Recipe: Californian fish tacos

Written by Emma van Leenen | 6 April, 2021

Are you ready to shake up your taco game? Whether you’re looking to stray from the usual beef or chicken filling for health reasons, dietary preferences, or you’re just looking for a new flavour – these Californian fish tacos are sure to do the trick!

This recipe makes enough for 4.


  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 bowl of water
  • A clean tea towel

For the fish:

  • 600 grams whiting tails
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup buckwheat flour

For the mango salsa:

  • 1 ripe, but firm mango, peeled and cut into 0.5cm cubes
  • ½ red onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • ½ bunch coriander, thoroughly washed and finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste

For the guacamole:

  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the crema:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice of 1-2 limes
  • Siracha to taste

Extra bits and bobs:

  • Lime wedges and coriander


  • Start by mixing all the ingredients for the mango salsa together in a bowl and season with salt.
  • Put the ingredients for the guacamole in another bowl and smash the avocado with a fork until you have reached the preferred consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Combine the dry ingredients for the fish in a large mixing bowl and add the fish. Mix thoroughly so the fish is evenly coated with the spiced flour mix.
  • Combine all the ingredients for the crema in another bowl and mix until well combined. You are looking for a tangy and spicy sauce.
  • Preheat a thick-based pan on high heat; you want the pan to be searing hot. Dip one tortilla at a time in the bowl of water and straight away place the tortilla in the hot pan. This is so they can steam slightly and you will get softer and fluffier tacos. Once air bubbles start to come up, flip the tortilla over and cook for another 10 seconds. Once heated up, pack the tortilla in the clean tea towel so it stays nice and warm. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
  • When you have heated up all the tortillas, add a good swirl of olive oil to the hot pan and add the fish. Cook the fish for about 1 minute per side, until cooked, golden and slightly crunchy.

Now everything is ready to plate: start off with a tablespoon of guacamole on the tortilla, add some fish, top with a tablespoon of salsa and finish off with a drizzle of crema. Serve with lime wedges and a few sprigs of coriander.


Emma van Leenen

Originally from the Netherlands, Emma moved to Australia to improve her surfing skills and spend more time outdoors. Upon arriving, she found herself studying a BHSc in Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine at Endeavour and working part-time as a chef.

With a keen interest in recipe development, cooking for people with special dietary needs, as well as female and gut health, Emma channels her passion for natural health into both her studies and her life in general. She has been working in professional kitchens for over 14 years, and in a past life, she ran a small catering company specialising in catering for people with special dietary needs.

When she is not studying or working, you can find her surfing, practising yoga, camping or testing out new recipes, which she documents on her Instagram account @_thesurfingnutritionist.

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