Fajita Fridays

We love Mexican food at our home and fajita Fridays are one of our favorites! The fajitas below look like a spread but once you make them a couple of times and get the hang of recipe, there are lots of opportunities for process improvement and parallelizing making this a very convenient Friday or any weeeknight 30minute dinner too.

When we lived in San Diego there was this place in Old Town called Cafe Coyote which we used to visit every Friday. They have a roadside stall where they serve fresh off the stove tortialla with butter and salsa just 50c each -- which was a steal for my student days! Most Fridays we ate roadside tortiallas but on special occasions we went inside for a more sit down dinner and that was always their fajitas for me..

After years of hopelessly searching for a Cafe Coyote alternative in south bay I started making fajitas at home instead and that's how our fajita fridays were born.

I have a set of Mexican spice blends I ordered from Penzey's spices which has been a great investment. Now I can get that authentic Mexican flavor to even the simplest of home-cooked meals which is great inceentive to eat more at home. If you like tacos and fajitas a lot, I definitely recommend investing in good mexican spice blends.

So here is how I make it:
Spanish Rice:
1C rice
2Tbsp chopped onion (or less)
2 cloves of garlic - crushed
2 small or 1 large tomato - chopped
1 tsp tomato paste
1Tbsp olive oil
1 3/4C water
salt, pepper, pinch of dried oregano

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until tender. Then add tomato paste and chopped tomatoes and saute for a couple of minutes.

Add rinsed rice and saute again for a couple of minutes. Add water, salt, pepper, oregano and transfer to rice cooker. Rice will be ready in about 20minutes (or as long as rice cooker takes)

Black beans:
1 can of rinsed black beans
1Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove - crushed
1/4C water

Saute garlic in olive oil. Then add black beans, water, salt to taste (go low salt for canned beans) and cook on low-medium for 5-10minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

2 ripe avocados
1Tbsp finely chopped red onion
handful of cilantro leaves - chopped
juice of half a large lemon
salt & pepper

Mash avocados roughly (not a smooth paste). Add the rest of ingredienets. Mix. Taste and adjust for taste

Pico de Gallos (basic salsa):
2 small tomatoes - finely chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1 green chilli
handful of cilantro leaves  - finely chopped
juice of half a lemon
1/4tsp of salsa seasoning
salt & pepper - to taste

Mix everything. Taste and adjust for taste. Set aside for about 15-20mins before serving.

thinly sliced veggies (I used onions, red pepper, mushrooms, carrots), optionally can add thinly sliced chicken pieces.
Juice of a lemon
2tsp fajita mix (or to taste)
2Tbsp vegetable oil
salt & pepper

Mix all the veggies with 1Tbsp olive oil, juice of half a lemon, fajita mix, salt & pepper. Set aside to marinate for as long as you can. When ready to cook, heat a large non stick skillet, when very hot add 1Tbsp oil and veggies. Stir-fry on high heat for just a few minutes stirring in between until the veggies start to char. Remove from hear - sprinkle with remaining juice of half a lemon. Serve immediately with warm tortiallas.

Time optimization tips:
  • Start with rice first. Once rice starts to cook, then start on other things in parallel. Rice cooking I find is the main time gate.
  • After rice is on it's own, I usually marinate veggies for fajitas and put the salsa together so they both get most time to marinate.
  • Then I cook beans
  • And lastly guaco.
  • If you have additional help in terms of kids or husband, guaco and salsa are great to delegate!
  • At last right when you are ready to eat, then stir fry veggies/chicken and then wipe the same non-stick pan with a paper towel and warm tortiallas.
  • Dinner is served!