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Chipotle Fish Tacos with Carrot and Apple Slaw

by roselevit

The best recipes come from a chaotic fridge and an excess of boredom.

By that, I mean that this recipe only came about because I had a bunch of random shit to work with, including some cod filets I thought I’d never eat, some rather sad looking rainbow carrots, less than a handful of arugula, and a full container of chipotle powder. Plus, I’ve been baking for like five hours a day recently, so I thought it was time to make something savory. I have infinite time on my hands due to the confluence of quarantine and summer break, and I’ve had to come to terms with certain facts: I’ll be in school pretty much year round until I graduate, cake decorating requires the same level of commitment as any art, I didn’t get the 4.0 I wanted, and trying to pick political fights online never makes me feel better. So… fish tacos, obviously.

These tacos have the world’s best spicy fried fish. I like a lot of spice, so I used cayenne, chili powder, chipotle, and hot sauce, but you can certainly tailor the spice to fit your preference. To make the fish less spicy, leave out the cayenne and halve the amounts of the chili and chipotle. If you’re cooking for kids, use paprika or no added spice at all.

The carrot and apple slaw is crunchy, super bright, slightly sweet, and a little tangy, balancing the fish perfectly. The recipe also makes quite a bit of slaw, so halve it if you don’t want leftovers.

When my boyfriend tried these tacos, he said “this is the whole reason for the human experience. It’s what makes it all worth it. Not love, not fulfillment ā€“ fish tacos.” I keep marveling at his ability to pull creative and quote-worthy compliments out of thin air every time I cook something. It’s a useful talent šŸ˜‰ I hope you enjoy these just as much as he did.

NOTE: I recognize that I haven’t posted in a long time, and that’s because Black lives matter more way more than recipes do. I hope none of y’all have noticed my extended absence because you’ve also been staying engaged, reading the news, donating to bail funds and other charities, and going out to protests. In light of all that’s happening in the world, recipes should be the lowest priority.

Chipotle Fish Tacos with Carrot and Apple Slaw

This recipe strikes the perfect balance between spicy, tangy, and sweet. The oil and vinegar-based slaw lightens up the chipotle fried fish, while the avocado adds creaminess and depth. Try them with sour cream or crema!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 2 people



  • Ā¼ red cabbage shredded
  • 3 medium rainbow carrots shredded
  • 1 red apple (Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, etc.) cored and shredded
  • Ā¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp whole grain or dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 2 cod filets sustainably sourced if possible
  • ~1 cup buttermilk or whole milk
  • Ā¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Ā½ tsp cumin
  • ā…› tsp cayenne optional
  • High-heat oil for frying

To Serve

  • Corn tortillas 2-3 per person, warmed
  • Fresh avocado sliced
  • Optional garnishes: sour cream or crema, microgreens or arugula, hot sauce, cilantro



  • Combine all the slaw ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and chill for about 20 minutes or until ready to serve.*


  • Cut the filets into large chunks. Marinate the fish in the buttermilk for about 10 minutes.
  • Stir together the cornstarch and spices in a small bowl. Heat a large skillet over high heat, then add a high-heat oil of choice (avocado oil is my favorite). When the skillet is hot, turn the heat down to medium-high. Remove the fish from the buttermilk one piece at a time, shake off the excess, dredge in the cornstarch mixture, and add to the hot oil.
  • Fry the fish for a few minutes on each side until the coating is golden brown. I tipped my skillet slightly so all the oil pooled around the fish, allowing it to fry better. Remove to a plate lined with towels.
  • Warm the tortillas in a skillet, the oven, or the microwave (that's what I did, shhhhhh). Slice some avocado, prepare any other toppings you want, and assemble the tacos. Serve immediately.


*Extra slaw will keep in the fridge for several days
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