Fish Tempura “Roca” Tacos with cabbage slaw

Roca Tacos

Fish Tempura “Roca” Tacos with cabbage slaw

Yield: Makes 8 appetizer servings

This is a delicious way to prepare a fish entree tempura-style but with a PicaringaTM twist, great for a 5 de Mayo gathering or any fiesta. It is based on the “Roca” shrimp dish, famous in northern Mexico, so you can substitute medium sized shrimp for the fish if you like.


  • For the Picaringa™ tomate toreado dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons Picaringa™ chilito seasoning
  • 2 plum tomatoes, grilled or roasted until blackened, halved, seeded and diced
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Mexican oregano
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon  salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sour cream or creme fraiche

For the fish:

  • About 6 cups vegetable oil
  • 1½  cups plus ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons Picaringa™ chilito seasoning
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 24-32 ounces ice cold beer or seltzer water — up to two bottles.
  • 1 pound firm white fish fillets, such as tilapia, grouper, stripped bass or cod, cut into 3/4” wide strips

For the slaw:

  • ¼ head of cabbage, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Finely chopped chives for garnish
    Corn tortillas to serve

Special equipment: Deep fat thermometer if available

Roca Tacos dressing

Fish "Roca" Tacos dressing

Make the slaw:
In a baking dish, arrange the cabbage and cilantro in layers while squeezing some lemon juice, salt and pepper in each layer, and finally sprinkle some soy sauce and let stand while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Make the Picaringa™ dressing:
In a food blender, mix al ingredients until smooth.
DO AHEAD: can be made a day ahead ahead. Cover and chill.

Batter and fry the fish strips:
Line a baking sheet with 2 layers of paper towels.
In a heavy large pot, heat 3 inches of oil until a deep fat thermometer registers 350°F (using medium low heat until just before smoking). In a small bowl whisk together ½ cup flour, salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk together the beer, baking powder, Picaringa™ and the rest of the flour – the mix should be about as thick as a runny pancake batter.

"Roca" style tempura fish strips

"Roca" style tempura fish strips

Lightly coat the fish strips in the seasoned flour, one at a time and shaking off any excess, then dip in the tempura batter. Working in batches, fry the fish strips until light golden brown, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer as done to the prepared baking sheet and return oil to 350°F between batches.

Transfer the fried fish strips to a small bowl, add some Picaringa™ dressing, and gently toss to coat. Garnish with some chopped chives and serve over slaw with hot tortillas on the side.

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