Fajita is a Tex Mex tortilla with beef skirt steak. Unlike enchiladas or burritos which are wrapped around a filling, the fajita consists of the stuffing being placed between two tortillas one placed below the other. Apart from beef, in the present times, the dish is also made using other types of meat like chicken, shrimp and pork. The tortilla is made from wheat or corn flour. Onions and bell peppers are the common ingredients used for garnishing the fajita. Fajitas are served with a number of accompaniments like guacamole, salsa, lettuce garnish, sour cream, and pico de gallo. Popular fajita recipes include those for skirt steak fajitas, shrimp fajitas, chicken and pork fajitas. The dish was previously known and called tacos al carbon in the menus of restaurants with the word fajitas making an appearance only in 1975.
History of Fajita
Fajita was first believed to have originated in the Texan ranch regions where, according to a study by Homero Reco in 1984, skirt steal which is the prime ingredient of the dish was given away to the cowboys (called vaqueros) as part of their wages. Fajitas along with babecoa de cabaza(a barbecue dish) and menudo( a stewed dish) shares similar explanation of its invention. The first commercial sale of the fajitas was believed to have three different places of origin in the Texas. Sonny Falcon, who was titled “The Fajita King “ by an Austrian reporter, believed to have started its commercial accessibility, while, Jon Daniel was believed to have introduced beef fajitas to the Texan cuisine in 1972 after his visit to Mexico. According to another theory the credit for the first commercialization of the dish seems to be attributed to Georgetown in Texas.
Fajitas were a popular feature of the restaurants of San Francisco and Houston. Ninfa was one of the restaurants that popularized this dish very much. The dish was called by Ninfa as tacos la carbon or tacos a la Ninfa prior to being known as fajita in the modern times. The Mexican name for the dish was used by the Mexican fast food houses in 1990s to increase the popularity of the dish.
Commonly Used Ingredients for Fajitas
A fajita is normally made of beef skirt steak, though other ingredients like chicken, shrimp or pork are being widely used nowadays. Onion and bell pepper seasonings tend to make the meat very flavorful ingredient of the dish. The tortilla of the fajita is made of flour or corn. Oregano leaves, garlic cloves, limejuice, cumin, black pepper and tequila are the constituents of the flavorful marinade. Sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole, salsa, cheese and tomato are included in a number of fajita recipes as accompaniments to the dish. Chicken fajitas are gaining a lot of popularity in the present times.
Gourmet fajita is made with a number of ingredients. Corn and beans are often used as stuffings for gourmet fajitas. Fruits like pineapple are also used in making gourmet fajita.
Preparation of Fajitas
Preparation of fajita beings with the preparation of meat which is first marinated in lime juice and sauce for about a day. The fajita is cooked in a number of ways like grilling, broiling, frying or even skewering the dish.
- Grilled fajita – this is the most conventional method of preparing the fajita. The fajita is grilled over charcoal fire. The tortilla is exposed to fire on both the sides and cooked briefly for a few minutes. The fajita should then be cooled ad cut into finger shaped strips.
- Broiled Fajitas- the fajitas are broiled briefly, cooled for sometime, and then cut into finger shaped wedges.
- Fried Fajita- this dish is made by first frying the fajita meat, i.e. the beef skirt on a pan with onion and bell pepper seasonings and then arranging it in prepared tortillas. Commercially prepared tortillas can be used for the purpose if preparation of the tortilla is inconvenient.
- Skewered fajita – this involves arranged the meat and vegetables on skewers and then grilling them. The cooked meat and vegetables are removed from the skewers and served with flour or corn tortillas.
As mentioned already, a number of condiments are served with the fajita. Pico de gallo is one of the most popular accompaniments for the fajita, and it is very spicy. However, as it can be prepared in a number of ways the spiciness can be controlled by changing the ingredients here and there. Guacamole should be made with good quality avocados.
Fajita is usually served as a sizzler. It is brought to the table sizzling with the tortilla and the accompaniments arranged one on side of the other.
A fajita is considered to be most versatile. It can be served for various courses and consumed as lunch, dinner or breakfast. It can be cut into very small pieces or served as large chunks and it can be served hot or cold.