Sadly I’ve never had a good eating out experience when it comes to Mexican food. I never managed to find a good Mexican restaurant when I lived in London (in the pre-Wahaca days), and when I first moved to Nottingham 13 years ago it was awash with multi-cuisine restaurants serving Mexican, Spanish AND Italian dishes with as much as you could eat and drink for a set price. They were awful dining experiences, none of the food was good but the Mexican food was abominable.
Pretty sure I could do better, I started making fajitas at home and I came up with this fajitas seasoning by looking at the ingredients on the back of an Old El Paso packet in the supermarket and subtracting all the rubbish. I have no idea how authentic this recipe is but it does taste good and once you’ve marinaded the chicken it takes less than 10 minutes to cook.
Tortilla dough is easy to make (it’s just flour, a pinch of salt, tepid water and a little oil) but they’re a bit of a faff to roll out and it does take time to fry each one individually so I often buy these from the supermarket. Having said this, I never, ever buy ready- made guacamole because it’s just horrible. And it’s so simple to make your own – just mash a ripe avocado in a pestle and mortar and seasoning with lemon juice and salt.
(for two large chicken breasts, serving two people)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 garlic cloves
- Chilli – it depends how hot you like it. One fresh green chilli and a pinch of dried chilli flakes will give you a medium heat
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- A good grind of pepper
For the sauce
- 1 onion, halved and sliced
- 1 sweet red pepper, chopped into medium sized strips
- A large squeeze of tomato purée
- ½ tin of tomatoes with most of the juice drained (and saved to use in another dish)
Firstly, cut the chicken breast into strips and leave it to marinade in the seasoning mix above in the fridge for a few hours. I usually do this bit in the morning ready for the evening.
When you’re ready to cook heat a little oil in a frying pan until it’s really hot and add the chicken. Stir it around for a couple of minutes until it’s a nice deep golden colour on all sides. Move the chicken to one side of the pan, add a little more oil and add the onion and pepper. Keeping the heat high cook these for a couple of minutes and then add the tinned tomatoes and tomato purée. This will start to bubble vigorously, this is good as you want to boil off as much of the liquid as possible, after another couple of minutes turn the heat down and continue to cook until the chicken is cooked through. The finished sauce should be quite dry.
To make up the fajitas, smear a warmed tortilla wrap with sour cream, guacamole (and grated cheese if you really must). Then add a good heap of the chicken mixture and envelope up. Yum.