Hederman's smoked mackerel tacos with pea guacamole and sea buckthorn hot sauce

Claire McQuillan

Serves 2/4 | Irish/Mexican | Lunch or dinner
Prep Time: 15 mins mins | Cooking Time: 1 hour, 30 mins mins | Total Time: 1 hour 45 mins mins

We are obsessed with tacos in our house and make them really frequently. They are the perfect little snack. Highly customisable, fresh and delicious. I have used peas as an alternative to avocado in a guacamole style sauce that is also inspired by mushy peas – a classic fish combination. The tortillas might seem like a faff but they’re really pretty simple to make with a rolling pin and worth making from scratch for that authentic flavour. They would of course work beautifully with some shop bought taco shells or tortillas. Add the hot sauce you love – sea buckthorn is still in season in winter and we have been using this sauce on everything.

For the tortillas: 90g plain flour

90g masa harina (this is the cornmeal specifically for tortillas. These could be made with all plain flour too if this is too hard to find) 160g boiling water pinch of salt

For the crispy mackerel:

2 – 3 fillets of Hederman’s Smoked Mackerel, skin removed and cut into finger sized pieces

1 egg

3 tablespoons plain flourish

40g fine semolina Vegetable oil

To assemble: 100g white cabbage sliced finely

1 small red onion sliced finely

1 lime

100g frozen peas

¼ tsp of bicarbonate of soda

1 garlic clove crushed to a paste

½ teaspoon of ground cumin

For the sauce:

4 handfuls of sea buckthorn berries

1 small onion chopped

1 clove garlic chopped Sugar to taste

1 tablespoon smoked chilli flakes Salt and pepper Sour cream to serve


Heat the berries with a couple of tablespoons of water and heat until they start to burst. Crush with a potato masher and strain the juice through a sieve.

Return to the pan and add the onion, garlic, chilli and seasoning and cook on a medium heat until the onion and garlic are completely softened. Using a stick blender or food processor blend the mix until smooth.

Sweeten to taste and bottle while still hot. Allow to cool before using. This should last at least a week in the fridge.


Mix the flours with the salt and pour over the boiling water. Using a spoon (and some care!) mix this together until fully combined and no dry spots remain.

The texture should be like modelling clay and not dry – add a little more water if it seems necessary.

Allow to cool slightly and rest – about 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls. They should be just slightly smaller than a ping pong ball.

Using a press or a rolling pin place the balls between two pieces of non stick parchment and press or roll out until they are the size of a small saucer.

I like to cook these as I go but you can very gently place the raw tortillas on your counter with a little flour on the surface to stop sticking until you’re ready to go.

Cook on a dry pan at a medium heat for a minute on each side until slightly scorched. Cover the pile with a clean tea towel until you’re ready to use them.

These tortillas keep well until the next day – just seal in an airtight container and rewarm in a pan or oven.


Cook the frozen peas in enough water to cover with the bicarb (this helps break down the skins).

Strain and mash or process with the cumin, garlic, ½ juice of the lime and a pinch of salt. Add the other half of lime juice to the finely sliced red onion with a pinch of salt in a bowl to macerate and set aside.


Finally – we are ready to fry the fish and assemble. Have all of your other things ready to go – the tortillas, guac, the cabbage, onions, sour cream and hot sauce set to go as you will want to eat these straight away.

Heat 3 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy pot until it reaches 170C or until it crisps up a little bit of bread.

Arrange three bowls – in 1 beat up the egg, add the flour to another and finally the semolina. When the oil has reached temperature dunk the pieces of mackerel in clusters of 4 or 5 in the flour, then into the egg and then into the semolina. Add to the oil and fry for a few minutes until golden – the fish is already cooked so we just want this hot and crispy.

Drain on a piece of kitchen paper. Keep batches warm in a hot oven while you finish frying. Serve with all the things together on warm plates.

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