Homemade Fajitas with Gluten-Free Corn Tortillas – a family meal for everyone (and fussy eaters!)
Fajitas have evolved into a popular Tex-Mex dish that can be served with just about any meat, fish, seafood or vegetable. This versatile dish is a fun and sociable meal. Arrange all the meat, vegetables, condiments and tortillas on a large platter so that everyone can help themselves and assemble their customised fajita-filled tortilla. Don’t forget to provide lots of finger bowls and napkins!
There are three parts to this recipe:
- Making your own gluten-free fajita seasoning (optional)
- Making your own gluten-free corn tortillas (optional)
- Preparing and cooking chicken and vegetable fajitas
NOTE: You can skip the first two parts if you are able to buy gluten-free fajita seasoning and ready-made corn tortillas.
An easy weekday dinner can be planned ahead by adding this FAJITA seasoning with a few tablespoons of olive oil to your favourite meat, whether it’s chicken, beef, pork or lamb. You can marinate it overnight or for a minimum of 30 minutes before cooking.
Store-bought versus homemade gluten-free corn tortillas
Without a doubt, homemade corn tortillas taste better than the store-bought variety.
Although they do look rustic and not as perfectly round as the store-bought variety, I can assure you that they taste amazing and are soft, healthier and cheaper.
Some helpful tips to make perfect corn tortillas
Before you start cooking this recipe, make sure you can buy Masa Harina, which is dried corn that has been soaked in calcium hydroxide and then finely ground to make Masa Harina, literally translated from Spanish as flour dough.
If you have a tortilla press, then you’ll have an easy time churning out perfectly round and even tortillas. Alternatively, a rolling pin will give you a larger, thinner shape, but be careful going too thin as the dough can rip easily on its way to the frying pan.
Homemade Fajitas with Gluten-Free Corn Tortillas
- tortilla press (optional), or
- Rolling Pin
- snap-lock bags or baking paper
- cast iron or heavy-bottom pan
- crepe or normal medium-sized pan
- 1 tbsp cornflour Known as cornflour in the UK and corn or maize starch in the USA
- 2 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp white sugar
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
CHICKEN & VEGETABLE FAJITAS
- 600 g chicken breast or thigh, deboned and sliced into thin strips
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp store-bought or homemade fajita seasoning
- 3 capsicums / bell peppers, various colours, sliced thinly
- 2 red onions, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 green chilli/jalapeño, sliced thinly into rings (deseed the chilli to reduce the heat)
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 tbsp Tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
GLUTEN-FREE CORN TORTILLAS
- 450 g masa harina flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 500 ml lukewarm water
- 100 ml extra lukewarm water to add when kneading
- Measure and mix all the dried herbs, spices, salt and sugar together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Add fajita seasoning and 3 tbsp olive oil to chicken pieces. Mix well.
- Marinate covered for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- In a cast iron or heavy-bottom pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil and fry the peppers and onions over high heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic & green chilli and cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until the garlic starts to turn light brown (not black, or it will taste bitter).
- Transfer the cooked vegetables to a dinner plate, cover and set aside.
- Using the same pan, add the marinated chicken pieces and fry quickly until just cooked through. Normally this will take less than 5 minutes.
- Add the soy sauce and lime juice to the pan and stir for one minute.
- Take the pan off the heat and cover to keep warm.
GLUTEN-FREE CORN TORTILLAS
Preparing the dough
- In a medium bowl, mix the masa harina flour, salt and olive oil together.
- Add half of the lukewarm water (not the extra amount listed). Mix and leave covered to rest for 10 mins.
- Slowly add the remaining half of water, kneading for 5 mins. If it feels too dry and crumbles while kneading, slowly add more water from the extra amount listed. You may not need to use all of the extra water. Stop adding water when you see no more crumbs and the dough feels soft and smooth.
- Cover with a damp cloth and rest for 20 minutes at room temperature.
Rolling out the dough
- Before rolling the dough into tortillas, cut out two squares from either a zip lock bag or baking paper to use when rolling out or pressing the dough. This prevents the tortillas from sticking to the tortilla press or kitchen countertop.
- Divide dough into equal golf ball size portions.
- Make one tortilla at a time by flattening a dough ball between the two zip lock bags or baking paper either using a tortilla press or a rolling pin. The tortilla press will flatten it evenly, but if you would like your tortilla to be larger, then use the rolling pin to roll it thinner.
- If rolling the tortilla with a rolling pin, use a pizza cutter or knife to trim the edges if you prefer a tidy look. Don’t make your tortilla too thin as it may tear easily when transferring it to the pan.
Frying the corn tortillas
- Heat a crepe or normal medium-sized pan to medium-high heat. Do not add any oil or butter. It is important to have dry heat to cook the tortillas.
- Place a corn tortilla on the preheated pan and cook for no more than one minute and flip over to cook the other side for another minute. It should look slightly chargrilled.
- Transfer the cooked corn tortilla to a tea towel and cover to keep warm and soft while continuing with the remaining tortillas.
Assembling the fajitas
- In the centre of each corn tortilla, spread a teaspoon of sour cream.
- Place several pieces of cooked peppers and onions on top.
- Place several pieces of fajita chicken on top of the cooked vegetables.
- Sprinkle some grated cheese on top of the fajita chicken.
- Place two pieces of avocado slices on top.
- Squeeze some lime juice over the avocado.
- Garnish with some fresh coriander leaves.
- Drizzle with some chipotle or tabasco sauce
- Fajita chicken and vegetables keep chilled for 2 days, but both are unsuitable to freeze
- You can freeze cooked tortillas by cooling them down completely, separating the tortilla with baking paper and wrapping the tortillas with foil. For extra measure, put this foil parcel in a plastic container to avoid them getting frostbite.
- Store homemade fajita seasoning in a sealed glass jar if making more than the quantity needed in the recipe. Keeps for 6 months, away from direct sunlight.
Homemade fajita seasoning also makes an exciting marinade for grilled/BBQ steaks and prawns too!
Should they go cold, sprinkle some water on the tortilla and zap them in the microwave for 15 seconds on high. This will bring them back to life.
What dessert goes well with Fajitas?
If you are trying to keep a Tex-Mex/Mexican theme, then I would suggest this classic and incredibly delicious chilled dessert Tres Leche Cake – translated as Three Milk Cake – this cake gets its name from the three types of milk – fresh cream, condensed milk and evaporated milk. This infuses the gluten-free sponge cake and creates a super moist and tender texture.