At the last minute, I decided to cut corn tortillas into strips and stir-fry with the ultimate chicken fajita. I am glad I sparked this idea at that moment because it made these plain crumbly tortilla shells absorb all those fabulous flavors from the chicken fajita.
The major cafeteria in my college had more than fifteen vendors, and each of these vendors had more than ten different dishes offered on their menus. Out of all of them, the meat stir-fried flat bread strips is one of my favorite. I had to wait in line a long time, but it was definitely worth it. The flat bread used in the dish can be leftovers. Leftover flat breads are dry, crumbly, and sometimes even hard to bite. Cutting them into strips and stir frying them with the juicy meat and veggies is a great way to utilize those leftovers. The memory of this dish was resurrected the moment I found those plain, dry and crumbly corn tortillas in my refrigerator.
What plays the key roll in this dish? The chicken fajita marinade. I have read that some people use lime zest to intensify the fajita flavor instead of the lemon juice. I gave two thumbs up to agree with this brilliant idea.
Lean meats, such as chicken breast and pork loin, have less fat to maintain their moisture. The lack of fat makes them dry and hard to be flavored when using the stir-fry method to cook them. In this case, I always add a few teaspoons of corn starch during the marinating process. Corn starch coated on the meat with all the other seasonings will make the meat tender and moist during the frying step. This technique is very common in Chinese cuisine. Lastly, I picked red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, and Serrano pepper to decorate the dish as well as add an extra touch of spiciness.
The tender, juicy, and spicy chicken with the flavorful moist, but not soggy, corn tortilla will all come together with every bite. Nobody can resist this incredible chicken fajita stir-fry on your dinner table. Let’s dig in!
- 9 oz boneless and skinless chicken breast or chicken thigh
- ½ red bell pepper approximately 4 oz
- ½ yellow bell pepper approximately 4 oz
- 1 Serrano pepper
- ¾ yellow onion
- 10 5.5 inch corn tortillas (gluten-free if desired)
- 1 tbs canola oil
- 2 tbs finely chopped cilantro
- Fajita Marinade
- 1 tbs lime zest from 1 medium size lime
- ¼ yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbs rum
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ tsp cumin powder freshly ground preferred
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp oregano
- 1 tsp corn starch
- Cut chicken into approximately 3 inches long strips. Set aside.
- Cut peppers and yellow onion lengthwise into 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide strips. Cut the corn tortillas into ½ inch wide strips. Set aside.
- Place all the fajita marinade ingredients except the corn starch into a food processor. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture onto the chicken, and then mix well until the chicken strips are evenly coated with the marinade. Add corn starch, mix briefly. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Heat a sauté pan over high heat. Add ½ tbs oil until the pan is smoky hot. Wait for a few seconds until the oil is hot. Add peppers, yellow onion, and a pinch of salt. Stir-fry until they just start getting soft; approximately 2 minutes. Transfer the peppers and yellow onion onto a plate.
- Add the rest of oil into the sauté pan, and heat on high until the oil is hot. Add the chicken, and stir quickly and continuously until the chicken strips are almost cooked; approximately 2 minutes. Add corn tortilla into the pan, and stir-fry briefly with the chicken for approximately 1 minute. Bring the peppers and yellow onion back into the pan. Gently toss together with the chicken and tortilla.
- Garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately.