american/ Dinner/ fish and seafood/ mexican and tex-mex

Fish tacos with mango salsa

27 February 2020

Delicious tacos with Cajun-spiced fish, mango salsa, red cabbage carrot slaw, and mango sauce. You will be thrilled how flavorful but also light and refreshing they are!

mango sauce is being spooned over a fish taco

I was at first skeptical about fish tacos. I ate them with chicken (like these sheet pan chicken fajitas tacos) and beef but fish sounded somehow not that great. How wrong was I.

This recipe was inspired by many fish tacos that I ate on my vacation in Florida. Mango salsa was the most popular topping and I ate them with fish and shrimps. The most popular seasoning was either cajun or blackened seasoning. Most fish or shrimp in these tacos were deep-fried, but really, with so many toppings and sauces you can’t really taste the difference and pan-fried fish is much more healthy.

I’m so happy that I could recreate a part of my dream vacation at home! Our favorite tacos were in Bonefish Grill Restaurant in Orlando (everything was amazing there!) and Key West Fish & Chips food truck in Key West.

If you’re looking for other delicious tex-mex dishes try my chicken quesadillas!

Ingredients + substitutions :

fish tacos ingredients
  • Fish – it’s best to use firm white fish fillets. I like cod or halibut. It also depends on what kind of fish is available in the region you live in. These tacos are inspired by the tacos that I ate in Florida so in this region Grouper, Mahi Mahi and Snapper are most often used. Don’t use salmon or tuna, their bold flavor won’t work well here. Instead of fish, you can use shrimp! They will taste just as good as with fish. Avoid very delicate fish like sole.
  • Fish seasoning – I used cajun seasoning, but you can also use blackened seasoning or jerk seasoning (or generally any fish and seafood seasoning you have on hand, like Old-Bay seasoning).
  • Clarified butter – this is my favorite fat to pan-fry fish with. It has an amazing flavor but won’t get burnt so quickly like regular butter. If you don’t have it on hand just use frying oil.
  • Mango salsa – feel free to add more chili flakes or maybe a jalapeno pepper for more heat. For us, the heat from the cajun seasoning was enough. You can also add finely chopped red onion instead of chili flakes.
  • Instead of mango sauce, you can just make a simple lime crema.
  • Red cabbage slaw – you can omit the carrot and swap the red cabbage for white cabbage if you wish.
  • Tortillas – use small, wheat or corn tortillas.
  • Other toppings that would also be delicious: avocado, guacamole, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, coleslaw.
fish tacos with mango salsa, mango sauce and red cabbage carrot slaw

How to cook the fish:

The most important thing – don’t overcook the fish! Overcooked fish is dry and rubbery. The fish needs to be cooked really quickly over high heat until cooked through in the middle. If you’re not sure, you can measure the internal temperature with a thermometer, it should be 145°F/ 63°C (on this website you can find safe minimum cooking temperature chart to print out).

How to avoid sticking to the pan: This can be caused by low-quality fish. Make sure your fish is thawed, pat-dry and your pan is really nicely hot.

How to cook the fish on the stove – I like to cook it over high heat on one side until it’s browned, and then just very quickly on the other side until cooked through.

Alternatively, you can cook it on the grill or in the oven.

How to bake the fish in the oven – it’s maybe a better idea if you want to scale up the recipe. Pan-frying a larger amount of fish on the stove would be too labor-intensive. Rub the fish with seasoning (flour is not necessary) and place small pieces of butter over each fish fillet. Baking time at 375°F/180°C it would be 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.

Some recipes call for marinating the fish. It sure does add more flavor, but I think here it’s not necessary. There are so many flavorful toppings here. The most important it good seasoning and that the fish is nice, tender and flaky (not gummy, tough, overcooked). There’s also one more problem with marinating, I just often forget to plan ahead and marinate the fish.

What I like to do is pat dry the fish, rub with seasoning, then with flour and set aside while I’m preparing all the other ingredients. After this time, fish releases some water which absorbs the flour. Now I rub the fish with the flour for the second time. This way you can add more flour, the coating is thicker and will form a nice crispy shell on the fish without making a batter or deep-frying the fish. If you add more flour at once it will just fall off the fish right away.

How to make these fish tacos step by step:

red cabbage carrot slaw preparation steps

STEP 1: Start with red cabbage carrot slaw: Cut the 3.5 oz (100g) red cabbage into very thin strips (the more thinly the better) – you should have about 1 cup shredded cabbage. Grate 1 small carrot on the small holes of a box grater. Add 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil and 1 Tbsp of lime juice, season with salt and pepper to taste, toss until combined. Set aside. It’s good to make this slaw ahead and let it stand for 1-2 hours to let the cabbage soften.

mango salsa ingredients, mango salsa in a grey bowl

STEP 2: Make the mango salsa: Cut 1 mango into small cubes, toss with 1 ts of chopped coriander, 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 Tbsp of lime juice and 1/4 ts of chili flakes (if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste and optionally with more lime juice if the mango is very sweet.

step by step photo collage showing how to cut mango

How to cut a mango: Mango has one long and flat seed in the center of the fruit. With a sharp knife, cut away the sides of the fruit from the pit. You will have two large oval pieces of fruit. Cut off two smaller sides of the flesh around the pit. Take the big oval piece in one hand and score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern (don’t cut through the skin). Now you can scoop out the flesh with a spoon or invert the piece of mango and cut away the cubes from the peel.

mango sauce ingredients, mango sauce in a food processor bowl

STEP 3: Make the mango sauce: blend all the sauce ingredients (1/2 mango, 1 Tbsp ketchup, 1 Tbsp sour cream, 1 Tbsp lime juice, 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 ts chopped coriander) in a food processor, season to taste with salt and pepper.

pan-fried cajun-spiced fish - preparation steps

STEP 4: Prepare the fish (it’s best to do it about 10-15 minutes before cooking the fish!): pat dry 3 medium fish fillets (14 oz / 400g) with paper towels, then rub with 2 ts of cajun seasoning (you can add a little more if you like hot food). My cajun seasoning already contains salt, so I haven’t added any. Sprinkle the fish with 1-2 Tbsp of flour, then rub the flour on all sides of the fish fillets. Set aside.

STEP 5: Pan-fry the fish fillets: Heat 2 Tbsp og clarified butter (or frying oil) over high heat in a frying pan. Coat the fish fillets once again in flour (After rubbing the fish with spices it will release some water and absorb the first portion of flour so now we can add more flour. Thank’s to that, the flour coating with be thicker and more crispy). Once the pan is hot add the fish fillets. Cook on one side until browned then flip over and cook until cooked through.

How to check if the fish is cooked through: the color will turn from opaque to white and the fish can be easily flaked with a fork. To be sure it’s best to measure the internal temperature of the fish with a thermometer. Stick the thermometer into the thickest part of the fish, the temperature should be 145°F/ 63°C.

assembling fish tacos - all the taco ingredients on a tortilla

STEP 6: Assemble the tacos: Place some slaw over the tortillas (you’ll need 6 small tortillas), top with mango salsa and fish cut into smaller pieces. Pour over the sauce. You can sprinkle the tacos with additional lime juice and coriander leaves.

ENJOY!

Storing tips/how to make it ahead:

You can make the sauce and the slaw the day before and store it in the fridge. Pan-fry the fish and make the mango sauce just before serving.

Fish tacos with mango salsa

Delicious tacos with Cajun-spiced fish, mango salsa, mango sauce, and red cabbage carrot slaw! They’re so light and refreshing!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2 servings (6 small tacos)
Calories 644kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

6 small tortillas

    fish:

    • 14 oz (400g) firm white fish 3 medium fillets
    • 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • 2 tablespoons clarified butter for pan-frying

    mango salsa:

    • 1 mango
    • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes or more to taste, or deseeded jalapeno
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro coriander
    • salt and pepper to taste

    mango sauce:

    • 1/2 mango
    • 1 tablespoon ketchup
    • 1 tablespoon sour cream
    • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice
    • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro coriander
    • salt and pepper to taste

    red cabbage carrot slaw:

    • 1 cup thinly shredded red cabbage or white cabbage, (3.5oz/100g)
    • 1 small carrot
    • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

    • Red cabbage carrot slaw: Cut the red cabbage into very thin strips (the more thinly the better), grate the carrot on the small holes of a box grater. Add the olive oil and lime juice, season with salt and pepper to taste, toss until combined. Set aside. It's good to make this slaw ahead and let it stand for 1-2 hours to let the cabbage soften.
    • Prepare the fish: pat dry the fish fillets with paper towels, then rub with cajun seasoning. My cajun seasoning already contains salt, so I haven't added any. Sprinkle the fish with flour, then rub the flour on all sides of the fish fillets. Set aside.
    • Make the mango salsa: Cut the mango into small cubes, toss with chopped coriander, olive oil, lime juice and chili flakes (if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste and optionally with more lime juice if the mango is very sweet.
    • Make the mango sauce: blend all the sauce ingredients in a food processor, season to taste with salt and pepper.
    • Pan-fry the fish fillets: Heat the clarified butter (or frying oil) over high heat in a frying pan. Coat the fish fillets once again in flour (After rubbing the fish with spices it will release some water and absorb the first portion of flour so now we can add more flour. Thank's to that, the flour coating with be thicker and more crispy). Once the pan is hot add the fish fillets. Cook on one side until browned then flip over and cook until cooked through.
    • How to check if the fish is cooked through: the color will turn from opaque to white and the fish can be easily flaked with a fork. To be sure it's best to measure the internal temperature of the fish with a thermometer. Stick the thermometer into the thickest part of the fish, the temperature should be 145°F/ 63°C.
    • Assemble: Place some slaw over the tortillas, top with mango salsa and fish cut into smaller pieces. Pour over the sauce. You can sprinkle the tacos with additional lime juice and coriander leaves.
    • Enjoy!

    Notes

    • Ingredient substitutions:
      • Best fish for fish tacos: it’s best to use firm white fish fillets. I like cod or halibut. Don’t use salmon or tuna, their bold flavor won’t work well here. Instead of fish, you can use shrimp! They will taste just as good as with fish. Avoid very delicate fish like sole.
      • Fish seasoning – I used cajun seasoning, but you can also use blackened or jerk seasoning (or generally any fish and seafood seasoning you have on hand).
      • Clarified butter – this is my favorite fat to pan-fry fish with. It has an amazing flavor but won’t get burnt so quickly like regular butter. If you don’t have it on hand just use frying oil.
      • Mango salsa – feel free to add more chili flakes or maybe a jalapeno pepper for more heat. For us, the heat from the cajun seasoning was enough. You can also add finely chopped red onion instead of chili flakes.
      • Red cabbage slaw – you can omit the carrot and swap the red cabbage for white cabbage if you wish.
      • Tortillas – use small, wheat or corn tortillas.
      • Other toppings that would also be delicious: avocado, guacamole, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, coleslaw.
    • How to avoid sticking the fish to the pan: This can be caused by low-quality fish. Make sure your fish is thawed, pat-dry and your pan is really nicely hot.
    • How to bake the fish in the oven – it may be a better idea if you want to scale up the recipe. Pan-frying a larger amount of fish on the stove would be too labor-intensive. Rub the fish with seasoning (flour is not necessary) and place small pieces of butter over each fish fillet. Baking time at 375°F/180°C it would be 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
    • How to cut a mango: Mango has one long and flat seed in the center of the fruit. With a sharp knife, cut away the sides of the fruit from the pit. You will have two large oval pieces of fruit. Cut off two smaller sides of the flesh around the pit. Take the big oval piece in one hand and score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern (don’t cut through the skin). Now you can scoop out the flesh with a spoon or invert the piece of mango and cut away the cubes from the peel.
    • Storing tips/how to make it ahead: You can make the sauce and the slaw the day before and store it in the fridge. Pan-fry the fish and make the mango sauce just before serving.
    • Calories count = 1 serving (1/2 of the recipe) = 6 small tacos. This is only an estimate!
    Course dinner, Main Course
    Cuisine American, tex-mex
    Keyword fish tacos, mango salsa, mango sauce for fish, red cabbage carrot slaw

    Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a star rating in the comments below! You can also add a photo of your creation!

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