Fajitas make a great entertainer as a bright and colourful dish. With succulent grilled chicken, sliced capsicums and all your favourite accompaniments they are best served buffet style where everyone gets to create their own masterpiece.
This recipe uses my Creole marinade, inspired by the legendary blend of French and West African cultures from the early days of the southern colony of Louisiana in the Southern States of America.The West Africans had been trading with the Far East for hundreds of years and their cuisine is full of spice and heat. I mean Sichuan Provence or Vindaloo kind of heat, the kind of heat that unless you are exposed to it at an early age, you will find it almost impossible to eat. Because your eyes will be watering, your mouth will feel like it has had molten lead poured into it and a cold sweat will be beading all over your body.
Now, in contrast the French are not known for their use of heat in food. The most you will get is from a mustard or some pepper. That’s why this blend of Creole cooking is so superb. You will feel a tingle on the back of the pallet due to the fiery cayenne, but it is well tempered with smokey paprika, black pepper and oregano. The original recipe has about 30 per cent sugar content but I have removed the sugar as we have enough hidden sugar in our diet; besides if you get your hands on some organic free-range chicken the meat already has a slight sweetness.
Rane, my father-in-law, was born in Uganda and has northern Indian heritage; at age 18 he was awarded a scholarship to study medicine in Scotland where he met my mother-in-law Ann who was also studying to be a doctor. On my first visit to their home in the middle of June and a balmy minus 10C outside, Rane looked up at me as we sat around the table enjoying a nice dram of single malt whisky. He cleared his throat as if he were about to say something of great importance and preceded, “You know what Dylan, I need to make you my famous chicken curry.” “Sounds good. I’d like that,” I said in agreement.
The next afternoon as my wife and I returned from the local Inn, as one does in Scotland, I was greeted by the most amazing aromas - the unmistakable smell of curry. “Dylan is that you?” came a loud voice from the kitchen. “Come and have a look at this.” Rane was stirring gently a simmering pot and as I got closer my eyes began to twitch; as I reached the stove they had already begun to water. “Doesn't it smell wonderful?” said Rane with pride in his voice. “Sure does” I replied. “You can have a taste if you like?” he said as a smirk crept across his face and he offered me a spoon.
Now I was in a tight spot; refusal would insult him, something I didn’t want to do, but I knew it was going to be hot. What’s the worst it could do? I thought, so I grabbed the spoon and only then realised my hand was shaking. I placed the spoon into the rich tomato-based sauce, gave it a blow and put it in my mouth. My tongue felt like it had been doused in hydrochloric acid. I hesitated, but Rane was watching. I knew I had to swallow. With all the courage I could muster, I gulped it down. I felt as if I had swallowed razorblades. I felt it go all the way down and hit my stomach where I was sure it was going to burn a hole through my lining and finally kill me.
Thankfully, this dish just has just a hum of heat, that for those who like a bit of heat will enjoy immensely. This flavourful meal is perfect for when friends drop by on the weekend or as a weeknight whip up because it only takes ~20 minutes to get it on the table.
PREP TIME: 5-10 mins
COOKING TIME: 10 mins
300g chicken breast, cut into strips
2 tbsps oil
2 tbsps CREOLE
1 red onion sliced
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 red capsicum, sliced
1/2 green capsicum, sliced
1/2 yellow capsicum, sliced
50g pickled jalapeños
150ml sour cream
2 cups cooked steamed rice or tortilla chips (optional)
100g grated tasty cheese
1 ripe avocado
4 or more flat bread tortilla wraps
fresh red chillis
lime wedges, spring onion or coriander to garnish
In a medium bowl mix the CREOLE and oil and marinate the chicken.
Over a medium heat in a large frypan add a little oil and fry onion and garlic until aromatic; add sliced capsicum and cook, stirring for 5 minutes until well cooked; remove and reserve in a separate bowl.
Add a little more oil to the pan and on a high heat add the chicken and cook, turning once; then add in the onion and capsicum.
Stir to combine.
Prepare accompaniments for the table. Slice avocado or whip up a guacamole and quarter limes.
Garnish each dish then it's time to grab a tortilla wrap and get making your fajitas. Try not to load 'em up too much - you can always go back for another round!