I received a request for a fish taco recipe. The requester also specified that she prefers non-battered fish, but I wasn’t sure I could comply with that request at the risk of making sub-par tacos. Instead, I decided to try a tempura style batter, which would give the fish a very thin, low-calorie, layer of batter, while still allowing the natural flavors of the fish to come through. This recipe is the best of all worlds – light, but still fried so the fish is soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and holds together.
You can also try making this recipe without the batter by simply seasoning the fish with the spices for grilling or pan frying in order to cut out even more calories, but you will run into a problem trying to keep the fish from falling apart.
Makes enough for 6 – 8 tacos.
Total calories of fish = 620 cal.
Total calories of fish w/ taco shells = 980 – 1100 cal.
Calories per serving = 6 tacos at 160 calories each | 8 tacos at 138 calories each
- 12 oz. of tilapia or 4 tilapia fillets (about 100 cal. per 4 oz. or 300 cal. total)
Substitute: Any kind of white fish like cod, mahi mahi, etc.
- 1/4 cup of all purpose flour (about 100 cal.)
- 1/8 cup corn starch (about 30 cal. per tablespoon or 60 cal. total)
- 1/2 cup seltzer water/club soda
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (you can salt after cooking too if you need more)
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 cup of corn or vegetable oil (120 cal. per tablespoon or 480 cal. total)
- Hard and/or soft corn tacos (about 60 cal. each)
Calorie Count Note: As far as calories go, only half of the oil is absorbed, so only count about 240 cal. and for the batter (160 cal. total) only about 1/3 or 1/2 at most is used, so only count 55 – 80 cal.
- Small frying pan
Note: You could use a larger pan, but this will spread out the oil and you will have to use more oil. Keeping the pan smaller allows you to use less oil and still get a good fry.
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Large mixing bowl
- Spatula or heat resistant tongs
- Heat-resistant plate
- A few paper towel sheets
- Rinse the fish fillets and cut them into 2-inch pieces.
- Combine the flour, corn starch, salt, pepper, parsley, onion powder, and garlic powder in a large bowl and mix.
- Add the seltzer to the bowl and mix the ingredients until everything dissolves in the seltzer, but don’t mix too hard or you’ll lose all of the bubbles.
- Place the oil into the frying pan and set the stove for medium-high heat.
- Dredge the fish in the bowl and mix so that each piece of fish is coated with the batter.
- When the oil is hot and ready (you can tell when the oil sort of shimmers in the pan) place as many pieces of fish as you can in the pan without the pieces touching. If they touch, they will tend to stick together and that can get annoying.
- After a few minutes (around 3) in the pan, turn the fish over and fry on the other side.
- When the batter is a deep golden brown, remove the fish from the pan and place on a plate with a paper towel to absorb some of the excess oil. This keeps the fish crispier longer.
- Add more fish to the pan if there is more fish that needs cooking.
- Once all the fish is fried, use about 3 or 4 pieces of fish per hard/soft taco.
Note: For soft corn tacos, a quick tip for making them a little bit more flexible and delicious is to wrap up a few in a damp (not wet), paper towel and then microwave them for 45 seconds to a minute.
- Try topping the fish taco with fresh pico de gallo salsa (click here for my recipe), shredded lettuce, and serve with a lime wedge to add a little citrus to each taco.
- You can also add shredded cheese, sour cream, and/or guacamole to really mix and match ingredients for completely different flavors.
- Also try serving along with Chipotle Pinto Beans (see my recipe here).