Thursday, 27 June 2013

Chicken Fajitas a la California

Although I was always a fan of Mexican restaurants in New Zealand, when I lived in San Francisco I discovered the delights of Californian-Mexican food.  Compared to the stodgy cheesey stuff I loved in New Zealand, Cal-Mex is light, fresh, healthy and tasty.  I regularly treated myself to dos tacos at the taqueria down the road on my way home from yoga class.  Working in Dallas, I discovered that TexMex is a very different beast and not really to my taste - too much yellow cheese.

When I get a craving for Mexican in London, I either wander down to the local Tortilla or, depending on whats in the fridge, I put together a fajitas feast.  I try to make it as healthy as possible by using my own fajitas mix, dry frying the food and using very little cheese and non fat yoghurt as extras.

We had peppers onions, tomatoes and avocado and some tortilla wraps in the cupoard.  After just starting to eat meat once or twice a week in the last year or so, in the interests of lowering blood pressure and fostering fertility I've once again decreased our meat intake.  For our Mexican meal, Mr Duncan was under strict instructions to pick up one, and only one, chicken breast which was more than enough for the both of us.

  • Fajita spice mix - I throw together a generous teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, chilli powder, dried basil or oregano and smoked paprika.  The online recipes also include salt and garlic powder, but we're off the salt for blood pressure reasons and leaving it out doesn't seem to make much difference to the taste.
  • Chicken breast, sliced crossways into strips
  • Sliced onions and peppers/capsicum (or corguettes/mushrooms/eggplant)
  • 2 tortilla wraps per person
Serve with all/any of
  • Sliced avocado
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Chopped fresh tomato (made into a fresh salsa with onion/fresh coriander/lime if you have it)
  • Grated cheese
  • Plain yoghurt
  • Pickled Jalapeno peppers
Mix the spices in a bowl and toss the chicken strips until they are all well coated.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate while you slice up the veg.

When all the prep is done, heat a frying pan over a medium flame and cook the chicken in the dry pan, turning frequently for about five minutes until it is all sealed on the outside.  Some of the spice mix will get stuck on the bottom of the pan.  That is fine. Remove the chicken to a plate.

Add the peppers and onions to the pan and a splash of cold water, enough to pick up the spices stuck to the bottom and half steam the veg as you stir fry it.

Remove the veg to a plate and return the chicken to reheat.  Serve strips of filling across tortillas with extras.  Roll the tortilla and eat with your hands.  I actually find it easier to cut the tortillas in half and roll them a bit like japanese hand rolls.

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