Fajitas are a very popular Southern Californian – rather than Mexican-dish and are made from wheat-flour tortillas stuffed with a spicy filling, usually strips of chicken sautéed with red peppers, onion, a little hot chilli, coriander and garlic. The filling can also contain beans, salsa and sour cream. The tortillas are easy to make and the dough can be made the day before and kept, cling-wrapped, in the fridge.
First make the tortillas: put the flour, lard, oil and salt into a food processor and whiz to combine. Continue to process, pouring the warm water through the feeder tube in a thin stream until the dough balls. This may not take all the water or it may take a little more. Process until you have a smooth elastic dough. Turn out on a floured surface and divide into
Heat a heavy frying pan over a moderate heat, but don’t oil it. On a floured surface, roll out a ball of dough, rotating, rolling and turning until you have a 17.5-cm / 7-inch circle. Dust with flour if it sticks. Place the tortillas one at a time on the hot metal. The top will start to bubble with hot air. Turn when the underside blisters. Cook for another 30 seconds, remove and wrap in a cloth to keep warm and moist. Do not overcook or the tortilla will go crisp.
Make the filling: sweat the peppers, chilli and onions over a low heat in the sunflower oil for 5 minutes, or until soft. While they are softening, put the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, salt and pepper into a dry heavy iron pan over a very low heat and toast them for 2–3 minutes, stirring. Grind to a powder. Sprinkle the frying vegetables with this, then turn up the heat and add the chicken to the pan, tossing and turning to cook. This takes very little time, no more than 3 or 4 minutes.
Scatter over coriander leaves over before bringing to the table. Serve with the tortillas, guacamole, sour cream, refried beans and a tomato and red onion salad.
© 1998 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.