
- 2 tablespoons, finely minced jalapeño
- ¼ cup onion
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salt if needed (kimchi is already salt so try the KdG before adding)
Fish Taco Crema:
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup of mayonnaise
- Dash of black pepper
- Dash of salt
- 1 cup of cabbage, finely sliced
- ½ cup of boiling water
- ¼ cup of white vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Combine boiling water, vinegar, cabbage, salt and pepper in a heatproof container and allow to rest for at least one hour.
- To make crema, combine one-to-one portions of sour cream and mayonnaise along with a little bit of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Mix and set aside.
- For Kimchi de gallo, combine kimchi, cilantro, onion, jalapeño and lime juice in a small bowl and mix. Taste and add salt if needed.
- In a thick-bottomed pan, add enough oil to fill the bottom inch or two of the pan, then heat to 350 degrees. While oil is heating, prepare tempura mix according to directions on the bag or use your favorite fish fry.
- Once batter is ready, pat fish fillets dry using a paper towel, season with salt and pepper, and coat with a light dusting of flour. Then dunk fish in batter and add to hot oil, leaving enough room to prevent fish filets from touching. Fry until golden brown on both sides.
- When the fish is fully cooked, place fried fish on an elevated wire rack with paper towels underneath to catch oil while keeping fish crispy.
- Heat corn tortillas in the oven or on a comal until warm and pliable.
- Once the fish is ready, add one or two strips of fish to your tortillas and serve with kimchi de gallo, crema, and slaw.