Rajas is one of my favorite underrated Mexican dishes that I grew up eating thanks to my Step-Father and his family. I remember sitting at the dinner table as a kid always intrigued by the roasted pepper smell and loved it but I was so scared that it was too spicy for me. It’s funny to look back on those days and compare to now how little irrational fears it is today were indeed not irrational to a child. As I got older I grew to love it more and looked forward to a spicy batch.
You normally will find Rajas in Central and Southern Mexico served with corn tortillas among other Mexican faire. Quite a few years ago I spent a couple weeks in Mexico City and found Rajas in two different ways, 1.) roasted poblano peppers with onions and cheese and 2.) roasted poblano peppers with onions and Mexican crema! It’s been an old argument whether Mexican crema or cheese is the original way to make it but it really all depends on the family. In our case maybe we’re a bit sacrilegious using tomatoes in the recipe but honestly I believe it’s a perfect pairing not just with color to complete the red, white and green representation of the Mexican flag but also taste.
I’ve always had Rajas prepared with the large beef steak tomatoes but I find myself rarely using them because they lack the epitome of tomato flavor. Which is why I went for Romas. Although any kind will do! If you love a bit of spicy, roasted peppers and a full body experience in a bite, you must try this! Rajas goes great with tortilla chips, with carne asada, in burritos even eggs for breakfast. Pretty much anything!
about 12 tacos
6 large pasilla chiles (poblano)
1 large white onion, chopped
5 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 ¼ cup shredded jack cheese
White corn tortillas
Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray and lay the pasilla chiles side-by-side. Roast them for about 40 minutes at 400 F degrees or until the skin is blistered.
Cover the peppers with a kitchen towel and let them cool down a little before you start to take the stem off, peel the skin and remove the seeds. It helps to do this under running room temperature water. Cut the peppers into thin slices or as a rough chop and set aside.
In a large pot over medium/high heat, drizzle the bottom with olive oil and sauté your chopped onions for 3 minutes until they’re almost translucent then add both the chopped chiles and tomatoes. Stir and let sauté until the tomatoes break down a little bit for about 7 minutes. Bring the temperature down to low and lastly, add the shredded jack cheese, stir and give it a few minutes to melt and simmer.
Warm the corn tortillas over a gas stove directly over the heat or on a grill pan. Serve the rajas with the corn tortillas as tacos.