• Alex Stupak’s Fish Tempura Tacos with Roasted Salsa Verde


Fish Tempura Tacos

This recipe for fish tempura tacos with roasted salsa verde comes from New York chef Alex Stupak, whose brilliant food at his Empellón restaurants showcases an amazing understanding of Mexico’s culinary culture.

Alex Stupak's Fish Tempura Tacos with Roasted Salsa Verde


  • 1  1/2 pounds boneless, skinless fish fillet such as bass, snapper, cod or any light-flavored white-fleshed fish
  • 1  1/3 cups rice flour, plus 2 cups for dredging
  • 1  1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 bottle lager-style beer, cold
  • 2  1/2 quarts (10 cups) vegetable oil, for frying
  • 12 corn or flour tortillas
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 of a small cabbage, shredded or grated (about 3 cups)
  • 3-4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 60 cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium white onion, minced
  • 1 recipe Roasted Salsa Verde (see Recipe)
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

Roasted Salsa Verde

  • 3-4 medium (5 ounces) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove, skin on
  • 1/2 medium white onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 2 Serrano chiles,
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 40 cilantro leaves, roughly chopped



Cut and portion the fish into 12 even-sized pieces, about 3 inches each. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

In a bowl, combine 1   1/3 cups rice flour, the all-purpose flour and baking powder and mix together. Pour the cold beer into the bowl and whisk gently. If there are some lumps, that’s okay. Place the batter in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Place a 4-quart Dutch oven fitted with a candy thermometer on medium heat and add the vegetable oil, leaving 3-4 inches of space between the top of the oil and the top of the Dutch oven. Heat the oil until the thermometer registers 350°F.

Make 1 batch of Corn or Flour tortillas and keep warm.

Place 2 cups rice flour on a plate. Remove the fish pieces from the refrigerator and season with kosher salt. Dredge the fish pieces in the rice flour.

Remove the tempura batter from the refrigerator. Dip the floured fish pieces into the batter one by one and carefully add each piece to the hot oil. Fry the fish until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and season with kosher salt.

To assemble the tacos, lay out the warmed tortillas on serving plates. Place a heaping tablespoon of mayonnaise in the center of each tortilla followed by a small mound of cabbage. Add some radish slices and sprinkle some cilantro leaves over each taco, followed by the minced onion. Place one piece of fried fish on each tortilla and top with a spoonful of Roasted Salsa Verde. Squeeze some lime wedges over the tacos and serve the rest on the side.

Roasted Salsa Verde


Roast the tomatillos on a baking sheet under a hot broiler until blackened on one side, about 5-6 minutes. Turn them over and roast on the other side for another 5-6 minutes. Remove from the broiler and set aside to cool at room temperature.

In the skillet, roast the garlic cloves, onion slices and Serrano chiles, turning them from time to time until softened slightly and blackened in spots, about 6 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside to cool at room temperature. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel the garlic cloves, discard the skins. Remove and discard the stems of the chiles.

Place the roasted garlic clove into the molcajete with the kosher salt and, using the pestle, crush to a paste.

Roughly chop the roasted onions, add to the molcajete and continue crushing to a coarse texture.

Cut the roasted tomatillos into 1/4-inch dice, add to the molcajete and continue working the salsa to a coarse texture. Season with the kosher salt and honey and stir with a spoon. Add the cilantro leaves and stir to combine. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use.

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