Monday, 19 May 2014

Santa Maria Fajita Seasoning Mix, Tortillas and Salsa

I received a lovely box full of Santa Maria goodies, courtesy of a BzzAgent campaign. Santa Maria who used to go under the Discovery brand name are well known for the extremely exhaustive list of Mexican groceries they offer. On the Tesco website alone they have 90 products!

In this pack I received:
  • A Mild Fajita Seasoning Mix
  • A Pack of 8 Plain Tortillas
  • A bottle of medium salsa
  • A five peppers spice grinder
  • A packet of Heat, Spice, Shake Corn chips and a satchet of Smoky BBQ sauce to coat them

With so much choice and a wide variety of exotic flavours, it was difficult to decide on what to use first. In the end, I decided to save the intriguing corn chips you heat in the microwave and the pepper grinder and decided to keep it fairly basic and make fajitas with salsa.

The first thing I loved about the seasoning mix was just how simple the suggested recipe on the back of the back was and how few ingredients it required. Santa Maria suggests simply coating some chicken strips in some oil and the mix and then frying it, adding an onion and a green and red pepper and then stuffing into tortillas. I decided to up the veg content and colour of my mix by also adding a yellow pepper and some sweetcorn and using a red onion instead.

Coating the chicken in the oil and seasoning mix revealed a lovely dark, spicy looking colour and the moment it was exposed to heat, the spicy scents of cumin, chilli, paprika, oregano and garlic filled the kitchen bringing a little Mexican to the UK. The ingredients list is pretty simple - made mostly of spices - although I'm not keen how salty the mix is. Salt is the no1 ingredient in the mix, which I don't feel is necessary as surely the other spices are more than enough to make a tasty meal by themselves.

After adding the other veg, I had the most delicious looking pan full of vibrant colours, aromatic smells and an assortment of shapes and textures. The mix smelt heavenly - really savoury - and I was impressed at how quick and easy making this was. It barely took 10 minutes, required very little prepping and only needed one pan to cook - meaning there was very little washing up after!

The wraps provided looked very high quality - not as papery as supermarket own label versions. They're slightly smaller, which I appreciate, and a nice doughy, soft texture that isn't dry. Santa Maria recommends warming them so I popped mine into the microwave for a mere 30 seconds. However, again these are a little too salty at 1.2g of salt per wrap.

 With everything assembled, it was time for the tasting. One thing I love about fajitas is that it's fun finger food. Not only is it speedy and quick, it's like bringing street food into your own kitchen. I dolloped the mix onto tortillas and then squeezed a large blob of the salsa Santa Maria provided on as well. The wraps looked so tempting, positively bursting with filling, spicy smells and exotic flavours.

All the components worked brilliantly together. Lovely, soft tortillas, a hot, filling mix and some cool salsa for an array of textures and tastes. The mix I received was mild and usually I like my food hotter but this was still delicious. With a nice blend of many different herbs and spices, the chicken and veg was bursting with flavour and was ever so succulent. The salsa was also very good as well. With jalapeno peppers and coriander in, it has a lovely tangy taste that again isn't spicy but still has tonnes of flavour and impact.

Overall, I was very impressed with this kit. I love Mexican food and everything I received just made the whole cooking process more approachable. It was fast, it didn't make a mess in the kitchen and is great for those short on time but who still want to use fresh ingredients. The only thing I would suggest is that they lower the salt content. At 1.6g of salt per quarter of a pack and 2.4g of salt for two tortillas, this isn't the healthiest meal. Santa Maria recommends the kit serving 8 but realistically I think most people would eat two fajitas each. There's so much flavour from the other ingredients that the extra salt just isn't necessary in my opinion. However, this is still a lovely, tasty meal that would make a speedy treaty tea or would be great when you have mates round. I can imagine getting this type of thing in for when the World Cup is on!

£0.89 for the fajita seasoning mix
£2.09 for the salsa
£1.59 for the tortillas

Available: All major supermarkets

Pros: So quick and easy so great for those short on time. There's a sense of fun and spectacle with the assemble-it-yourself approach so great for social gatherings. Lots of flavour and really tasty. No mess and no fuss. Something a bit different.
Cons: Salt content is a little too high for my comfort

Score: 7/10

I received this kit and reviewed it as a BzzAgent. I can't wait to use the spice grinder and heating corn chips so expect a review of these next week!

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