Rajas is a Spanish term which literally translates to “strips” or “slices”. But for lovers of Mexican cuisine, rajas usually refers to roasted poblano chile strips cooked with onions and cream (often sour cream) and white cheese (often jack or asadero cheese). Rajas can make a wonderful side dish, a vegetarian main dish or a filling for some of the best tacos you’ve ever laid lip to. And to top it all off, rajas are keto and low carb!
Rajas are simple, but simple calls for perfect ingredients
Rajas depend primarily on poblano chiles, which have a rich distinctive flavor. On a scale of 1 to 10, these chiles are a considered around a 4 in terms of heat. That can vary, of course, depending on where and how they are grown. In the grocery store, look for glossy, dark green Poblano peppers (they are sometimes mis-labeled as Pasilla peppers).
How to Roast & Skin the Poblanos for making Rajas
- Preheat the broiler in your oven to 450 degrees. Alternately, you can roast over an open flame on a gas burner.
- Place your poblano peppers on the heat source. For the oven, place them on a sheet pan then directly under the broiler. Allow the peppers to roast about five minutes and then turn to char the other side. The skin will blister and darken and you may hear some popping sounds. If using an open flame, use tongs to hold the pepper over the flame, turning to get it charred on all sides.
- Remove the pepper from the heat source. Place the peppers in a zip-top bag or bowl with a lid. Allow the peppers to cool about 10 minutes or until they are cool enough to handle. The steam collects and helps release the skin from the pepper making them easier to peel.
- Peel the bubbled skin off of the pepper with your fingers. Sometimes it’s easier to use a paper towel. You will need to experiment here.
- Next, using a sharp knife, cut the pepper open and remove the seeds and discard.
Low Carb Rajas
- 10 peppers Poblano peppers roasted, peeled and sliced 2″ x 1/4″
- 1 medium onion coarsley chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp salt more to taste
- 1 tsp oregano Mexican oregano if available
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup jack cheese shredded
- Roast & peel the peppers (see post for techniques)
- Saute onion over medium heat in large skillet (I used 2 Tbs olive oil to saute); saute for 5-7 min or until slightly carmelized or translucent; add garlic for last 30 seconds.
- Add peppers to the onion mix and cook about 4 minutes or until the entire mixture heats up and flavors meld together
- Turn off heat and add the sour cream and cheese and gently mix together.
Using Low Carb Rajas as taco filling:
Rajas con queso (Pronounced ra-HAS con KAY-so) is often used to reference using rajas as a taco filling. We had the rajas alone as a side dish one night and then added pulled pork and cotija cheese to a low carb tortilla.
Speaking of low carb tortillas, I found a convenient one that is pretty good at Target. It is called La Banderita Carb Counter wraps. For a run-down on low carb tortillas (store bought and home made), click here. Here is a photo of the low carb tortilla/taco with pork and rajas filling:
Online Coaching Available:
I have followed the slow carb diet for 2 years, the keto diet for 1 year and now I currently do a nuanced version of the best of both including a 16/8 intermittent fasting protocol. I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out and customize the approach that works for them. I am currently an online fitness coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 325-client mark. Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!
If not for diet or exercise, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination. Explore the site while you are there. There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know. Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.