Milkfish fillets are battered, fried and arranged on warmed tortilla with a salad that’s a cross between Japanese kani salad and cole slaw. Fish taco, Asian style, is wonderful!
Yes, this is another updated recipe. The old one published in November 4, 2011 also had milkfish and an Asian-style salsa but it wasn’t as well executed as I wished.
In that old recipe, the milkfish back fillets were cut into cubes, seasoned and floured before frying. In this new recipe, the fillets were lightly pounded, battered and fried.
Does it make any earthly difference how the fillets are cut?
Well, in this case, yes. Milkfish back fillets are quite fatless and when you cut them too small then fry them, they dry up fast. But coating them in batter saves the day. Even when pounded, the thinner fillets stays more moist because the flavor and juices are trapped beneath the batter.
Doesn’t the batter dilute the seasonings used on the fish fillets? NOT IF you season the batter too.
It starts with a salad on which to lay the fried fish fillet on. If you just wrap fried fish fillet with a tortilla, there’s not much to get excited about. Sauces might help but, still…
This is a simple salad inspired by cole slaw and Japanese kani salad. Thinly sliced cabbage, julienned carrot, wisps of scallions and strips of sweet ripe mango are tossed Japanese mayo, salt and pepper.
Once you’ve made your salad, you can prep the fish.
Place the fish fillets between two sheets of cling film and lightly pound with a mallet. You might want to season the fillets before pounding so that the pounding action embeds the seasonings deep into the fillets.
Pound lightly and carefully. You just want to flatten the fillets. This is fish, not meat, and fish cannot tolerate heavy pounding. Overdo it and the flesh will tear. That will make it extremely difficult to lift them, dip in batter and drop into the hot oil.
Prepare a thin batter by mixing together corn starch, cold water and seasonings. Dip each fillet in batter, allow the excess to drop off then slide the fish into a pan of hot oil.
Fry the fish fillets, in batches in necessary, until golden and crisp. If the temperature of the oil in correct and you do not overcrowd the pan, it takes only to two three minutes to cook the fish.
Warm your tortillas and start assembling the tacos.
Spread some of the lovely salad on the center and top with a fried fish fillet. Drizzle in some Sriracha, sprinkle in finely sliced scallions and enjoy.
For the salad
For the fried fish fillets
- In a bowl, toss together all the ingredients for the salad. For tips on cutting the mango, see the kani salad recipe. Cover the bowl and keep the salad in the fridge while you prepare the fish.
- Line your work surface with cling wrap. Arrange the fish fillets on top. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and cayenne. Cover with another sheet of cling wrap. Using a mallet, lightly pound the fillets to flatten.
- In a bowl, mix the starch, salt and pepper with just enough water to make thin batter.
- Heat enough cooking oil in a wok or frying pan to reach a depth of at least two inches.
- Dip a fish fillet in batter, slide into the hot oil and fry over high heat until golden and crisp, about two two three minutes. Do this one to two pieces at a time to avoid overcrowding the pan.
- Place a warmed tortilla on a plate, spread about two heaping tablespoons of salad on the center then top with a fried fish fillet. Drizzle Sriracha over the fish. Garnish with sliced scallions. Serve at once.
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