Fish Tacos are my new favorite dish. I was really taken with some that were served to us in a sushi bar of all places. Can you believe it?! We were in Eugene, Oregon checking out the local spots and came upon this unassuming place. It didn't even have a sign on the outside of the establishment. Mame (sounds like mah may) is this incredible yet non-traditional sushi bar that I highly recommend if you are in Eugene, Oregon. To be honest, I've been trying to sort it out in my mind exactly how these fish tacos were made. The taco shell isn't a shell at all but a soft white pillow of goodness that you wrap around the fish and other ingredients. So, with some thought, it occurred to me that maybe the taco shell was made with rice flour. But, what I've come to discover (and no one has confirmed this I just think I figured it out!) is that the taco shell is more like the dough used to make manju a Japanese style steamed bun. Upon figuring this out I became elated that I could now attempt to recreate these wonderful little morsels.
OK...on to the Mame Asian style tacos. If you venture into making these, I'm sure you will agree that these tacos are quite unique and flavorful and you'll want to eat a bunch of them! You may want to double the recipe depending on how many people you are serving or if you want leftovers. We love them and they turned out fantastic! Here's the recipe!
Ingredients for the dough: makes 15 taco buns.
2 cups all–purpose flour
1, 1/4 oz. packet instant active dry yeast
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon sugar (to help with starting the yeast)
Pinch or two of salt
1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus extra for rolling out dough
3/4 cup lukewarm water
To make the Dough:
Mix the flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl mix the yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and the water together. Then, mix all ingredients together along with the oil. When the ingredients are combined knead the dough by hand or use a mixer if you have one. At our house we like to do this by hand. Once the dough is formed into a ball place it in a bowl coated with a small amount of oil and cover the dough with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise until its doubled in size (this should take about an hour).
Forming and cooking the Buns:
After the dough has risen and doubled in volume punch it down and lightly knead it. Then after the kneading break the dough into 15 equal pieces. Then roll each piece into a ball, and place under a wet kitchen towel and allow them to rest for 10 minutes. They will most likely rise a bit more. Afterward, roll out each small dough ball into 4-inch diameter circles. Place the dough rounds in a bamboo steamer placing each piece on parchment paper so that they don't stick to each other or the bamboo steamer. Let the taco buns steam for about 1 & a 1/2 minutes each. You may need to let it go longer for the first few but afterward, 1 & a 1/2 minutes in a bamboo steamer will do it. They should expand in size and will be perfect for filling with the fish and additional toppings. One note: I suggest you broil the fish with the marinade below, cut up the vegetables and prepare everything before you start the steaming process. Then when the soft taco buns are ready you can fill them and eat immediately. This is so you can enjoy it at its best. If you want, steaming the buns before hand would work extremely well too. Then you can just sit and enjoy the food.
Ingredients for the fish:
1 to 2 lbs. White Fish
I'm using flounder but a thicker variety like Cod or Grouper could work well or 1 lb. Salmon filet depending on your preference.
Fish marinade includes:
4 Tablespoons seasoned soy sauce or soy sauce will work too
1.5 teaspoons wasabi paste or to taste
1 packet splenda or sweetener of choice
1 tsp. hot or plain sesame oil
You can add or subtract any amount to taste. Be sure to nicely coat the fish with this marinade before broiling or baking. I also sprinkled some Wasabi Fumi Furikake on top. This is worth purchasing because it adds a nice little crunch and just tastes awesome.
Ingredients for the filling:
green onions chopped finely
baby spinach or lettuce
Ingredients for the final sauce:
4 to 5 Tablespoons mayonnaise (light or full fat) or you can try the Japanese Kewpie style which is even higher in fat but really pretty awesome and amazing.
1 to 2 teaspoons wasabi paste or to taste
1 packet splenda sweetener or the equivalent in sugar
lime or lemon juice to taste
Mix all these ingredients together till you get a nice smooth consistency and flavor that you like. Add water to thin the consistency so its easy to drizzle
Assemble the Tacos!
Assemble all the ingredients in a soft taco bun just like you would with traditional taco ingredients. Garnish with the greens and top with the wasabi cream and Wasabi Fumi Furikake. Sugoi! which means Awesome! in Japanese. :-)
This recipe may seem a bit long but I promise you it really isn't. I suggest you try this on a weekend at first to see. The dough can be prepared earlier in the day and then the steaming of the taco buns and the broiling of the fish really come together quite quickly once you get your system down. It is so so worth it!