Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Vegetable Fajitas and Cilantro Rice

Here comes our maiden Mexican dish in this blog! I have been wanting to make Mexican at home for a very long time but somehow ended up focusing on baking and "cooking" other cuisines. To help me remember, I made sure to add the Mexican ingredients to my grocery list this time. Of course, I was not going to wait for too long once I bought them so, a Tex-Mex mainstay for our dinner tonight .... vegetable fajitas served with cilantro rice.

A few things I learned about fajitas (fə-hee-tə) ....while the credit for the concept and recipe goes to the Mexicans, the name fajita is said to have been coined by the Americans, the original Mexican term for grilled skirt steak is arracheras. Well, the true fajitas are supposed to be made from skirt steak!

Now, back to our vegetarian version....

Red onion - 1/4, cut into thin long strips
Green capsicum - 1/2 of a big, cut into thin long strips
Mushrooms - 4 medium, sliced
Garlic - 3 pods, thinly sliced

In a small bowl add 1/4 cup of EVOO and whisk in 2-3 tsp of red chili powder (I used a combination of regular Indian red chili powder and the Mexican polvo de chile). Pour the marinade over the vegetables and marinate it for 20 minutes or longer if possible. I kept mine for over an hour.

About 10 minutes before serving, heat a non stick pan and pour the marinated vegetables and saute till the vegetables are 75% cooked and the mix starts to sizzle. Serve with corn tortillas wrapped and heated in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.

Cilantro Rice:
I used DK's recipe on Chef In You

White rice - 1 cup
Water - 2 cups
Salt - 2 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice - 3/4th lemon
Cilantro - finely chopped
Oil - 1 tbsp

Soak the rice in water for about 10 minutes. In a non stick pan, heat the oil, drain the water out and add the rice and sugar to the pan. When you begin to smell the aroma, add the lemon juice, mix well and add 2 cups of water, bring it to a quick boil and cover and cook on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. You can turn the heat off, remove lid, fluff up the rice and mix in the cilantro. Thank you DK!

Other accompaniments: salsa verde or the tomatillo sauce (I used the one from Trader Joe's), Mexican shredded cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, finely chopped lettuce, re-fried beans, sour cream, fresh avocados sliced and topped with salt/pepper/lemon juice or guacamole.

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