Mortar & Pestle Fish Tacos

A great fish taco depends on the freshness of the fish, the quality of the tortilla, and the punchiness of the salsas, contrasted against the creaminess of the crema and the crunchiness of the slaw. Use white fish fillets such as pollock, hake, or snapper and coat in a spicy mix of cumin, coriander, and paprika. This recipe is from Mortar & Pestle from Ryland Peters & Small – 65 delicious recipes for sauces, rubs, marinades and more.

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Serves 4


  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 lb./800 g white fish fillets, such as pollock, hake, snapper, or any easy-to-fillet flat fish
  • Flour, for dusting
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

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  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Red Salsa or Tabasco sauce

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  • 14 oz./400 g white cabbage, coarsely shredded
  • 1 carrot, coarsely grated
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced

To serve

  • 8 small corn or flour tortillas
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted/stoned and sliced
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced

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  • Make up the crema by mixing together the mayonnaise, yogurt, and the Salsa or Tabasco. Set aside.
  • Combine the cabbage, carrot, and onion into a slaw. Set aside.
  • Heat a small, dry skillet/frying pan and lightly toast the cumin and coriander seeds. When slightly coloured, grind to a coarse powder using a mortar and pestle. Mix in the smoked paprika and salt. Rub this mixture all over the fish fillets and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  • Prepare the fish by slicing it into manageable portions for eight tacos, then dust in flour combined with a little salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet/frying pan and fry the fish in two batches until just slightly browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain, then keep warm.
  • Heat a cast iron pan to warm the tortillas until slightly charred and warmed through.
  • To make up the tacos, place some of the slaw on each tortilla, add the fish, and drizzle over the crema. Serve with slices of avocado, lime, and cucumber.

See also: Nigella Lawson’s Golden Jubilee Chicken

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