February 5, 2012

Kiwi-Marinated Fajitas

fajitas 2
Aren’t kiwi’s just groovy?
Months and months ago I had heard that they can be used in marinades as tenderizers and I’ve been obsessed with the idea ever since. Rather than the acidic tenderizing method of citrus fruits, kiwis—along with other tropical fruits like papaya—tenderize meats via enzymes. While you do have to be careful not to let them sit in the marinade too long, for fear of irreversibly mushy steaks, kiwi concoctions such as this one do a great job at quickly breaking down a tough cut of meat.
kiwi peel
While there are countless yummy recipes for fajitas—a.k.a. deliciously addictive strips of grilled flank steak—I’m really pleased with how this one turned out. Combining plenty of sliced kiwi with a squirt of lime juice really brightens up the steak and is just enough to wake up your taste buds without actually having a strong fruity flavor. Cilantro, garlic, habaneros, and cumin also jump in the bowl to help give the fajitas a bit more of a Southwestern kick.

fajita marinade
marinade close up
grilling steaks
While most of the fajitas I have consumed in the past have been cut against the grain of the meat into somewhat thick strips, I found that these fajitas lent themselves surprisingly well to simply being pulled apart, much like pulled pork. Bundle ‘em up in a warm flour tortilla and they’re even better.
Not to toot my own horn, but they’re really delicious with a few spoonfuls of my pico de gallo salad as well.
Please avert your eyes from my early days of food photography, though. That was before I entered into the self-taught course of “Never Shoot Under Fluorescent Kitchen Lights 101.”
fajitas 1
Even though it’s February and I’m sure that many of you are still huddled up in blankets with an outdoor grill covered in snow, I couldn’t help but share this recipe. It’s my theory that the food blogging world is made up of a bunch of adults that turn into geeky school kids at the mention of anything yummy, so something tells me that you won’t mind this slightly early addition to the spring and summer menu.
fajitas 3

Kiwi-Marinated Fajitas
A La Kocinera Original Recipe
Printable Recipe

2 flank steaks
4 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 lime, juiced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
2 habanero peppers, sliced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
2 tablespoons olive oil

Rinse the steaks and pat them dry with a paper towel. Place them in a plastic bag or glass bowl.
Pour the olive oil, lime juice, and agave nectar over the steaks and turn to coat. Sprinkle the steaks with kosher salt, pepper, and cumin.
Add to the bowl the kiwi slices, garlic, cilantro, and habaneros, layering them over and in between the steaks. Cover and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Don’t let the steaks stay in the marinade too long or the kiwi, rather than tenderize them, will cause them to become too mushy.
Preheat a grill to medium-high. Remove the steaks from the marinade and place on the grill, cooking for about 7-10 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the steaks.
Once cooked, slice the steaks along the grain of the meat or pull apart into shredded pieces. Serve wrapped in warm tortillas with whatever salsas and sides you like.


  1. Oh my God! These look and sound DIVINE! Lucky I live at the beach and we've not had a bit of snow all winter...I may have to have the boyfriend fire up the grill next paycheck and give these a whirl!

    1. Oooh, you live at the beach? That sounds wonderful!

  2. I loveee the pic of the BBQ steak! Thanks for the tips!

  3. These look amazing! Love the idea of using kiwi! Brilliant!
    And I still think your photos look absolutely amazing!

    1. Thank you! I cannot tell you how much I geeked out over this idea.

  4. How creative! I must make these. For realz.

  5. I am loving the kiwi in this. I just bought a whole bunch for a kiwi dessert I made. Now I know what to do with all the extra kiwi. Yum!

    1. I saw that kiwi dessert over on your blog---yum!!

  6. I am embarrassed to admit I have never had a kiwi! I'm not sure why, really. I've definitely been around them before. Now I have an excuse to try them out!

    1. Really? You must give them a try. They're so yummy!

  7. I've been wanting to try something like this - might have to use this recipe, as the flavours are so complementary. I've heard that bananas do a good job of tenderising too. Would be good on one of those cheaper cuts of steak...yay kiwis!

    1. Bananas sound really cool, too! I'm a huge marinade geek, so the more the merrier. :D


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