Growing up in California I was lucky enough to have an abundance of authentic Mexican eateries at my doorstep. Most of these takeaways or restaurants served amazing tasting food at an affordable price, serving up styles from all over Mexico! I just love the way they char-grill the meat and veg over tasty rice and beans, topping it off with fresh salsa, cheese and sour cream! Yum! And really, nothing compares to having the real thing from an authentic Mexican chef!
Where my family and I live now on the Northern Beaches of Sydney it can be quite difficult to find beautiful Mexican flavours so close to home. It’s not a total fail though. About 10 years ago I noticed there was quite a demand for Mexican food and several new restaurants started sprouting up in the Sydney CBD! Some of these eateries have stayed true to the culture serving up some beautiful dishes and flavour combinations, while others, I find, have disgraced the ingredients leaving the food bland and tasteless.
When the food is delicious we will go out of our way to eat out. Unfortunately there is not an abundance of Mexican Cantina’s just down the road! So what do you do when you’re craving something that you can’t get someone to make for you? Cook it yourself of course!
My repertoire of Mexican dishes is mostly limited to burritos, soft and hard tacos but I am sure I will get around to trying my hand at chimichungas, enchiladas, temales and churros. In fact, I may make one of these dishes my next challenge!
So last night I made chicken fajita tacos with pico de gallo (salsa), fresh avocado, sprinkled with cheese and a dollop of sour cream. When cooking Mexican food, it is important to have enough spices and heat in the meat! A classic combo is cumin, paprika, chilli, and olive oil. For the capsicum and onion it is essential to char-grill these for extra flavour and texture. To make the rice, chop white onion finely and caramelise in a saucepan before adding a cup of rice and 2 cups of chicken stock. Boil on high until water is just above the rice then put heat to low and cover and cook for 15 min. Create a salsa fresco, also known as pico de gallo by chopping red onion, tomatoes, fresh coriander (cilantro), fresh lime and sea salt! If you want some more heat add chopped red or green chilli. To make your tacos extra fresco add some chopped avocado and fresh lime.
Suggested layering order:
Taco, rice and black beans, meat, cheese, pico de gallo, avocado, sour cream, and lime.
Deliciousness tacos frescos!