In a previous birth I had to be Latino. Or most certainly a Spanish conqueror, who fell in love with avocados, chocolates, and a beautiful chica who made the most, exquisite corn tortillas. Then, I died and was re-born a Chinese farmer. That explains quite a bit about AM's dexterity with egg rolls.
And, that my friend, is probably why I love my fusion food so. Right next to the paneer chilly, and American Chopsuey, is everything TexMex. Much maligned among authentic Texas-Mexican restaurateurs of yore, presumably because it wasn't bona fide enough. "Yet this insult launched many a successful story. For the rest of the world, TexMex reflected the wilder, untamed parts of Texas ... evoking images of cantinas, cowboys and the Wild West." I for one, have always been with everyone else on this. Besides, I am all for the concept of food without borders. And, TexMex to me is just that, a happy cauldron of ingredients. Perhaps, it has something to do with seeing the neighborhood bhaiya, dish out Szechwan dosas with elan. And, loving every bite of Tandoori chicken pizza. Sure, a Manolo is a Manolo, is a Manolo. But, imagine if it came together with the Jimmy Choo in one perfect shoe! Now, that's the kind of world I want for my grand-babies. On second thoughts, if said dream ever materializes ... grand-babies-shan-babies ... I call shotgun!
Needless to say, I am not much of a food purist. Yes, I will not tinker with perfected recipes-passed-down-by-word-of-mouth -- contradiction, thy name is woman -- those are as scared as my Loboutins. But, I have no qualms about sheetal-izing everything else that walks. What does that entail? AM (snidely) suggests, it's probably sprinkling an entire cargo of chili powder and a freight of salt. What-evaa, dah-ling. I will admit, I am quite partial to my spice and (sometimes) a bit too free-handed (note: free NEVER heavy) with salt. But, it's all in the interest of food. Honestly. That said, my idea of leaving my stamp, is all about mixing and matching. Eclect-izing, if you will. Pairing the rustic with the modern, pop-in-the-mouth with something-barely-there, to create food extraordinaire.
In many ways, that's probably why TexMex speaks to me, as much as it does. With its yellow cheese, and flour tortillas; its flavor-laden chimichangas, nachos and tacos; a mixed bag of flavors, begged, borrowed, maybe even stolen -- that's probably how the chica got under my skin, anyway.
The following recipe for chicken fajitas, is loosely adapted from Wholesome Meals for Babies and Toddlers. Over my extensive search for the three-morsel-eater, I came upon this wonderful wrap. She obviously didn't take to it, but AM and I did. With the same gusto as three-year olds (for whom it is is intended). So, much so that it has become our go-to dinner when we are craving something TexMex, but don't want to eat out. It's delicious, healthy, and did I mention delicious? The real star though is, Bobby Flay's Guacamole, which I have tweaked just a tiny bit. Spread it on the inside of the tortilla wrap or serve alongside as a dip for tortilla chips. It will not disappoint. The fajitas and guacamole are making an appearance on Day 4 at Nupur's seven-day-seven-recipe marathon.
Chicken Fajitas with Guacamole
1 tsp cumin powder
1 1/4 tsp chili powder (my addition)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced fine
Juice of 1 lime
6-8 chicken strips
4 soft flour tortillas
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1/2 of a large red onion (I substituted this for the suggested green scallions)
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp + 1 or so tsp of vegetable oil
1 large, ripe avocado, halved and pitted, roughly mashed
1 green chili / Jalapeno, roughly chopped
1/4 red onion, roughly chopped
3/4 tsp salt (my estimate)
1/2 tsp black pepper (me)
Juice from 3/4th of a lime
Handful of chopped cilantro
Blitz avocado, onion and green chili to a chunky paste. Season with lime juice, salt and pepper, mix well and stir in the cilantro.
Mix cumin, olive oil, garlic, and lime juice in a non-metallic bowl. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste, then add to the bowl, and coat well to marinade. Cover with plastic wrap, and let marinade in the refrigerator for an hour at least.
Heat a pan on medium heat, adding in the vegetable oil. Place chicken strips, and cook for two-four minutes on each side, until the juices are sealed in. Test to see if chicken is cooked through and through. Remove on to a wire-rack.
Then in the same pan, stir in the onion, season with salt and pepper, and saute until slightly golden, and set aside. Add in the bell pepper, season with salt and pepper, and saute for barely two minutes -- the crunchier the better.
Slice the cooked chicken lengthwise.
Heat a griddle, and warm the tortillas on both sides. Liberally smear guacamole on tortillas, place onions, bell pepper, and sliced chicken. Roll into a wrap, and eat it already!
Cafe Lota, at the National Crafts Museum - As I was telling you, one of the most memorable meals I have partaken in the recent past has been at this, relatively new, cafe attached to the National Cr...