Tacos are a favorite meal around my house. I usually make some version once a week—although rarely on Tuesday. Jan had brought some ghost pepper products back from a trip to Monterey, one of which was Jolikia Hot Chocolate mix from the Pepper Palace. I decided to try using it in a taco dish—chocolate and chilies is a traditional Mexican combination.
Jan’s favorite taco is fish, Eilene’s favorite is pork, mine is beef, but we all like chicken tacos. When I first started making tacos, my fillings were just the seasoning, the meat, and just a little onion—the way my mother, Claudia, made it. In the last few years, I have been adding more and more vegetables. While in Tex-Mex cuisine the term fajita refers to any grilled meat for tacos, in restaurant terms it means meat grill/fried on a super hot cast iron pan with onions and peppers.
Karl’s Jolokia Chocolate Chicken Fajita Tacos
Karl’s Jolokia Chocolate Taco Spice Blend
1 Tbs. Jolikia Hot Chocolate mix
½ Tbs. California chile powder
½ Tbs. Poblano chili powder
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
½ tsp. Mexican oregano
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. Kosher salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1½ lb. chicken thighs
½ medium yellow onion
2-3 Anaheim peppers
½ Jalapeño pepper
½ green bell pepper
½ red bell pepper
2+ Tbs. Corn oil
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
1. Place the taco blend ingredients into a spice grinder and grind them into a powder.
2. Slice the chicken into small pieces.
Tip: I usually cut each thigh into three pieces and then cut off ⅛-¼ inch thick slices off.
Note: You want thin pieces that are about one inch long.
3. Sprinkle the spice blend over the chicken and toss to cover each piece.
Note: I used the entire spice mix (3+ tablespoons) and it was not too much.
4. Cover the chicken and refrigerate for at least one hour.
5. Slice the onions finely, pole to pole, and set them aside.
6. Slice all of the peppers into thin one inch pieces and set them aside.
7. Thirty minutes before starting to cook, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
Tip: Cold meat does not cook as evenly as room temperature meat.
8. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
9. Fry the chicken until cooked through and starting to brown.
Tip: You may have to do this in batches.
Note: Leave the chicken pieces undisturbed for 3-4 minutes to get a good sear, before starting to stir fry the chicken pieces.
10. Remove the chicken to a bowl.
Tip: I use the serving bowl, to reduce the mess.
11. Without cleaning the pan, add the onions and salt.
Tip: You may need to add a bit more oil.
12. Sauté the onions until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
13. Add all of the peppers and stir fry until all of the vegetables are soft, about another five minutes.
14. Return the chicken to the pan and continue cooking for another two minutes to blend the ingredients.
15. Transfer to a bowl and serve with warmed fresh tortillas and your favorite toppings.