Easiest Fish Tacos, Red Rice and Black Beans

4 servings


30 minutes

total time


3 large fillets of tilapia or other sustainable white flesh fish

About 1 1/2 cups milk

About 1 1/2 cups Wondra superfine flour

Salt and pepper

About 1 1/2 teaspoons or scant half palmful chili powder

About 1 1/2 teaspoons or scant half palmful granulated garlic

About 1 1/2 teaspoons or scant half palmful granulated onion

About 1 1/2 teaspoons or scant half palmful ground cumin

About 1 1/2 teaspoons or scant half palmful ground coriander

Safflower or other neutral oil, for shallow frying

1/2 small to medium white or yellow onion

2 cloves garlic

1 vine tomato

About 2 tablespoons olive oil or neutral oil

1 cup white rice

Salt and pepper

About 1 1/2 teaspoons or scant half palmful pimenton or smoked paprika

About 1 teaspoon chili powder

About 1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 1/2 cups chicken stock or water

One 4-ounce can chopped green chiles

1 cup fresh or frozen green peas

1/2 small to medium onion

2 cloves garlic

1 jalapeno pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil or safflower oil

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 bay leaf

1-inch piece of cinnamon stick

One 15-ounce can black beans, drained of some of the liquid

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce, such as Frank's Red Hot

1 jalapeno pepper

1 red finger or Fresno pepper

1 small red onion

1 large clove garlic


1 lime

4 plum, Roma or vine tomatoes or yellow vine tomatoes

A small handful of fresh cilantro

1 small head savoy cabbage

1 lime, cut into wedges, plus 1 lime, for juicing

8 to 10 corn tortillas or 4 to 6 flour tortillas

One 15-ounce jar Mexican crema or 1 cup sour cream, in a squeeze bottle

About 3 tablespoons jalapeno hot sauce, such as Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce

Pickled sliced jalapeno peppers, for topping tacos


For the fish: Cut the fish into 3-by-1-inch batons and place in shallow dish or plastic bag. Cover with milk.

Combine flour with salt, pepper and dry spices in shallow dish or metal pan and set aside.

Place very large shallow skillet on stove with thin layer (about 1/8 inch) of neutral oil, about 1/4 cup. Place foil-lined tray and wire rack near stove for cooked fish.

For the red rice: Peel and finely chop onion and grate or chop the garlic. Grate the tomato.

Heat a 2- to 3-quart saucepot over medium to medium-high heat with oil, 2 turns of the pan; add onions and garlic and stir a minute or 2, then add rice and salt, pepper and spices. Stir a minute or 2 more, then add stock and chiles and bring to boil; cover and reduce heat to low. After 12 minutes or so, add peas and tomatoes and cook 3 to 4 minutes more until rice is just tender. Let stand a few minutes, adjust salt and pepper, fluff with fork.

For the black beans: Peel and finely chop the onion and grate or chop the garlic. Seed and finely chop the jalapeno pepper.

Heat oil in a skillet, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat; add onions, jalapeno and garlic, salt and pepper, cumin, bay and cinnamon. Stir a minute or so, then add about 1/2 cup water and let it absorb. Add black beans and hot sauce, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until ready to serve.

For the pico de gallo: Seed and finely chop chile peppers, put in a bowl and wash hands. Finely chop and add half an onion; reserve the rest. Add grated or chopped garlic, salt, juice of 1 lime. Seed and chop tomatoes; add to bowl. Chop and add cilantro; toss.

To serve: Halve the cabbage, remove core and very thinly shred; reserve the other half for another use.

When rice and beans are about ready, heat skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Remove fish from milk and shake off excess, then coat fish in flour. Fry to crispy and brown, then remove to rack and serve with lime wedges.

Char tortillas over gas burner or in a stainless pan preheated over high heat to blister and soften.

Build tacos: Tortilla, fish, cabbage, pico, crema, hot sauce and pickled jalapenos. Add juice of 1 lime to beans. Serve tacos with rice and beans.

4 servings


30 minutes

total time
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