Cali-Baja Fish Tacos

Cali-Baja Fish Tacos

Tacos de Pescado Cali-Baja
6 Servings
Pati Jinich
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: Antojo, Baja, California, Cod, fish, Mexican, Taco, Tilapia
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Cali-Baja Fish Tacos recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 7, Episode 3 "Ensenada's Epic Seafood"


  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra flour for dusting the fish
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt, or to taste, plus more to season the fish
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup Mexican beer, preferably a light beer (but anything short of a very dark bitter beer will work)
  • Safflower or canola oil for frying
  • 1 pound mild firm white fish, such as cod, haddock, or halibut, cut into 1x4-inch strips
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To Prepare

  • In the bowl of a standing mixer, set with the paddle attachment, beat the egg whites at medium speed until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
  • In another bowl, combine the all-purpose flour with the salt and cumin and whisk in the Mexican beer. In 4 additions, gently fold the flour mixture into the egg whites, taking care not to deflate the egg whites.
  • Pour the oil into a heavy, wide skillet or casserole to a depth of ¼” and heat over medium heat for at least 5 minutes. Test the heat by dipping a wooden spoon or the tip of a piece of fish into the oil: it should bubble happily around whatever you introduce into it. Set a cooling rack on a baking sheet and cover the rack with paper towels. If you don’t have a cooling rack, just cover the baking sheet with paper towels.
  • While the oil is heating, you can season and flour the fish strips. Season them lightly with salt and pepper. Place flour on a plate, and gently press each fish strip into the flour, flip over and flour the other side. Tap off excess flour and place on the rack.
  • When the oil is hot, one by one, dip the floured fish strips into the batter and immediately, but gently, place into the hot oil. Add as many as you can without crowding the pan. Fry until crisp and lightly golden brown, which should take 2 to 3 minutes; then flip and fry on the other side, for another 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp and lightly golden.
  • Remove with tongs - the type with the heat-proof coating on the ends are best, if you want to avoid tearing the batter - or a slotted spoon and place on the paper towel-covered rack. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Serve on a flour tortilla with salsa macha and creamy slaw. Optional, pickled red onion and a jalapeño marinated in fresh squeezed lime juice and salt to taste.

64 comments on “Cali-Baja Fish Tacos

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  1. Pati, these are hands down the best fish tacos I have tried both in SoCal and Mexico-los mejores de los mejores! I’m a little lazy to do things like whip egg whites, but it absolutely makes a difference. The Salsa Macha is my new favorite on ANYTHING, and the pickled onions were already a secret weapon since you published the Pollo Pibil recipe some years ago. El unico cambio? Tienen que ser con unas buenas tortillas de maiz (my personal preference).
    I have three boys similar to yours in ages, and your tv show is one of the few that we sometimes watch together, both for the delicious food and the rich stories and heritage behind it. Gracias por hacer un programa tan lleno de orgullo y amor por Mexico, y por ser una persona digna de representar a su pais y ser una liga entre los ciudadanos de los dos lados. Te mando un abrazo y muchas porras para seguir adelante!

    1. Te agradezco muchisimo las porras y tus lindas palabras, que amable! Me encanta saber que les gustaron estos tacos, les mando abrazos a todos 😉

  2. I love you pati !!! I’m a big fan!! I’ve been watching you for a long time !!! I saw you when you came to San Antonio,,,, Elian Hotel & Spa
    You even signed my cookbook! 😍 I have some pictures too!! 💙💙
    I will be cooking this recipe this weekend!!! 🐟 I love ingredients you can drink! 😂🍺
    Big Love hugs from SAN ANTONIO!!!

  3. Hi Patti,
    Just made the fish tacos with all the garnishes you recommended. WOW, what an amazing dish. My man and I were overwhelmed with the explosion of flavors! Thank you.

  4. Hola Patti….going for it for dinner tonight. I just don’t have the salsa matcha. I do; however, have my own canned 💃 salsa. We make our own flour tortillas (gonna use corn though)…..😜 crazy thing I’ve never had a fish 🌮. The hubby asked me to make some so naturally I am leaning towards your recipe.. Wish me luck! Hope all is well with you. Stay safe.

  5. Hi Pati

    My wife Carolyn and i love you and your show. Cannot wait to try try your beer batter the next time with have fish.

    1. Hi Don and Carolyn, thanks for tuning in guys! Hope you will do as well for the big premiere of the New Season from Sonora this October 3, enjoy!

  6. Hi Pati! Thank you for teaching us about the different cuisines of México and inspiring us all to love Mexican cuisine as much as you do! Even though Mexican ingredients are hard to find here in Australia, tracking them down is worth it because the end result is always great.

    I was just curious as to why you have opted for flour tortillas for the recipe? Is this the traditional tortilla used in Ensenada fish tacos? Is it because they prefer flour tortilla in the North? Or is it American influence since Baja borders California? Anyhow, I’m sure it’s delicious with both corn or flour 😊

    1. Hola Daniel and greetings to Australia! About the flour tortillas, I think it is a bit of everything you say, but definitely flour is more popular than corn in the North of Mexico. Keep cooking and having fun 😉

  7. Enjoy your show. Love your recipes. Easy and simple to make using fresh ingredients. Always so tasty.

  8. Dear Pati,
    On this episode, you spoke to a woman who makes the fish tacos and sells them from her cart. I think you said she includes grated garlic in her batter. Did I understand that correctly? I love your batter recipe, but would love a little more info about it with garlic. Thank you!

    1. Yes Mary, I spoke to Martha from Lily’s Tacos, she adds garlic and onion to her batter and also a bit of mustard, those are her secrets. Enjoy!

  9. Señora bella, I love your recipes and they are easy to follow, the fish taco batter is excellent. My family loves everything I cook from your authentically delicious selections. One question, the beautiful braising is the larger size I’m looking for. Is it Le Creuset? What size? Thank you 😊

  10. The best fish tacos. The beer makes the batter like pancake batter, thus making the fish crust fluffy and crispy good. My go to for veggies and shrimp, too. Gracias, Marcela.

  11. Watched you making this recipe on your show. My husband and I can’t wait to make this! Looks amazing!
    Happy Mother’s Day Pati

  12. This is just the best batter for fish tacos…
    Like others have said, try it with shrimp, too.
    Salmon is also delicious.

  13. Just saw the episode that has this recipe but where can I find the recipe for the tortilla?
    We’re going to try this recipe asap.

  14. I don’t like to use the suggested oils …,what other oil could I use to deep fry the fish – Thank you for any direction you can give me

  15. These were simply amazing! Ive made them with shrimp also and they were just as good. I went to a mexican restaurant and ordered these. How disappointing! Just fish and tartar sauce…. they should use your recipe!!!!

  16. I loved it!Me and my brother wanted to make it so badly but my mom said NO.You are the best mexican cook i ever saw on the TV before!It is so hard to describe you !

  17. Best find from this great recipe was the salsa macha. WOW! What flavor. I’m going to keep a pot of this in the fridge for quick chicken, sweet potato and sweet pepper bowls. This satisfied all our umami tastebuds. Thanks Pati!!

  18. It’s funny that I accidentally made these with corn tortillas (hey, my best excuse is that I was recently watching your video about which kind of tortillas are most often used…) and only after serving them I noticed it calls for flour after all!
    Never mind my mistake, they were positively good with flavors working in very delicious complement together.

  19. i like your style and of cooking also, you make cooking look so easy . also like when your boys come eat at table, and you showing them how to cook, make me so hungry. i like your show and everything you cook. is yummy. like your accent too/ and especially the way you say the P word- not going to spell it out. but i love it. admirable

  20. Best fish tacos ever!!! After moving from So Cal to the East Coast my husband and I were craving some authentic food inspired from south of the boarder. As we were randomly flipping through channels we saw you cooking these and and couldn’t stop watching. Thank God for you and your cooking show and your recipies!!! This fish taco recipe was not only simple but also delicious (we used fresh wild caught cod and light corona). Even my 2 year old loved it! Thank you thank you, I’m excited to make more of your meals!

  21. My Mom and I love your shows and the recipes! Every Saturday we watch then Sunday we try. Some weeks are more successful than others, but we always have fun. It’s a great way to spend time with my Mom!

  22. the best fish taco batter EVER… I used fresh salmon filet, cut as directed, and it was excellent!
    We just moved to Idaho from San Diego and miss the great fish (and shrimp) tacos from some of the local spots.
    The slaw mix was perfect, too. Actually had people talking about how good the slaw was.
    Only change I made was for the salsa macha. I wasn’t ambitious enough to make it, so I used one of my favorite “off the rack” salsas; Herdez Salsa Ranchera. Wanted shrimp tacos, too, and I had enough batter left over to do some shrimp, too. Taco Tuesday was a hit.

  23. Wow you are “maravillosa” love the recipes but more than anything the way you present them that makes my mouth watery. Love the accent and the and the sprinkle of Spanish words…delightful

  24. I live in Colorado and we do not have a good selection of fresh fish at our market. Can I use frozen filets or would you recommend only fresh fish?

  25. We record all the shows. Wife knows I’m in love with Pati and doesn’t care because everyone’s in love with Pati and her cooking…
    There isn’t ‘1’ recipe that we have tried that we weren’t blown away by. Looking forward to trying so many more.

    Thank you… and don’t stop sharing..

  26. I love your wonderful dishes. Living in Texas all my life and I have never found such a good recipe for fish tacos. I’m going to try, one time I made a fish fry using beer batter that was my wife’s recipe. It was quick and easy but it was the best batter! Your version looks lighter and puffy. Now I’m inspired to make my own flour tortillas. I want to try them with butter and salt too!