Crispy Fish Tacos with Crispy Pumpkin, Jicama Slaw, and Chipotle Cream

Recipe Courtesy of Ben Starr

I've spent many a lazy day wandering around Baja with my friends Nate and Sandy from San Diego. Baja fish tacos are different from fish tacos elsewhere in Mexico because they bread the fish, and I really enjoy that play on textures. So I adapted my own gourmet spin on simple street tacos, adding my favorite ingredient, pumpkin, and I also incorporated my homemade pumpkin beer.

They are very popular with my friends at home, especially when I make my own tortillas. I get asked to make my signature fish tacos several times a month, and they are pretty quick to throw together. So it was a no-brainer when I had to come up with a signature dish that took less than an hour.


For The Fish

  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • salt and pepper

For The Marinade

  • 2 cups hoppy beer, like IPA
  • 5 limes
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For The Slaw

  • 1/2 head red cabbage
  • 1 small jicama root, julienned
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

For The Tortillas

  • 1 cup masa harina
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

For The Chipotle Sauce

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon chipotles in adobo
  • queso fresco
  • 1 butternut squash
  • canola oil


To Make The Marinade

  1. Add 2 cups of IPA, the juice of 4 limes, and spices, stirring thoroughly.

  2. Add half of marinade to tilapia fillets and seal in a Ziploc bag, placing in the fridge.

  3. Julienne the jicama and shred the red cabbage, place in a bowl with the remaining marinade.

To Make The Tortillas

  1. Add hot water, oil, and salt to the masa harina, knead until smooth, wrap in plastic wrap and set aside.

  2. Later, press masa harina into tortillas and cook on a cast-iron skillet a few seconds on each side.

To Make The Chipotle Cream

  1. Whisk together sour cream, buttermilk, lime juice, spices, and adobo sauce. Refrigerate.

To Make The Crispy Pumpkin

  1. Cut open pumpkin, scrape out seeds, and julienne.

  2. Deep fry strings in 350°F oil until lightly browned and crisp. Salt and set aside.

To Make The Tacos

  1. Remove the tilapia from the marinade and dredge in flour, dip in egg wash, and press into seasoned panko crumbs.

  2. Pan fry in 350°F oil until golden and done.

  3. Drain slaw from marinate, add chopped cilantro.

  4. Plate by spreading chipotle cream on a tortilla, top with slices of crispy tilapia, crumbled cheese, slaw, and crispy pumpkin strings.

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Crispy Fish Tacos with Crispy Pumpkin, Jicama Slaw, and Chipotle Cream