Beer and Vodka Battered Cod Fish Tacos with Chili-Lime Crema and Red Cabbage Slaw

Recipes

July 9, 2022

vodka and beer battered crispy cod fish tacos

You’re going to love how easy and quick this meal is to make at home. If you enjoy creating restaurant-style meals from your own kitchen, appreciate food styling and presentation, this Beer and Vodka Battered Cod Fish Tacos with Chili Lime Crema recipe is easy to make and simply amazing! It’s guaranteed to please your loved ones and impress your friends with the creative ways you can plate the tacos that give it a high-quality look and feel to it.

Vodka and beef battered cod fish tacos with mezcal margarita line with tajin

An easy recipe that can be made in advance (partly)

In this blog post I’m sharing another one of our favorite recipes we love to make at home. It’s delicious and does not take long to make. I’m sharing my Chili-Lime Crema recipe, a key ingredient for this Beer and Vodka Battered Cod Fish Tacos recipe.

You can make the crema in advance and use it for other dishes and you’ll learn how to use the sauce other than for Cod Fish Tacos. I’ll teach you how to cook the fish properly so it isn’t overcooked or undercooked. You’ll learn how to make a red cabbage slaw, which is a topping that not only adds flavor, but a beautiful color to your tacos, making it very attractive on a plate.

Remember, people eat with their eyes. If that’s the case, why not make this at home and have a go-to easy and impressive recipe you can always pull out when you have unexpected visitors?

What do you need to make Beer and Vodka Battered Cod Fish Tacos?

To make Beer and Vodka Battered Cod Fish Tacos with Chili Lime Crema, you’ll need flour or corn tortillas. Flour tortillas are great, especially if you get them fresh and made to order. When we get ours, they’re still warm to the touch and when you open up the bag, you just smell the buttery goodness. We live in Texas so we are quite lucky to have access to our local supermarket with its own bakery that makes fresh tortillas daily. Fresh is fantastic, made with no artificial preservatives.

Prior to living in Texas, we never tried fresh made tortillas, so don’t think its the end of the world if you can’t get your hands on fresh ones. The regular bagged ones work fine and is what we used before.

Corn tortillas are the classic way to enjoy tacos if you want to go authentic and do as they do in Mexico. If you’re on a gluten-free diet or are celiac, corn is the way to go.

Main Ingredients for Beer and Vodka Battered Cod Fish Tacos

There are five main components to making Beer and Vodka Battered Cod Fish Tacos with Chili Lime Crema:

  • Tortillas
  • Red cabbage slaw
  • Crema
  • Batter
  • Fish

To make the slaw, you’ll need red cabbage (green works fine too), red onions, cilantro and lime juice. Always squeeze limes (or any citrus) fresh. I would never recommend using the concentrate or the “lime juice” sold in little plastic fruit shaped containers or bottles.

For the sauce, you’ll need mayonnaise, sour cream, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika and hot sauce. I like to use Cholula or Valentina, which are Mexican brands. If you want to keep it as authentic as possible, lean in towards these of my tried and tested favorites.

For the batter, you’ll need white rice flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, vodka, beer, garlic power, ancho chili powder (again) and an egg. If you need to stay GF, just don’t use the all-purpose flour and substitute the amounts needed in total. White rice flour is already GF.

And finally for the fish, you’ll want to use fresh cod that is cut 2 ½ inches long and ½ inch wide.

cod fish cut to size for tacos

Can beer and vodka battered cod fish tacos be made ahead?

Yes! I’m all about getting ahead so you can have more time to enjoy your meals with your family.

Make the crema the night before. Even if this is the easiest thing to make, just getting it out of the way makes a huge difference in prep. I recommend storing this in a squeeze bottle for easy dispensing.

Next, you can make the batter in the morning if you’re serving for this for lunch (like we did).

After you’re done with the crema and the batter, make the slaw only a couple hours before. While this can be made ahead, you don’t want to make it too far in advance. Cabbage can wilt quickly and the big factor here is the crunch.

When you make the crema, the batter and the slaw before everything else, all you have to think about is frying the fish and assembling tacos individually. You’ll have more time to enjoy the company that you have at home and maybe even a nice cocktail to complement your meal.

Beer and Vodka Cod Fish Taco Ingredients

FOR THE SLAW:

Red Cabbage

For a family of four, 1/4 head of cabbage is more than plenty. You can also use green cabbage, as long as you slice it then. You can use your French knife, a mandolin or if you want to save time, the pre-cut bagged kind is fine.

Red Onions

Red onions add great color and flavor to tacos. For other recipes, I like to pickle the onions. But for this one, slice them really thin. If you don’t like onions, hear me out: you’re not having them raw. They’ll be tossed with lime juice, olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Just think about all these ingredients complementing each other. You won’t have raw. onions overpowering the flavor.

Lime juice

Always use fresh lime juice. You can’t compare the flavor of freshly squeezed limes from a jar of bottled lime juice with added preservatives. That said, if you are squeezing a lot of limes (we usually do so we can make cocktails like a Mezcal Margarita), keep in mind that there is a shorter shelf life, even if you keep in in the fridge.

Cilantro

You’ll need a bunch to chiffonade into the slaw. Then a smaller bunch to save for the garnish. Pick the fullest, prettiest leaves that will look good topped on the taco. It’s the most popular herb used to garnish and flavor tacos in Mexico. One final word: don’t buy them pre-cut.

Olive oil

Olive oil adds flavor. Think of this as a vinaigrette when you combine with the lime juice. It binds to the cabbage, onions and cilantro giving the entire slaw a balance of flavors.

FOR THE CREMA:

Mayonnaise

I use BLUE PLATE or DUKE’S because I like the flavor. It’s just a personal preference so you can use Hellmans or even make your own mayonnaise.

Sour Cream

Use full fat for a creamier sauce.

Ancho Chili Powder

A Mexican chili powder that is a little bit smoky and not that spicy. Taste as you go. Make it according to how you like it. It might be a little spicy to start, but remember that you are combining this with all the other ingredients.

Hot Sauce (Cholula or Valentina)

Don’t be afraid that we’re adding more hot stuff to this. Ancho chili powder isn’t that spicy, that’s more for flavor. The hot sauce will give more heat to the sauce. If you don’t care much for spicy sauces, Valentina makes a red and black label. You can tell by the cap. The black would be the spicier version.

Smoked Paprika

I hardly use regular paprika. To me, regular paprika just adds color, nothing else. Try Spanish smoked paprika for better flavor.

VODKA/BEER BATTER

White rice flour

White rice flour makes the batter and the final product crispier. It doesn’t matter which brand you use.

All purpose flour

The original recipe called for ALL all purpose flour. But I modified it to add a crisp to it, thus the white rice flour above. If you can’t find white rice flour, you can use all purpose flour straight through. And if you’re GF, use gluten-free flour.

Baking powder

This makes the crust fluffy.

Vodka

We used Meyer Lemon Vodka, only because it’s what we had on hand in our bar. You can use any Vodka you like. Vodka evaporates faster than water when cooking. Which means you’ll end up with crispy battered fish.

Beer

This is a classic ingredient to add to any fish and chip recipe. You can use club soda, but you won’t get the same flavor. If you don’t want to use vodka, you can double up on the beer.

Ancho chili powder + garlic powder

While the I use the same batter recipe for English-style fish and chips, I add the ancho and garlic powder to this recipe, just because its for Mexican tacos and it’s part of the overall flavor of the dish. The ancho powder also gives a beautiful golden brown color to the sauce.

Egg

This allows all the ingredients to bind easily together, as with most all batters.

FOR THE FISH

Cod

These days you can find cod in most all supermarkets. You can use the frozen ones for these. Just be sure to pat dry them very well with a paper towel to absorb all the excess water. You batter will stick to the fish better this way. On a side note, this would be the same cod I use when I make English style Fish and Chips so that would be another recipe option for you.

FOR THE TORTILLAS

Flour Tortillas

If you can’t find the made-to-order fresh tortillas, I like to buy the brand Guerrero, for both flour or corn tortillas.

Corn Tortillas

The traditional way to enjoy tacos is with corn tortillas. They do have a grainier texture, but it’s a great alternative if you are allergic or intolerant to gluten.

How Do You Make Cod Fish Tacos?

Trust me when I say that it doesn’t take long. As with anything you make for the first time, it might take a little longer. But once you make it, you’ll realize that with careful planning, you can whip this up anytime.

First, you want to get all the ingredients together in your work area and set up your mise en place. Though it sounds like a chore, starting this habit early is a pro skill and make your work more efficient in the kitchen.

mise en place for cod fish tacos

Make the slaw

Start by making the slaw with ¼ of a head of red cabbage sliced thin and ½ of a red onion also sliced thin.

red cabbage and red onions sliced thinly for tacos

Now it’s time to juice fresh limes. You’ll need 2 ounces, which is roughly the juice of 3-4 limes. If you want to get the most juice out of the limes, make sure to roll each lime on your cutting board or kitchen countertop for a minute or so before juicing.

Mix the cabbage, onions, lime juice, 2 tbs of olive oil and ¼ of a cup of cilantro together in a medium mixing bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes.

ingredients for red cabbage slaw

Make the chili-lime crema

Next is the crema. This is easy-peasy. Mix ½ cup of mayonnaise, ½ cup of sour cream, 2 tbs of ancho chili powder, 2 tsp of hot sauce, 1 tbs of smoked paprika and salt and pepper into a bowl and mix until combined.

chili lime crema for crispy cod fish tacos

Set aside or transfer to a squeeze bottle.

chili lime crema for cod fish tacos in funnel for squeeze bottle

Make the batter

To make the batter, you’ll start with the dry ingredients first. In a large mixing bowl, add 1 ¼ cup white rice flour, 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tbs ancho chili powder, 1 tbs garlic powder and 1 tsp black pepper.

Then mix 1 egg. When that is well combined, add the beer and the vodka.

You must season the fish before soaking it in the batter. This is something that is usually forgotten by home cooks, so I urge you not to skip this part.

Also, be sure to pat dry your fish slices. Blot them with a paper towel to absorb all the excess liquid. Doing this will allow the batter to stick to the fish much better.

cod fish slices being blotted before dipping into batter

Heat your frying oil to 375F. It’s best to use a kitchen thermometer for this and not guess if your oil is hot enough. This will ensure your fish is cooked at the right temperature and is consistent throughout.

When ready, dip the fish into the batter and cook for about 4-5 minutes. 

Drain in paper towels.

ASSEMBLY AND PRESENTATION

Warm the tortillas over the stove. You can also warm them in the microwave or on a non-stick pan. I did mine right over the flame on the grill.

Take one beer-and-vodka battered fried cod fish and place in the center of the tortilla. Drizzle the chili-lime crema over the fish in a left to right motion.

Top with red cabbage slaw. Top with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges or slices.

Wrapping it up

Beer and Vodka Battered Cod Fish Tacos with Chili Lime Crema will take you about 30 minutes to make at home. It’s a great dish to make for your family and friends because of the bold, spicy-citrus flavors of the sauce, the tanginess of the red cabbage slaw and the lightness of the beer and vodka battered shrimp. It makes a beautiful and colorful plate, worthy of a restaurant meal. You really don’t need to pay top dollar for this delicious meal you can easily make at home.

If you make extra red cabbage slaw and chili-lime sauce, then half the work has been cut out for you for the next time you plan to make this at home, because all you need to prepare is the fish and the batter. It’s definitely a recipe you want to keep in your kitchen repertoire.

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If you want to try more recipes, snag my FREE mini recipe e-book with 5 of the most popular dishes my students cooked with me on the Outschool platform during the height of the pandemic. These recipes have found a cozy spot in the kitchens of many kids and parents and they continue to cook the same meals, 2 years after. 

You can get your FREE copy right HERE.

Free resource of 5 recipes for kids to master by age 13

Hungry for more restaurant-style recipes?

If you like arugula:

Try this arugula flatbread with goat cheese and prosciutto

Or, try my kids’ favorite: arugula pasta with mascarpone and parmesan

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Beer and Vodka Battered Cod Fish Tacos with Chili-Lime Crema and Red Cabbage Slaw


  • Author: Rafael Gonzalez

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/4 head cabbage sliced thin
  • 1/2 red onion sliced thin
  • 2 oz lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbs ancho chili powder
  • 2 tsp hot sauce Cholula or Valentina
  • 1 tbs smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1 1/4 cup ap flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1 1/4 cup beer
  • 2 tbs ancho chili powder
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 pounds fresh cod cut 2 1/2 inch long and 1/2 inch wide

 


Instructions

 

  1. Get all the ingredients together in your work area and set up your mise en place.

  2. Slice the cabbage and red onion thin: ¼ of a head of red cabbage and 1/2 of a red onion.

  3. Juice fresh limes. You’ll need 2 ounces, which is roughly the juice of 3-4 limes. To get the most juice out of the limes, make sure to roll each lime on your cutting board or kitchen countertop for a minute or so before juicing. 

  4. Mix the cabbage, onions, lime juice, 2 tbs of olive oil and ¼ of a cup of cilantro together in a medium mixing bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes. 

  5. Mix ½ cup of mayonnaise, ½ cup of sour cream, 2tbs of ancho chili powder, 2 tsp of hot sauce, 1 tb of smoked paprika and salt and pepper into a bowl and mix until combined. 

  6. Set aside or transfer to a squeeze bottle.

  7. In a large mixing bowl, add 1 ¼ cup white rice flour, 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tbs ancho chili powder, 1 tbs garlic powder and 1 tsp black pepper.

  8. Add 1 whole egg and mix.

  9. When that is well combined, add the beer and the vodka. 

  10. You must season the fish before soaking it in the batter. 

  11. Heat your frying oil to 375F. It’s best to use a kitchen thermometer for this and not guess if your oil is hot enough. This ensures that your fish is cooked at the right temperature and is consistent throughout.

  12. When ready, dip the fish into the batter and cook for about 4-5 minutes. 

  13. Drain in paper towels.

  14. ASSEMBLY AND PRESENTATION: Warm the tortillas in a non-stick pan over the stove. Take one beer-and-vodka battered fried cod fish and place in the center of the tortilla. Drizzle the chili-lime crema over the fish in a left to right motion. Top with red cabbage slaw. Top with cilantro

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