From local to global: The amazing story of Fajitas
From local to global: The amazing story of Fajitas
Did you know that an entire day is dedicated to celebrating the Tex-Mex fajita in the United States? National Fajita Day – August 18 – celebrates the authentic taste of the Southwest by focusing the spotlight on this succulent Mexican dish of marinated meat and vegetables, cut into strips, cooked, and wrapped inside a tortilla… a burst of flavours and spices that tantalises your tastebuds. A mouth-watering fajita is best served warm. Make it interesting by adding healthy options such as black beans and fresh guacamole, yummy sour cream and cheese, and perhaps, get adventurous with a splash of hot sauce. Garnish with aromatic cilantro. Voila! You have transformed the delicious fajita into a gourmand’s delight.

Fajita, where did thou come from?
So, what’s the story behind the well-loved fajita? Its humble origins date back to the 1930s when Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) and workers on the ranch were often paid with meat, comprising the least-desirable parts such as the head, skirt steak, and even entrails. In Spanish, fajita is the shortened version of faja, which means a belt-like sash or girdle. A cow’s fajita is its diaphragm muscle (a long band resembling a sash). For the ranch hands working in the Rio Grande Valley, this was their staple food.
What landed on the plate, courtesy of this local soul food, were hunger-satiating dishes like barbacoa de cabeza (head barbecue), menudo (tripe stew), arrachera and fajita (both made with grilled skirt steak). The meat was marinated and grilled on an open fire. The common thread was that juicy meat was seasoned, seared and cooked to perfection and most often tossed with sauteed bell peppers and onions. It was a balance of tender meat on the inside and flavourful skin on the outside.

From local to global; from beef to meat alternatives

What started as means of everyday quick sustenance became a global phenomenon over time, modified to suit different cultures and palates. Originally, a fajita’s main ingredient was beef. Nowadays, chicken, prawns, pork and other succulent alternatives are used. More options include vegetarian substitutes such as tofu, soya chunks, and paneer while preparing a fajita — instant meatless fajitas!
As the dish became popular, the flavourful but tough skirt steak was used lesser and lesser. It is incredibly easy to make your fajita seasoning, and the spices can be adjusted to suit your taste. Get creative and experiment with this Tex-Mex cuisine by spicing it up with a mixture of lime juice, cumin, garlic, and chilli powder.

Fajitas to the rescue - breakfast, lunch or dinner

Fajitas hit the spot as a quick and wholesome dish for any meal of the day – breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is probably the main reason why fajitas have become popular across the world. They are quick and simple to prepare and can be enhanced with a variety of toppings, condiments, and ingredients available in the pantry. In a quick-paced lifestyle, where time is always at a premium, don’t let eating food that is delicious and healthy take a backseat. Instead, prepare nutritious food for yourself and your family so you can have the best of both worlds.

A meal with fewer carbohydrates?

Though a healthy meal by itself, you can further make a fajita healthier based on your lifestyle and preferences. Simply replace the flour tortillas with those made from corn or even gluten-free substitutes such as almonds, buckwheat, and oats. Just make sure to balance your proteins with enough vegetables.
Are you a non-vegetarian aficionado but don’t have any meat in your fridge at home, don’t worry. Do you have eggs? Cook scrambled eggs and stuff your fajita with it, add some slices of tomato, and sprinkle generously with cheese – a quick and healthy meal at your behest and fingertips.
Versatile and delicious, fajitas are sure to please and can be enjoyed in myriad ways — with family, friends, or colleagues for a quick and easy mid-week meal, a weekend get-together, or a fun-filled party with laughter.
At Cali, one of the must-eat restaurant chains in Singapore, we serve mouth-watering fajitas that are irresistible, no matter your taste buds. So, what makes them extra special? Read here.

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