Baja Sauce Shopping Tips
Basic Latin ingredients include rice, achiote oil, adobo seasoning, and beans.
Baja Sauce Cooking Tips
Latin food often packs a lot of heat, so try to moderate the amount of chiles and spices you use for your dish.
Grilled Fish Soft Tacos with Baja Cream Sauce
Find the recipe card at the end of the post. Make sure to read the content as it contains chef tips, substitution options, answers to FAQs to help you succeed the first time around!
Did you ever get in one of those food craving moods where unless you get that one thing you&rsquore craving, nothing will truly satisfy your taste buds? That was me a few weeks ago. I was craving fish tacos like it was my job. I mean I tried EVERYTHING I had in the house to satisfy that craving&hellip except actual fish tacos but nothing worked. So why not make the fish tacos when I craved them? Well it was like -15F below and I didn&rsquot want to be outside at all cause the air just hurt my face. But when it got down to even bacon not even making me happy (I know, right! Not even bacon! *shocked!*) I knew I had to break down and go venture out into the arctic tundra to get some fish.
Normally I have fish in the freezer but I had none and honestly kept forgetting to buy it. Plus truth be told I had so much crap in my freezers that I literally could not fit one more thing in it. I mean seriously, not even a block of butter! I&rsquove decided in my next house I will have a commercial stand up freezer and a commercial fridge. I need them in my life. Even though there is just the two of us, I need this. Honestly I think this type of obsessive/hoarding (though not really), can&rsquot cook for just 2 people cooking stems from my childhood for multiple reasons. Due to how poor we were when we were able to stock up on a great sale at the store, we would&hellip in bulk. We were that family that could seriously give Sam&rsquos club a run for their money on stuff. Next factor in that Mom cooked for at least 8 people plus she always doubled the batch AND added in a few more servings into the recipe for drop-ins as that often happened as she was an awesome cook.
So while I&rsquove considerably curbed how much I cook and buy it&rsquos actually hard at times to control myself when I see cans of veggies on sale for like .50 a can. Doesn&rsquot everyone need 14 cans of spring peas at all times. No? Well er um&hellip you should. *wink*
But as I said, as I&rsquove gotten older I&rsquove had to re-teach myself on quantity. At first it was somewhat difficult to keep the same quality of the food while reducing the amount it made. Have you ever made a recipe and then tried to cut it in half the next time you made it only to have it not turn out? The worst is if the normal batch calls for one egg and you want to half it. It took me a while to figure out the best way to do this. To do this simply crack the egg in a cup, whisk until well combined and measure out half of it. The other half save or add to another dish.
Well FINALLY it got to the point where I actually had prime real estate in my freezers for some awesome fish so I could make these. It&rsquos funny as when I told Mr. Fantabulous I was hitting up downtown fish market to get some fish he told me to not &ldquobuy the whole ocean&rdquo LOL Big Brat! This recipe I&rsquove been making for years as its honestly one of my favorites. It&rsquos light, bright, packed with protein and seriously so flippin&rsquo delicious. Okay fine, if you&rsquore not a seafood lover then you won&rsquot like it but I&rsquom tellin&rsquo you what guys, one bite and you&rsquoll go nuts over this! See I buy &ldquonon-fishy&rdquo fish. I HATE fish that stinks. You can go with fresh fish or the pre-frozen stuff but make sure with that it&rsquos literally just fish and nothing else (preservatives) has been added to it. And for the love of God, NO CANNED FISH&hellip ever! *gag*
Well wait canned albacore is OK but I mean no canned salmon, crab or shrimp. That&rsquos just nasty. Now since I don&rsquot live by an ocean and there is not enough money in the world to eat fish that would come out of our Three Rivers here in Pittsburgh (sorry but you&rsquore awesome city but I swear your fish glow!) I either am stuck buying frozen stuff at the seafood market or bagged frozen stuff. As luck would have it I managed to be at the right place at the right time when they were unloading a huge case of partially frozen cod loins. I actually prefer cod loins to cod fillets myself.
Do you know the difference between the loin and the fillet? A fillet is one side of the whole fish with the head, tail, guts, bones and skin removed. A loin is the middle third of the fillet &ndash the thick bit . More often than none the loin is also boneless with the skin removed but that&rsquos not always the case. It&rsquos a heartier piece of fish that can stand up to being part of this taco. I hate it when you bit into a piece of fish and it&rsquos almost &ldquotoo flaky&rdquo and just falls apart. Not for me, when I make fish tacos I go with the fleshier parts of the fish as they add girth and stability.
As you can tell I kinda went nuts over taking photos for this shoot. The colors are vibrant and vivacious &ndash just like the flavors in this dish! You could make the same dish using hard crunchy tacos but for me, that&rsquos a textural no-no. This dish shouldn&rsquot have crunch. The only crispness you should have is from the cabbage slaw. Speaking of, lemme tell you about this slaw. It&rsquos SUPER simple and one of my favorites! It&rsquos light and bright but has some great heat thanks to the minced jalapenos in it. It has that acidic twinge from the lime juice while the cool cilantro balances it all out.
Now I know there are you cilantro haters out there. Why you hate this luscious herb is beyond me as I think it&rsquos one of the best ones out there however to each their own. You hate cilantro, I hate curry so sometimes rosemary. So as a for a substitute? You could try fresh chopped parsley in lieu of it though it may not give you that &lsquocool crisp&rsquo taste that only cilantro does. Play with the recipe and let me know what you come up with that works.
Next let&rsquos dish about that Baja Cream Sauce. Okay seriously this stuff is lethal! It has some heat that you can totally tweak for your own taste buds. But the overall taste of it is EPIC! It&rsquos cool, has some pinch to it, definitely some tang and just all around well-balanced beautiful flavor. This recipe does make a good bit of it so don&rsquot limit it to just this recipe! Try it on shrimp (think po&rsquoboy), crab, tilapia burgers, shrimp burgers and so forth! Oh what&rsquos even awesome is make up a bunch of fish and put the slaw and fish chunks on top of nachos and then drizzle this sauce on top. I did that with some creole shrimp and went NUTS over it! Like seriously I ate the entire plate that I used in a photo shoot!
Now the fish I kept pretty simple and kept out as many calories as possible. I&rsquove had fish tacos where the fish is deep-fried, batter dipped, etc but it&rsquos just not the same for me. It needs to be grilled or pan seared. I personally find the breading adds too much weight to the dish and removes too much of the individual flavors in it. The breading on fish tends to muddle the different tastes. If you&rsquore a hardcore fan of the breaded fish do me a favor and try it once, this recipe, without breading and frying. The flavors seem to become elevated when left &lsquonekkid&rsquo.
Now this dish comes together pretty fast. The longest part is letting the cream sauce chill and the slaw marinate in the fridge. You want to give the slaw enough time for the flavors to saturate it while you need Baja cream sauce to marry into one harmonious blend. Once it was time to eat the overall cooking and assembly time took under 10 minutes. What&rsquos funny is this is soooooooooooo not a Mr. Fantabulous type of dish. He says he&rsquos not a big fish eater yet every time I make it he scarfs it up. Therefore when I made this dish I purposely made it the one day he was taking a nap. So yes I only made 2, the 2 you see on this plate. Once I finished up with the shoot I sat down and inhaled them. Well okay I could only eat one as my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I wrapped the other one up and set out to edit the photos.
As I was sitting at my desk editing the photos Mr. Sleepy Pants wandered into the office rubbing his eyes with one hand and his belly with the other which is universal sign language for &ldquobuddah needs food&rdquo LOL I smiled and told him to give me a few as I was just finishing up my most recent shoot. He looked at the pictures of these and immediately he woke up. &ldquoHEYYYYYYYYY what&rsquos that?! How come I didn&rsquot get any of that?! Where&rsquos mine? Is there any left? I can&rsquot believe you&rsquore holding out on me!&rdquo Seriously he really is my man-child. I simply said &ldquoHoney you don&rsquot like stuff like this and&hellip&rdquo and then he interjected with &ldquobaby, I love everything you make&hellip except that cast iron corn bread made with sawdust&hellip&rdquo LOL sigh I can&rsquot win.
So I went out to the kitchen, unwrapped the one I literally just put into the fridge and handed it to him. Then the big brat said &ldquoNo, it&rsquos okay I&rsquom an afterthought. This is for you, not me. I&rsquoll just eat a bowl of cereal or bread and water.&rdquo God love that man I swear. And don&rsquot you know that big baby went and got something else to eat?! He was just messing with me and didn&rsquot really want it. So while I can&rsquot say he liked this dish I can say he loved the slaw and Baja cream sauce as I used them on a different recipe coming up.
But take my word for it! Whether it&rsquos for Lent, Taco Tuesday or because you need it, you are going to LOVE these fish tacos!
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2020 Reader’s Favorite Countdown
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How to Make Baja California Fish Tacos
For the tacos themselves, you want to use some sort of white fish. I like halibut, but any firm white fish will do. Slice them into ¾ x 4 inch strips. Don’t worry about them being perfect or terribly uniform, just error on the side of slicing thinner than thicker so we keep our nice ratio of batter to fish.
The batter itself is super quick whisking of crushed Ritz crackers, panko breadcrumbs, flour baking powder, egg, and sprite with a kick of flavor from chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper and salt. The Ritz lend a wonderfully buttery taste to the tacos, the panko lends a nice crunch and the spices add a depth of subtle flavor without tasting overpowering – even with the cayenne pepper – they will not taste spicy – just flavorful.
The most important thing about frying the fish is to pat the strips very dry after you slice them. This will ensure the batter sticks. Next, add your fish to the batter all at once and stir to coat- how easy is that?!
To fry, we don’t need to deep fry, just an inch or so of vegetable oil works beautifully. Once hot, add your battered fish a few at a time and fry until golden, about 2 minutes on each side.
Now its taco time! You will want to use warm corn tortillas. You can achieve this by microwaving 2 tortillas at a time between slightly dampened paper towels so they are warm and pliable or you can pan fry them as shown by heating 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a seasoned skillet over medium heat and cooking each tortilla for about 20 seconds, making sure you don’t overcook so they stay soft and not crispy.
How to make Baja fish tacos?
- The best way to make fish tacos is by preparing all the ingredients separately. Make the slaw first so that you can assemble your tortillas immediately after you cook your tilapia.
- Allow the tortillas to be warm for a while, you can microwave them for 30 seconds. Also, mix all the ingredients for the chipotle sauce and set aside.
- Wait for the tilapia to fry and you are ready to assemble your tacos and enjoy them! Be sure to keep a close eye on the fish, because of tilapia fries very quickly. I recommend frying over medium heat, if the heat is too high, the fillets will turn blackish.
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Nice work agent. You just found copycat recipes for all of your favorite famous foods! Bestselling author and TV host, Todd Wilbur shows you how to easily duplicate the taste of iconic dishes and treats at home. See if Todd has hacked your favorite dips here. New recipes added every week.
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Swiss Chalet is one of the biggest Canada-based restaurant chains, with over 200 stores, and it’s the place our northern neighbors go when they want delicious rotisserie chicken and ribs. At one time there were a few Swiss Chalet restaurants in the U.S., but the last of those closed in 2010. So if you want to taste the food from Swiss Chalet and you live in the States, you’re out of luck—unless you do some food hacking.
Fortunately, the Canadian chain makes a few of its products available to purchase outside of the restaurant, including its most sought-after recipe: the dipping sauce. The famous dipping sauce is used on the chain’s popular chicken, fries, and rolls, and the instant version of the sauce comes in 36-gram envelopes, but even those are tough to find in the States. Luckily, I found some on eBay and got to work.
An instant mix like this sauce powder is often tough to copy since many ingredients in the packet are hard to find in supermarkets. For this hack, though, I found Knorr tomato bouillon cubes to be incredibly useful. These cuboids of concentrated flavor contain many of the ingredients we need for a great clone, including tomato powder and chicken fat, both of which can be found in the original sauce packet.
After you pulverize the bouillon cube into powder, combine it with the other ingredients in a small bowl, and you’ve got an instant dry blend that can be converted into a flavorful sauce in minutes, just like the real thing.
I’ve yet to taste a better habanero salsa at a quick-service Mexican chain than the one made daily at Qdoba Mexican Eats. Yes, it is very spicy, but the simple combo of fire-roasted habanero, tomatillo, and garlic is not as fiery as you might expect from a salsa that includes so much habanero in it.
And that’s exactly what makes this salsa so good. Because the habanero peppers are roasted, and the seeds are removed, you can enjoy the complex flavor of the habanero without your taste buds being numbed by the heat. A good salsa should enhance your food, not upstage it.
You can roast the peppers in your oven or by holding them over the high flame of a gas stove with a skewer until the skins have charred to black. Resting the blackened peppers in a covered container for a few minutes will help to steam the skins, and they will wash off easily under cold water.
How about using this salsa to spice up some Qdoba Grilled Chicken Adobo? Ger my recipe here.
You won't find freezers, can openers, or microwave ovens at this national Mexican food chain. Since 1990 Baja Fresh has been serving up great food, made fresh with each order. As you're waiting for your food to come out, that's when you hit up the salsa bar, where you'll find several varieties of delicious fresh salsa, from hot to mild, ready to be spooned into little tubs that you can take to your table or to your car. One of the most popular selections is called Salsa Baja—its medium spiciness, smoky flavor, and deep black color make the salsa unique and mysterious. That is, until now, since I've got a Top Secret formula for you right here. But the recipe wasn't as easy to create as I first thought. I figured the tomatoes would have to be extremely blackened over a hot grill, but I wasn't sure how to get them dark enough to turn the salsa black without the tomatoes getting all mushy and falling apart on the barbecue.
So, I went back to Baja Fresh before they opened to peer through the window to see if I could catch some hot salsa production action. I waited and waited. After several hours as the lunch rush was beginning to wind down and no fresh salsa was in the pipeline, it was time for extreme measures to get things moving. I went in and ordered 30 tubs of Salsa Baja to go, and that did it. I ended up with a big bag filled with 2 gallons of salsa (thankfully they poured those 8-ounce portions into bigger bowls), and the restaurant went immediately into "salsa red alert" to replenished the now-dwindling salsa reserve. It was perfect. As I was grabbing my bag of salsa, a dude come out from the kitchen with a huge box of tomatoes and placed them all on the grill. I ordered a giant Diet Pepsi and parked myself at a close table to watch the process. That's when I discovered the secret. For super-charred tomatoes they start with firm, chilled tomatoes, that aren't too big or too ripe. I also found out that the tomatoes must start roasting on the grill with the stem-side down. The rest was simple.
The origin of the name of this chain of Japanese steakhouses dates back to 1935. that's when founder Rocky Aokis father, Yunosuke Aoki, opened a small coffee shop in Japan and named it "Benihana" after a wild red flower that grew near the front door of his shop. Next time you're at Benihana, look carefully and you'll notice that bright red flower has been incorporated into the restaurants logo.
With most of the cooking performed before your eyes on an open hibachi grill, Benihana maintains a much smaller kitchen than most restaurants, allowing practically the entire restaurant to become productive, money-generating dining space. The limited space behind the scenes is for storage, office and dressing rooms, and a small preparation area for non-cooked items like these sauces. These sauces will go well with a variety of Asian dishes and can be frozen in sealed containers for weeks at a time. If it's the Benihana Chicken and Steak you crave, you can find my clone recipe here.
When Joe Tortorice and Rusty Coco opened the first Jason's Deli in Beaumont, Texas, in 1976, they could only dream of one day having more than 177 stores in 27 states. The original Jason's Deli menu of 12 items has exploded to more than seventy-five, with many of the awesome sandwich selections paired up with a side order of assorted fruit and creamy liqueur fruit dipping sauce. The super-tasty fruit-dipping-sauce is easily cloned here with only three ingredients and can be customized for those of you watching the fat grams by substituting low-fat or fat-free sour cream. Serve this sauce along with a bowl of your favorite fresh fruit, such as pineapple, strawberries, grapes or whatever happens to be in season.
Check here for more famous dip recipes.
These days just about every casual dining chain has its version of this appetizer: spinach and artichoke hearts mixed with cheese and spices, served up hot with chips or crackers for dipping. Making the rounds over the years, I've tried many of them, and most formulas are nearly identical. That is, except for this one. Houston's makes their spinach dip special by using a blend of sour cream, Monterey Jack cheese and Parmegiano Reggiano the ultimate Parmesan cheese. Parmegiano Reggiano is born in Italy and is usually aged nearly twice as long as other, more common Parmesan cheeses. That ingredient makes the big difference in this dip. So hunt down some of this special Parm at your well-stocked market or gourmet store, and you'll find out why Houston's spinach dip has been one of the most requested recipe clones here at TSR.
If you're hungry for more great copycat recipes from Houston's, click here.
Here's a clone for the dollop of sweet, creamy goodness that comes alongside your fish entrée at the world's largest seafood chain. This original kitchen replica gives you a quick and tasty sauce that has the look and flavor of the real thing—and it's only five ingredients! Use the sauce to dress up your next home-cooked fish platter or as a spread on fish sandwiches and fish tacos.
This super simple Chili's salsa recipe can be made in a pinch with a can of diced tomatoes, some canned jalapeños, fresh lime juice, onion, spices, and a food processor or blender. Plus you can easily double the recipe by sending in a larger 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, and simply doubling up on all the other ingredients. Use this versatile salsa as a dip for tortilla chips or plop it down onto any dish that needs flavor assistance—from eggs to taco salads to wraps to fish. You can adjust the Chili's salsa recipe heat level to suit your taste by tweaking the amount of canned jalapeños in the mix.
Now, what's for dinner? Check out some copycat entrees from your favorite restaurants here.
Along with your order from this 250-unit Western U.S. chain, comes a delicious, yet simple to clone, fat-free salsa. If you don’t have a food processor, never fear. You can also make the salsa by hand with a large, sharp knife and some steady-handed chopping. Keep your head down and watch the fingers.
Calories per serving–6
Menu Description: "Refried beans, cheddar cheese, guacamole, black olives, seasoned sour cream, green onions, tomatoes and cilantro. Served with tortilla chips and fresh salsa."
When the first T.G.I. Friday's opened in New York City in 1965 as a meeting place for single adults, Newsweek and The Saturday Evening Post reported that it was the beginning of the "singles age." Today the restaurant's customers have matured, many are married, and they bring their children with them to the more than 300 Friday's across the country and around the world.
The Nine-Layer Dip is an often requested appetizer on the T.G.I. Friday's menu. This dish will serve half a dozen people easily, so it's perfect for a small gathering. Don't worry if there's only a couple of you—leftovers can be refrigerated for a day or two.
What You’ll Need To Make Baja Fish Tacos
Most of the ingredients are pretty straightforward, except maybe the canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. If you’ve never had them, get ready to add a new staple to your pantry! They’re small peppers (usually red jalapeños) that have been dried and smoked, and they come in a spicy tomato sauce that has a smoky flavor. You can find them in the Latin section of most supermarkets.
Tilapia, snapper, mahi mahi, grouper, flounder, halibut and cod are all good white fish fillets that you can use for making fish tacos. Tilapia will be the most inexpensive choice. It’s also a little harder to work with because it’s not quite as firm, and it falls apart more easily. Mahi mahi and halibut are my personal favorites to work with for fish tacos. They’re more expensive, but they’re worth it!
Let me know if you try these and you’ve become a fish taco fan like me!
Recipe: Bajan Pepper Sauce
Greetings from London, I am back. The first day of Spring (really?!), in Ireland, Earrach (Ar-ock) and the 1st is St Brigid’s Day, where we traditionally made the St Brigid’s crosses. I wonder if kids still do that now?
Everyone was secretly hoping I would be miserable, I think (you were!) but, I love London, and the weather doesn’t really bother me, mainly as I have been away from it for a bit. Plus it is not long until I go away again so I want to soak London up. There is so much to write about Barbados though, and there are those recipes too, so it will live on here for a few more days at least.
The first thing I will share is the recipe for Denise’s Pepper Sauce. For the uninitiated, Bajan pepper sauce is delicious and is served with everything. Recipes and preferences vary but, generally, it is quite spicy (for the UK palate at least) but some are very hot and some a bit cooler. I like mine in the middle somewhere. This one, that I am sharing now, is HOT but, really delicious.
The interesting thing for me is how much turmeric went in it. I love fresh tumreric and use it over dried a lot. It requires prep though so I sometimes opt for powder when pressed for time. Bright yellow, a rhizome like ginger, it stains fiercely, be warned. I have had yellow hands that looked like I was an incredibly clumsy smoker for days after using it the first time. I now use gloves. It is worth seeking out as it is quite different to dried, with beautiful aromas, almost floral. Turmeric is terrifically healthy with anti inflammatory and anti oxidant properties too, it is also said to help prevent cancer and recent studies indicate it may help with lipid metabolism and weight loss.
Denise, a chef at The Club in Barbados where I stayed, shared her mother Thelma’s recipe with me, which I am so grateful for. This is the one I am sharing her with you now. Her mother passed away 2 years ago, and her recipes were her legacy to Denise. She still makes her Bajan seasonings, pepper sauce etc. Her pepper sauce recipe is traditional, and basically is composed of turmeric for colour (it also adds a lovely aromatic quality), chillies for heat, onions for consistency, vinegar thins it out and preserves it, mustard gives it an extra bass note and helps with the consistency too. A pinch of brown sugar balances it.
I took notes as we went, Denise adds as she goes and knows what she is looking for. It is a terrific and quite hot sauce. If you want it milder, add more vinegar and mustard (they use a mild American style mustard), or stretch it with some conrnflour & water. This is what they do for commercial pepper sauces. Personally, I think it takes from the flavour but if you want to reduce the heat, this is one approach you can use.
I have some recipes coming up that use this as an ingredients. Both Bajan recipes, and recipes of my own that use it as an ingredient, including a twist on Sunday roast chicken, which I am very excited about.
Peeled and chopped turmeric
Note on the recipe: fresh turmeric is widely available in London in Asian shops and Chinese shops. It looks like skinny small ginger. Fiddly but worth it. I have also seen it in Asda too, so keep an eye out for it. If you can’t get it, don’t worry. I will be publishing my own recipe soon once I have played around a bit, and I will make a version without fresh turmeric.
Adding the peppers. PHWOAR!
Pepper sauce before vinegar, sugar and mustard
Recipe: Bajan Pepper Sauce
225g hot scotch bonnet peppers, stems removed
225g peeled onions, coarsely chopped
110g peeled turmeric, diced
4 tbsp American style or mild mustard (prepared not oiwder)
240ml white flavourless vinegar, spirit vinegar would be ideal (again, available in Chinese shops but a flavourless white vinegar will do, just don’t use malt vinegar)
1 tbsp brown sugar
Put the turmeric in a food processer or blender and process until almost smooth. Add a little vinegar to help it along if you need to.
Add the onions, and process until finely chopped. Add the chillies, repeat. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and then add the vinegar, sugar and mustard. You want to keep it a little coarse.
Taste and if too hot, reduce the heat by adding vinegar with some mustard to offset it. Bit by bit, tasting as you go.
Store in sterilised jars or bottles. It will keep out the fridge as the vinegar acts as a preservative.
My favorite, is the Stainless Steel Flat Whisk as it does a terrific job. If you don’t have one, grab one. It is THAT good!
Whisk the ingredients, until the Baja Fish Tacos White Sauce is super smooth.
Baja Fish Tacos Creamy White Sauce
If you are not into Dill Weed, just go a head and leave it out.
However, if you are using this recipe for my Pressure Cooker Shrimp Po Boy Sandwiches, I suggest using the Dill.
Now that your Baja Fish Tacos White Sauce is all mixed up together, place it in the refrigerator.
It is time to start cooking your Air Fryer Baja Fish Tacos!
Simple Corn Salsa for Tacos Recipe
You might want to get your yummy Simple Corn Salsa for Tacos together too, as it is great inside of my Fish Tacos.
My White Sauce is so delicious and can also be enjoyed on my Air Fryer Salmon Croquettes recipe.
For a change of pace and a Baja California feel, instead of using yummy New Orleans Rémoulade Sauce on my Pressure Cooker Shrimp Po Boys, try using my Baja Fish Tacos White Sauce recipe instead.
It is also incredible delicious on my Air Fryer Southern Fried Catfish recipe.