Fajita (Tex-Mex delicacy)


Fajita resembles our very own ‘Calcutta roll’ but not wrapped so meticulously. The combined dish of Texas and Mexico also means ‘a little strap.’ The history of Fajita is a little inhuman; sometimes around 1950, the ranch workers working along the border of Mexico and Texas were served cheap food that mainly consisted of ground meat. The strap muscle of the cow was given away to dogs because of its high content of tendon. The ranch owners started buying these ‘straps’ for their workers to serve them as food; cutting the cost further.  The workers tenderized the meat by grinding and marinating it in limejuice. The tender meat was then cooked over an open fire using wood from the mesquite tree, a hardwood that grows abundantly in Texas. The open flame seared the meat to draw up the tendon and then the meat was cut into thin long stripes, almost of the length of a finger, wrapped in tortillas and eaten as the ‘little strap.’

Since its year of inception, ‘Fajita’ has seen lot of changes in its filling and preparation. Along with the traditional beef filling, lamb, poultry, seafood and vegetables, which are either barbequed, roasted or pan-fried have also been introduced. Although in the authentic version of fajita, meat is marinated only in limejuice, other marinades have now started coming into the scene, making the food more tasty and explorable. The new entries in the scene of marination include beer, Worcestershire sauce, Soya sauce, barbeque sauce, Italian salad dressing, apple cider, vinegar, and tequila; all unique by their own taste and flavour. 
Among the various fajitas, the popular ones are chicken fajita, the barbequed seafood and the fish fajita, very un usual, it may sound, but very tasty. For the first one, it is the chicken, marinated in limejuice, olive oil, garlic and oregano is usually kept in a glass or plastic container so that there is no reaction to the acid effect of lime. It is then roasted in a covered pan along with the marinade till almost 2/3 of the cooking is done. The last ten minutes is cooked uncovered and after the usual standing time, it is sliced, sautéed with onion, tomatoes and seasonal peppers, wrapped in a tortilla and served absolutely ‘hot.’ It is usually steaming hot both in temperature and taste. The ripe red chillies chopped inside the wrap brings in a fantastic bonding between all other fillings. 

Bay scallops and Tiger shrimps, marinated and cooked above the fire and then sautéed with seasonal peppers and onions makes up the unusual barbequed seafood fajita. It is not as soft as the chicken but the overall spicy effect with the salsa and the sumptuousness of the seafood makes it a tremendous combination. 
For a healthy diet of fish, pan-fried tilapia and chopped onions are served with warm tortillas with little sour cream and fresh coriander making it juicy and succulent. Fish is a latest introduction in the world of fajitas and surprisingly it tastes good.