Roasted poblanos, cut into thin strips, sautéd with garlic, onions, and smothered in Mexican cream, these roasted chile poblano strips in cream sauce (Rajas con Crema) are so simple and yet totally addicting.
These rajas are so delicious that they may not make it from the pan to the table, which is what almost happened as I was testing this recipe. We are lucky that the photos did indeed happen for this post…I was almost unable to resist devouring these before snapping a few photos. This dish is unpretentious and so simple to put together that it is easy to underestimate. Don’t. You won’t be disappointed.
What are “rajas”?
So what are rajas? The word “rajas” in Spanish means strips and, here in Mexico, generally refers to chiles cut into thin strips. The chiles are then either prepared in vinegar, lime, or cream, depending on the type of chile. Like many Mexican dishes, regional variations of rajas also exist. Our good friend with Yucatan roots makes a super spicy version of habaneros and red onions, pickled in vinegar and lime. And another popular pickled version of rajas includes jalapeños, carrots, and onions.
Here in central Mexico, it is very common to find poblano strips prepared with fried onions, garlic, potatoes, corn, or cream or all of these ingredients combined. Rajas are a popular filling for quesadillas, tacos, or as a side dish to the main meal, like carne asada or chicken. Another variation of this dish mixes cooked shredded or diced chicken to the poblano mixture to make for a heartier meal.
As you can see, rajas can mean many different types of chile preparations. The roasted poblano with cream sauce version that we are working with here is super customizable and easy to make!
How to make roasted poblano strips in cream sauce
Start with roasted poblanos
The main ingredient of this dish is the mild and flavorful poblano. The recipe calls for peppers that have been roasted with the blackened skins, veins, and seeds removed. If you don’t have access to already roasted poblanos, you can roast your own at home!
Putting it all together
Once your ingredients are prepped, start by heating a bit of vegetable oil over medium heat. Things will move fairly quickly, so I recommend having everything ready to go before you start. You will add the onions first and sauté them until they start to soften. Then add the garlic and continue sautéing until the onions just begin to start turning golden. Add the poblanos, stir to incorporate and keep cooking for a few more minutes.
Once the vegetables are cooked to your liking (I usually like my onions a light golden brown), then add the cream, milk, and corn. Lower the heat. Stir everything together and add salt to taste. Now you are just waiting for all of the ingredients to warm through and the flavors to meld. Once everything is hot, you are ready to serve!
All ingredients in this dish can be adjusted for taste. This particular version is really creamy and could probably support more vegetables or the addition of chicken if desired. Feel free to add more onions, garlic, poblanos, or corn or change the proportions to your liking. You could add cooked chicken or cooked diced potatoes to bulk up the dish. Or reduce the cream so that there is a lower sauce to vegetable ratio or up the amount of milk to make the sauce less thick. This dish can be customized to your particular preferences!
How to eat poblano strips in cream sauce
Rajas con crema can be eaten in several different ways. If I am looking for a quick lunch, I like to add these to a warm tortilla and eat these taco-style. Or I use these to top a crunchy tostada. These can be added to a quesadilla or served as a side to carne asada, grilled chicken, or other main dishes. I have often seen these served as a vegetarian option at taquizas (a taco buffet with various fillings which allow you to create your own taco)! You could even eat these straight out of the pan, I promise not to judge.
Roasted Poblano Strips in Cream Sauce (Rajas en Crema)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil I use safflower
- 1 medium white onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4 medium roasted poblanos, blackened skin, seeds and veins removed, thinly sliced into strips About 1 cup sliced, see notes for how to roast
- 1 cup corn kernels fresh or frozen
- 15 ounces Mexican cream about 450 ml, just shy of 2 cups
- 1/4 cup milk
- salt to taste
- Add oil to a large non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat, 2-3 minutes
- Add onions and sauté until they begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes
- Add garlic and continue to sauté with the onions until the onions just begin to start turning golden, about 4 minutes more
- Add poblanos and stir occasionally, cooking for another 3-4 minutes
- Add corn kernels, cream and milk, stirring to incorporate. Reduce heat to low and, simmer for about 4 minutes more or until all ingredients are heated through
- Add salt to taste
- For instructions on roasting poblano peppers, click here
- All ingredients in this dish can be adjusted for taste. This particular version is really creamy and could probably support more vegetables or the addition of chicken if desired. Feel free to add more onions, garlic, poblanos, or corn or change the proportions to your liking. You could even add cooked chicken or cooked diced potatoes to bulk up the dish. Or reduce the cream so that there is a lower sauce to vegetable ratio or up the amount of milk to make the sauce less thick.