Rajas. They’re not your everyday condiment. They don’t come in cans or jars (at least not the good kind). And they don’t make themselves. You have to intend to make them. You must plan ahead. At least a little. Why is this, you ask? Because the main ingredient is a fresh chile poblano.
Cooking fresh (or dried) chiles usually requires roasting, de-seeding, and de-steming. The roasting process is important in that it’s easy to burn the chiles. The goal is to char them so that the flavor seals in and the skin is easy to remove when cooled. If you’ve never worked with fresh chiles before, I suggest you “cut your teeth” on a rajas recipe.
Now, there are many different rajas recipes out there. Some include sautéed garlic and onions, others a mixture of cream and white cheese. The recipe included here is typical of Zacatecas, a state in central Mexico, and one that I prefer because it highlights the flavor of the poblano pepper.
And best of all, you only need three ingredients.
- 6 Poblano peppers
- 1 white onion
- ½ cup freshly squeezed Key Limes
- Salt to taste
- In a broiler or on a griddle, roast the peppers.
- Allow them to char slightly and remove from the heat.
- Place them in a plastic bag and allow them to “sweat.”
- Once the peppers have cooled, remove them from the bag and pull away the outer skin.
- Cut in half and remove the stems and seeds.
- Cut into ¼ inch strips and set aside.
- Cut raw onion into ⅛ inch thick slices so that they are slightly thinner than the peppers.
- Marinate the peppers and onions in the freshly squeezed lime juice for at least one hour in the refrigerator.