20 minute Mambo No. 1 Fajitas Recipe

For Salon.com : Food


Hey SauceHeads,

The Sauce King of D.C., Chef Branden (that’s me), is back with another killer recipe for you but this time, I’m making it official. So far, you have only seen me through some insta stories and posts on a random brunch or dinner. Well, I love to cook and entertain, and equally enjoy patronizing my favorite local restaurants, whether to dine in on the patio or enjoy carryout at home.

We eat, A LOT. And we looooove a good time sharing laughs and love over a cold drink and a great meal.

So we thought it was time to start sharing our passion and recipes with all of you here.

Today we have a fun recipe that you and your quarantine-pod are going to love: 20min. Mambo Chicken Fajitas


Why do we love this recipe so much?

Glad ya asked. Well, it’s because it takes 20 minutes to make!!! Duhhh!!!

That means more time to hang out in the glow-up back yard you probably have now, like everyone else because of Covid-19 quarantine. Or, at the very least, that means more time doing anything and everything else with friends and family while you spend less time cooking and cleaning. It’s a super fast, super fun, and super tasty recipe that is made for sharing. We have to give 100% credit to one of our best and favorite customers, @mazzzyj, for sharing her secret for a quick, tasty meal when you don’t have much time to spare: Mambo-marinated Chicken Fajitas! She and her husband frequently let the Mambo do the majority of the work for them to quickly whip up these delicious fajitas for the whole family (including their super-adorable and super-picky 4 year old).

One day, I found myself in a similar predicament. I just didn’t have time to cook the way I like to cook (it’s a whole ordeal that involves all the pots and all the pans). It was a super hectic day on the job and I needed to eat. All the restaurants were already closed with Pandemic hours and it was just as well, given that we were trying to scale back eating out anyways. Anyhow, I remembered that we had chicken breasts in the fridge (and I always keep onions and green peppers on deck…as should you), and then immediately thought about Jess’s recipe: I could make Mambo Fajitas!!!! The fajitas I made on that desperate day were delicious in their own right, but far less sexy than those you’ll see here in this blog recipe. The most important thing to remember though, is that whether you are making bare bones Mambo Fajitas (as I did on that desperate day) or adding all the trimmings, it will still only ever take 20 mins or so. Now that’s my kind of recipe!!

capital building

@mazzyj on instagram.


It’s our first fully baked recipe!!! Wooohoooo!

As we create content for this blog, for social media, for collabs, and for our new YouTube channel, this is the first recipe that I produced, edited, cooked, and documented from front to back. From paprika to photoshop. It’s a lot of work! Dang! Just cooking is, of course. But then you have to really focus on making it perfect and beautiful. And then you have to execute photography, editing, uploading, and writing. ALL of which are 100% new to me (except for the cooking part). So, I think we did pretty good. I can’t wait to keep trying, improving, and getting faster! I KNOW that you are going to love the taste. So enjoy this post and enjoy the 20 Minute Mambo Fajitas.

The star of today’s show ……juicy chicken breasts and tangy, spicy, and smoky Mambo #1!

Organic grilled chicken breasts, seasoned and marinated.

Organic grilled chicken breasts, seasoned and marinated.


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  1. Thaw chicken breasts (if not already fresh). We prefer fresh organic breasts from our local market, but having frozen chicken on deck is important if you lead busy lives like us!

  2. In a bowl, cover all sides of your chicken breasts with Sauce City USA’s Mambo #1 Sauce (adds heat, tang, zip, and smoke). Let the chicken set for about 5 minutes. *you can also cover and let marinate in the fridge for 8 hours, overnight, if you’re ahead of the game

    • Then add, for every 1lb of chicken, about:

      • 1 tbsp sea salt,

      • 1 tbsp ground pepper,

      • 1 tbsp paprika,

      • 1/2 lemon

    • Julienne 1 whole white onion and 1 large green pepper

      • Season onion and pepper with:

        • 1 tbsp EVOO

        • 1 tsp ground pepper

        • 1 tsp sea salt

  3. Fire up your grill. *you can also use your stove or griddle. We used hardwood and wood coals for max heat and mesquite flavor. Med-High heat.

  4. Place whole chicken breasts on one side of the grill. Cook on high heat for 2-3 min. per side (depending on thickness)

  5. Take chicken off the grill and allow to rest for a couple minutes.

  6. On other side of the grill (or on another burner), pre-heat a cast iron pan. Once even heat is achieved, spread Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the pan and add chopped, seasoned peppers and onions

    • *pro-tip, if you can pay attention to protein and veggies, save time and cook both at the same time. DON’T BURN EM THO!!!

  7. Cook veggies on high heat for about 5 minutes, constantly turning and scraping the bottom until they become charred. *pro-tip: High heat, oil, seasoning, and a little mambo will cook your veggies with a perfect exterior char, but maintain the freshness inside and avoid them becoming fully cooked and floppy (because of the sugar in the Mambo and the heat of the pan)

  8. Remove veggies and place in a bowl immediately (so they stop cooking in the pan).

  9. Slice your chicken breast to desired thickness (we like about a 1/2 inch going with the short part of the breasts). Place sliced chicken into the hot pan you just cooked the veggies in. *pro tip: you can slice and cook the chicken at the same time as veggies if you have a second cast iron pan. (you could also use a regular pan if you don’t have cast iron…it just won’t be as flavorful)

  10. Cook breasts on high. Add about a 3 tbsp of water. This will help create steam and fully cook the breasts faster while keeping the chicken juicy. Cover for 2 minutes. Open lid, stir, and make sure all sides of all the pieces of chicken get to see pan bottom time. Cover for another 2 minutes. Repeat steps until chicken is fully cooked and no pink remains.

  11. Move chicken to one side of your pan and add veggies to the other side.

  12. Squeeze lemon on the chicken and pour about 3 tbsp water on cooked veggies to create steam and heat veggies back up.

  13. Cover pan and cook on medium heat for 3-5min.

14. Place 2 lime halves and 2 lemon halves right on the hot grill (high heat). 1-2 mins

15. Place Ancho Chili and Jalapeño peppers in EVOO and place on the hot grill. Char peppers, both sides, 1min per side.

16. Rub corn tortilla shells with EVOO, sea salt and ground pepper. Place on warm grill or in another hot pan. Cook until the edges get a little brown and the center starts to bubble a bit. Don’t over cook. 30 seconds/side.

17. Mince 3 garlic cloves and place on chicken breasts.


18. Sprinkle Mexican cheese blend on top of chicken, re-cover and allow to melt. 2min.

19. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of cotija cheese on chicken

20. Slice ancho and jalapeno peppers and place on chicken.

21. Chop fresh cilantro. Finish with cilantro and place charred lime and lemon on the skillet/pan.

22. Build your fajitas! Add sour cream and guacamole to taste, season with fresh lemon and lime.


Mambo Chicken Fajitas

Yield: 2-4 People
Author: Chef Branden- Sauce City USA
A quick recipe for flavorful fajitas that you can make for the whole house in about 20min flat using Mambo #1 Mambo sauce as a marinade.


  • Organic Chicken Breasts: 1 lb
  • White Onion: 1 Large
  • Green Pepper: 1 Large
  • Jalapeno Peppers: 1-2
  • Ancho Chili Peppers: 1-2
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 2 Tbsp
  • Sauce City USA Mambo #1 
  • Lemon: 1-2 
  • Lime: 1-2 
  • Fresh Garlic:  3 Cloves 
  • Sea Salt: 1-2 Tbsp
  • Ground Pepper: 1-2 Tbsp
  • Paprika: 1 Tbsp
  • Fresh Cilantro: 1 bunch
  • Mexican Cheese Blend: 1/4 Cup 
  • Cotija Cheese: 1/4 Cup (or to taste)
  • Guacamole
  • Sour Cream
  • White Corn tortilla shells


  1. step one: Marinate chicken in Mambo #1 for 5mins. 
  2. step two: Season chicken in lemon, salt, pepper, and paprika.
  3. step three: Julienne pepper and onion. Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  4. step four: Grill chicken 2-3min both sides high heat. Remove from grill and let rest.
  5. step five: Cook chopped green peppers and onions in pre-heated cast iron skillet with EVOO for 5min on high heat. Remove from cast iron and set to the side.
  6. step six: Slice chicken and add into hot cast iron. Cook on high heat for 3 mins.
  7. step seven: Add 3 Tbsp of water to pan and cover for 2 mins. Uncover and stir, flip chicken for even cook. Repeat until fully cooked.
  8. step eight: Move chicken to one side and add veggies back to cast iron. Squeeze lemon on chicken and pour 3 Tbsp of water on veggies to steam and reheat. Cover skillet and cook on medium heat for 3-5 mins. Then remove from heat.
  9. step nine: Place halved lemons and limes directly on the grill, for 1-2 mins on high heat.
  10. step ten: Place Ancho Chili and Jalapeño peppers in EVOO and directly on grill. Char peppers, both sides, 1min per side, high heat. Slice and place on chicken.
  11. step eleven: Mince garlic and mix into chicken.
  12. step twelve: Add layer of Mexican cheese blend, cover chicken, and melt for 2 mins.
  13. step thirteen: Drizzle chicken with Mambo #1. Add cotija cheese.
  14. step fourteen: Rub corn tortilla shells with EVOO, sea salt and ground pepper. Place on warm grill or in another hot pan. Cook until the edges get a little brown and the center starts to bubble a bit. Don’t over cook. 30 seconds/side
  15. step fifteen: Chop fresh cilantro. Finish with cilantro and add charred lemon and lime halves to serving platter/skillet. 
  16. step sixteen: Build fajitas. Add sour cream and guacamole to taste. 


Prep the chicken the night before: marinate, cover, and let sit in the fridge overnight for 8 hours You can save time by cooking onions, peppers, and chicken in the cast iron skillet at the same time.




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