I made a huge mistake when I went to the States for work last year – I went to a Chipotle Mexican Grill branch for lunch. I remember suffering from a particularly awful bout of jetlag, was close to being sick at one point but I just needed some food inside my belly before I went back to my hotel room and passed out. There was a Chipotle just around the corner from where I was staying in SF, and I walked over… and boy oh boy, despite how I felt, I finished everything!
Now here’s why it was a mistake: I live in Malaysia – all the way on the other side of the world from a Chipotle… the only thing close to this here is Chili’s, and well… come on, it just doesn’t compare. So what’s a girl to do but try to recreate some of their recipes?
Lucky for me, there’s no shortage of helpful recipe hackers on Pinterest and I pulled together various recipes to form what is fast becoming one of my favourite meals of all time. Also, this is definitely one of my top 3 recipes for chicken!
Pollo en Adobo with Cilantro Lime Quinoa and Cilantro Lime vinaigrette
I don’t know which one of these 3 components I love most! I lie, it’s the chook.
- 4 – 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Juice of half a lime
- a handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced (use a fork!)
- Fajita seasoning*
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Slice the chicken breasts in half across so you get thinner strips and they cook faster
- Mix the lime juice, cilantro, chipotle peppers, fajita seasoning and olive oil and marinade the chicken for about an hour
- Preheat the oven at 180°C, then cook your chicken breasts on a foil covered baking tray for about 15 minutes
- Remove from heat, allow to rest before slicing into chunks to serve
The Quinoa (you can easily substitute this for rice):
- 1 cup quinoa/rice
- 2 cups water (adjust according to rice – see notes below)
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
- Cook the quinoa or rice in the water, with salt and the juices from the lime and lemon
- Once cooked, fluff up and stir in your chopped cilantro
The Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette (pictured above)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 handfuls cilantro
- Juice of 2 limes (or 1/2 a lemon if you prefer)
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Blend it all together with an immersion blender and pour over the rice and chicken
For my meal prepped lunches, I also sauteed some red onions and green and red peppers, throw in some toasted tinned corn kernels and rinsed black beans (also from a tin). I can’t for the life of me remember what I put in the peppers and onions, but both were quite basic and I tend to use an olive oil and butter base with some chili powder, salt and pepper. Sorry! Will update if I find my notes!
*Fajita seasoning: you can use the pre-packed stuff, which I do in a pinch, or save some money and make your own batch as below:
1 tbsp each of:
- Chili powder
- Ground cumin
- Ground oregano
- Smoked paprika
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tbsp each of salt and pepper
Notes for rice:
There are 3 main types of rice (that are most common in home cooking) – long grain (like Basmathi and Jasmine rice), short grain (usually like sushi rice, arborio, Thai sticky rice, etc) and brown rice (it’s … brown). When cooking your rice, your ratio of water to rice and cooking times will vary depending on which type you’re going with.
First tip – read the package for instructions. Usually can’t go wrong there.
If there are no instructions, I tend to go with the following ratios and cooking times:
- Long-grain rice: 1 cup rice:2 cups water; I usually cook it for 15 minutes covered on low after the initial boil
- Short-grain rice: 1 cup rice:1 cup+2 tbsp water; cook covered and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook for another 5 minutes. THEN leave it covered off the heat for 10 minutes – DON’T PEEK
- Brown rice (long-grain): 1 cup rice:2 cups water; bring to boil, then reduce heat to a very low simmer and cover and cook for 45 minutes. Take the rice off the heat and let it continue to cook in its own steam for another 10 minutes