Banh Mi Fish Taco Recipe

Banh Mi Fish Taco Recipe Recipe

These fish tacos are filled with grilled halibut, cilantro lime rice, salsa verde, diced avocado, shredded lettuce, crumbled queso fresco, pickled jalapeños, carrot and daikon (the Vietnamese flair in these tacos) and finally a dollop of Mexican sour cream. 

After completing my second cookbook, (shameless plug: don't forget to pre-order my Banh Mi cookbook), I've been professing my love for the Vietnamese sandwiches to whomever I meet on Twitter. Last weekend, I came across the most wonderful idea from a Texan food & wine festival through Chef David Bull from Austin: Banh Mi Tacos. In my second cookbook, I kept everything fairly traditional by sticking to straight, authentic recipes for the Vietnamese baguette, đồ chua (pickled carrots and daikon) and Vietnamese-style meat. But what I love most is the way we can get inspired from a certain type of cuisine and come up with new, creative dishes.  


Yields: 6 servings

6 (4-ounce) halibut fillets, about 1"-thick
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or regular salt)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
juice of 3 limes
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
¼ cup salsa verde (click on the link for the recipe)
1½ cups long-grain brown rice
½ white onion, chopped
2¼ cups chicken stock, as needed
2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly cracked
½ cup olive oil
18 taco shells
1 cup shredded Romaine lettuce leaves
2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed and thinly sliced
½ daikon radish
1 carrot
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
⅓ cup white vinegar, to taste
2½ cups cilantro, chopped
¼ cup queso fresco, freshly crumbled
¼ cup crema Mexicana sour cream
2 avocados, diced and drizzled with lime juice
2 cups shredded lettuce
2 limes, cut into wedges


For the pickled carrot and daikon:

Peel the carrots and daikon and shred them. If you use a shredding vegetable peeler, you'll get long threads of carrot and daikon pieces. Cut into about 3" pieces.

You could also slice the vegetables with a mandoline, then julienne them using a sharp knife, but I wouldn't recommend using a grater blade on a food processor as the vegetables will become a bit soggy and mushy.

Place the carrots, daikon and 1 sliced jalapeño pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sugar. Drizzle with the rice vinegar. Toss well. Let sit for about 15 minutes. Mix well. Drain the vegetables, reserving as much liquid as possible.

For the cilantro rice:

In a frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons oil.  Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add 1 clove garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the rice, stir well, making sure each grain is well coated in oil. Add 2 cups cilantro, 1 sliced jalapeño pepper, cumin, garlic powder and 1½ cups chicken broth. Stir well and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes, adding the remaining chicken stock once the first amount has evaporated. Check doneness of the rice. Add more chicken stock and cook for an additional 5 minutes, if necessary. If fully cooked, turn off the heat and let the rice stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Prepping the halibut fillets:

Pat dry the fillets using paper towels. Season the fish with salt and cayenne pepper on both sides. Add 1 clove garlic, 1 teaspoon sugar, Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon cumin and juice of 2 limes. Place into a zip-top bag. Drizzle with olive oil. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour. 

Grilling the fish:

Remove the fish from the refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking to bring it back to room temperature. Pat dry one more time. Season with kosher salt and pepper.

Brush a non-stick griddle pan with olive oil. Add the fish fillets to the hot pan. Cook for about 3 minutes. Once a caramelized crust is formed, carefully lift and flip the fillets and cook (about 10 minutes total) until the fish becomes opaque. Let stand for 5 minutes and flake the fish into large morsels.

Assembly time:

Fluff the rice with a fork. Add 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro and the juice of 1 lime.

Assemble the tacos. On a serving platter, place the taco shells. Spoon a layer of cilantro rice into the shells. For each individual taco, cover with lettuce, add a layer of pickled carrot and daikon, lettuce and the fish. Sprinkle with queso fresco. Finish with sour cream and diced avocado. Garnish with salsa. Repeat until all the tacos are filled.

Count 3 tacos per person.

Serve immediately; otherwise the taco shells will turn soggy.

Serve with lime wedges on the side.



You could substitute any other flaky, firm-fleshed fish such as cod, swordfish or tuna. For a breaded version (beer battered, then deep fried), use tilapia, rubio or wahoo fish. It's not as healthy, but so good!

Daikon (củ cải trắng in Vietnamese) is an Asian radish that looks like a large white carrot. I also use this root a lot when making vegetarian broth to add natural sweetness to it.

You can store the remaining pickled carrots and daikon in 4-ounce Mason jars in the refrigerator.

I used Queso Del Valle queso fresco and crema Mexicana sour cream. 

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on May 1, 2013.


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