The fajita (pronounced fa-hee-ta) is a popular dish in Tex-Mex cuisine featuring seasoned meat cooked along with peppers and onions and served with tortillas and condiments such as shredded cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo, and sour cream. Although the term "fajita" originated in the Texas ranch lands in the 1930s as a dish made with skirt steak over a campfire, the dish we now know did not make an appearance on Tex-Mex restaurant menus until the latter part of the 20th century.
Today, fajitas are made with more than just skirt steak and can feature chicken, shrimp, vegetables, and fish. But what all fajita dishes have in common is the seasoning mix for the protein—a mixture of several spices thickened with cornstarch. Although simple enough to grab a packet at the supermarket, making your own means there are no preservatives—and you can control the spice. This recipe makes the equivalent of three packets of commercial or purchased fajita seasoning mix.
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons crushed chicken bouillon cube
- 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix until it is blended and looks like one color.
- Pour the mix into a small glass or plastic container, seal tightly, and store in a cool, dry place until ready to use.
Using the Seasoning
You can use this fajita seasoning two different ways: as part of a marinade or simply rubbed directly onto the food. If you are using it as a rub, you can eliminate the cornstarch.
To use as a marinade, combine the mix with a few tablespoons of oil and lemon or lime juice to create a liquidy paste. Add the meat or chicken and let marinate for several hours or overnight. Remove from the marinade before cooking. You can also use the mix for other dishes such as a slow cooker fajita stew.
Tips and Variations
This is a fairly mild mix, so if you like your Tex-Mex food hot and spicy, add more chili powder, cayenne pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. You can also increase the amount of onion and garlic powder used if desired. If cooking for a large group—or you want to make enough mix to keep on hand—you can easily double or triple this recipe.
When using this mix to rub on raw meat, poultry, or seafood, always remove some from the storage jar and place it in a small bowl before using. That way, as you take some seasoning mix out of the little bowl and rub it on the raw meat, and then return your hand to the bowl, you won't contaminate the entire batch.
If you would like to make this recipe vegetarian or vegan, you can substitute the chicken bouillon cube with a chicken-free version such as Edward and Sons Not-Chick'n bouillon cubes, or simply remove the chicken bouillon from the recipe.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||0 g|
|Saturated Fat||0 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||0 g|
|Dietary Fiber||0 g|