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Papalo is a green leafy plant with thin, branched stalks. Its leaves are a light green color and are egg-shaped with scalloped edges. It has spiciness reminiscent of nasturtium flowers or arugula with a flavor similar to cilantro with just a hint of lime. It has been called “skunk weed” and “buzzard’s breath”. The leaves are best eaten young, because the older the plant, the more bitter the taste.
Papalo is available during the summer months.
Also referred to as “summer cilantro” or Bolivian coriander, Porophyllum ruderale is most commonly known as Papalo. Though it may have a similar taste to cilantro or coriander, the annual leafy green is actually related to the daisy family.
Papalo is mainly used raw as a garnish or addition to dishes closer to the end of preparation. The flavor, like that of cilantro, can be greatly diminished with cooking. In Central America, the spicy green along with peppers is an essential ingredient in traditional Aztec dishes. It is eaten with carne asada or carnitas to settle the stomach, or used as an ingredient in salsa. It has a stronger flavor than cilantro, one-third the amount of Papalo should be used in a recipe calling for cilantro.
In restaurants throughout Bolivia and in parts of Mexico, the plant is displayed on tables for patrons to pluck and sprinkle on their dishes. Its use in Bolivia can also be attributed to its medicinal qualities; it has been known to have an effect on lowering blood pressure.
Papalo is considered a quelite, which refers to a number of wild greens native to Meso-America. The plant, most popular in Bolivia and Puebla state in Mexico, is believed to have pre-dated Asian coriander that was brought to the Americas by Europeans. Its native range is from the south of Texas in North America down through Central and South America.
Recipes that include Papalo. One is easiest, three is harder.
|A Sip of Bliss||Papalo Pesto|
|Think About Eat||Salsa|
|But I'm Hungry||Mexican Kohlrabi Salad with Papalo|
People have spotted Papalo using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
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