When spring has sprung, it’s time to incorporate fresher and lighter foods into your recipe repertoire. This delicious Bombay vegetable fajita recipe is sure to satisfy!
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher, and I’m here today with Chef Ned Grieg, executive chef at Woodman’s and The Essex Room in Essex, Massachusetts. We’re doing a series of podcasts on spring recipes, and today we’re talking about how to make this Bombay Vegetable Fajita recipe. Welcome, Ned.
Ned Grieg: Good afternoon, John.
The Story Behind the Bombay Vegetable Fajita Recipe
John: Ned, tell me a little bit about what this fajita is and what’s in it.
Ned: I’ll tell you, the story behind it is I was trying to come up with some vegetarian culinary offerings that I could teach to children at my son’s school that would give them an alternative choice to going and getting a bag of Dorito potato chips, Frito Lays, and things like that.
John: It’s always a good idea to teach younger kids how to cook a few things, so if they want a little snack or something like that, they can do something themselves.
Ned: Matter of fact, I just did this on Tuesday, April, I guess it was 28th, for 125 children. For them, it’s just fun for them to sit there and chop and try different things. You’d be surprised how many times they will try things they’ve never had before.
What Is In the Bombay Vegetable Fajita Recipe?
Ned: Instead of making this Spanish or Mexican food, we season the vegetables with spices that come from India. The predominant flavor, one is called Garam Masala, spelled G‑A‑R‑A‑M M‑A‑S‑A‑L‑A. If you Google the word, you can actually find how to make this yourself by buying a mixture of a whole bunch of spices. Predominantly, it’s cumin, coriander, cracked black pepper, ground‑up sesame seed, and I believe that they actually put a little bit of sumac in there, but I’m not quite sure about that.
What we do is, I took a potpourri of vegetables. We used zucchini and summer squash, and four different types of pepper ‑‑ green, red, yellow, and poblano. On all the peppers, we made sure that they were seeded and quartered. Then the same thing on the zucchini. We just cut it in quarters, longways, put it in a stainless‑steel mixing bowl, and then you’re going to generously dust it with Garam Masala, kosher salt, cracked black pepper, some lime juice and olive oil. You’re going to toss it well.
After you toss it, hopefully you have a grill already going outside, and you’re going to mark these vegetables off on the grill, let them cool down slightly. Then you have to take them and dice them up, because if you’re going to wrap them up in either a flour or corn tortilla, you need to make sure they’re cold enough for you to be able to handle.
The process, once you have those vegetables all prepared, what you’re going to do is you lay out on your kitchen table a dozen 10‑inch or 12‑inch round flour tortillas. Just so you know, these fajitas are actually rolled up into tubes, and you can make in advance and then you can serve them later on in the day, so you don’t have to stand there and do them to order.
Alternative Cooking Methods
John: Could you cook the peppers inside as well, in a frying pan or something like that, instead of doing it outside?
Ned: Oh, yeah. When I did it at the school for the children, obviously I couldn’t go out three times and char off everything on the grill, so what we did is we actually high‑heat‑roasted them in an oven. We did it probably at about 400 degrees for about 10 to 12 minutes, and the vegetables were perfectly cooked, but instead of just quartering them, I had the children dice them all up.
Assembling the Fajita
Ned: Once they’re done, you’re going to lay down your flour tortillas or your corn tortilla shells, and you’re going to take your vegetables and put a thin layer from one end to the other. Then I have two different types of cheeses that I put together and shredded. I did use a classic Spanish cheese, or a Mexican cheese, called Queso Fresco. It’s just a fresh cheese, but it doesn’t really melt really well, so we mixed in Monterey Jack. The Queso Fresco is classic, so we put that in there, but the Monterey Jack is a lovely melting cheese.
John: That helps to bind it all together.
Ned: It’s all about the binder.
Ned: You got to get it to stay together. Then there was a generous layer of the combined cheeses spread over the top, and that’s going to be your glue. In a third bowl, we had a mixture of cilantro, finely diced‑up scallions, and finely diced‑up tomatoes. Then we sprinkle those on top of all the cheese, and then you roll up the flour tortilla or the soft corn tortilla as tight as you can, as if you were going to be making a cigar. When you roll it over, you want to make sure that the seam side is down when you place it on a little baking tray that’s lined with parchment paper.
John: Do you do anything with the ends at all, or you’re just rolling them in one direction?
Ned: I just roll it all up. You could try to tuck the ends in and make it look like it was a burrito, I suppose, but I just left the ends open and I just cut them off. It’s something crispy to eat while you’re putting the food out.
John: Sounds good.
Final Cooking Steps
Ned: Gives you something to nibble on. Once they’re all put together, you can just put them on a little sheet tray, and you want to bake them off in the oven, 375 degrees, probably for about 7 to 10 minutes, just so they set together. That’s if you want to serve them later on, but you want to make sure everything’s ready to go.
What I do, as a caterer, I’ll make them to that point. I chill them down, and then I cut them into little discs, probably about an inch long, and then I can just stand them up in a pan and rewarm them when I need them to pass them to a guest, stuck with a little toothpick when we serve it to them.
That’s how you put them together. It was actually delicious. We actually made some homemade guacamole that we put out there with it. The children really liked that a lot, oddly enough. They like avocado. Some of the little girls, they just ate bowls of guacamole and didn’t touch the other thing.
It’s an interesting way to make a fajita. You can make them in advance. My wife has actually made them like this and put them into a baking dish. She made a roasted tomato sauce with goat cheese in it, and put that over the top, and a little bit of smoked paprika. It’s like this smoky, goat‑cheese tomato sauce over the top, and then she sprinkled a little bit more cheese. Then you have a casserole dish for dinner that I think you could probably wow any vegetarian that would ever come over your doorstep.
John: Right, right. That sounds great, and it sounds like it would be just as good for adults as it is for the kids that you cooked for.
Ned: Absolutely. No doubt about it.
John: I’m looking forward to taking this recipe home and trying it with my own family. Thanks for talking to me, Ned. I appreciate it.
Ned: Thank you, John. You’re welcome. Enjoy this Bombay Vegetable Fajita recipe everyone!
John: For more information, you can visit Woodman’s at woodmans.com or The Essex Room at essexroom.com. Make sure you tune in next time for the next in our series of podcasts on spring recipes.
Note: this recipe is intended for catering and measurements may need to be scaled down for individual or family use.
India Ground Hard Spices Are Used To Umber The Vegetables Then Charred Upon Grill Wrapped In Flatbread With Cheese, Cilantro & Drizzled With EVOO
200: 2 Piece Per Porions
Small Plate Tapas: Ceviche Shrimp & Calamari Mojo
Quantity & Unit Of Measure
Thinly Sliced & Blanched
Sliced In Half & Blanched
Cracked Black Pepper
Virgin Olive Oil
Seeded & Finely
Chopped Bell Pepper: Green
Seeded & Finely Chopped
Chopped Bell Pepper: Red
Seeded & Finely Chopped
Chopped Bell Pepper: Yellow
Seeded & Finely Chopped
Roasted & Finely Diced
Raspberry Pinot Vinaigrette
- Place Shrimp & Calamari Into A Clean Ceramic Or Glass Container.
- Mix The Next 12 Ingredients Together & Pour Over Shrimp & Calamari.
- Refrigerate For At Least 2 Hours.
- Just Before Serving Add Cilantro.
- Place Into Petite Glasses, Ladle Excelsior/Liquids Over.
- Toss Spinach With Vinaigrette.
- Garnish With Golden Beets, Candied Pecans