You are wondering, what are rajas? If you don’t know what they are then you’ve come to the right place. I’ll be explaining what rajas are and introduce you to some dishes related to rajas.
My fixation with rajas started when my friend introduced me to Mexican cuisine. After reading the menu, I am baffled by the Spanish terms, but what caught my attention was the frequent use of the word “rajas”. So, I put my detective hat on and started to search the answer myself. To find out what I’ve discovered, continue reading below.
So, What Are Rajas?
According to Mexican Food Journal, rajas is a Spanish term which literally translates to “strips” or “slices”. But for pepper lovers in Mexico, rajas simply refers to roasted poblano chile strips.
Rajas depend primarily on poblano chiles, which have a rich flavor. In a scale of 1 to 10, these chiles are a 4 in terms of hotness. They are roasted, cut into thin, long strips, and mixed together with a white onion.
You can serve rajas as a side dish for your favorite meal or as a garnish to steaks, fish, and chicken. They can also be used as a filling for sandwiches, tacos, or quesadillas.
Selecting the Freshest Poblano Chiles for your Rajas
You can buy fresh poblano chiles in grocery stores or in Mexican markets. In California, these peppers are labeled as pasilla. In choosing for the freshest poblano chile, look for a glossy, dark green color.
To learn more about how to select poblano chiles, watch this video
First off, coat each chile with vegetable oil. Over high heat, place the chiles on the grate of your stove and roast until they’re charred. Turn each side for 30 seconds or so.
After they’re charred on all sides, remove them from heat and place them in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and keep them for about two minutes. This specific process allows the chiles to continue cooking and makes it easy for you to remove the top layers later on.
After two minutes has passed, take out the chiles from the plastic bag and remove the top layers of each chile by scraping it with a knife. Remove the stem, slice it open and remove the seeds using a spoon or a paring knife. Cut the chiles into strips for about 1/2 inches.
Cooking the Roasted Poblano Chiles into Rajas
Additional Preparation Ideas for Rajas
You can also cook rajas in a variety of ways and here are some of them.
- Add potatoes and goat cheese to create a delicious Papas con Rajas
- Make your panini taste better by grilling them with rajas and cheese.
- Create a spicy rajas tacos by adding the usual rajas mix with heavy cream, allspice, and bay leaves. Serve with hot corn or flour tortillas.
- Make your rajas extra creamy by adding sour cream and cheese. You can find this recipe here
- Eat a complete dish by cooking Rajas with Chicken. Just add chicken breasts, corn kernels, heavy cream, and Mexican crema.
- Fill your quesadillas with rajas by adding cheese and sour cream.
Make Your Own Rajas Today!
Rajas refer to roasted poblano chiles cut into thin strips. You can cook this to serve as a side dish or as a filling for tacos or quesadillas. Before you start cooking them now, remember these steps.
- Choose poblano chiles with a dark green color, firm texture, and heavy for their size.
- Roast, peel, and seed them. Cut into thin strips about 1/2 inch.
- In a skillet, cook the chiles with white onions, salt, and dried oregano.