- scuzzo Jan 25, 2008 08:42 AM
I recently got turned on to the seemingly great health benefits of Nopal, or Prickly Pear Cactus. Seems like it's a very healthy thing to consume. While I'm sure many do not have access to this, I happen to live near a Mexican market, where it is cheap. I've only been consuming it for four days and have only juiced it with carrots and celery. The cactus juice is very thick and slimey, think aloe vera gel, but it tastes ok. Anyone else cook with this? Good recipes? Thoughts?
I think nopales are best julienne-sliced and quickly pan-fried in a little bit of oil, like you would bell peppers. They're good this way mixed with carmalized onions, chiles, potatoes, scrambled eggs, and/or skirt steak (arracheras). A local favorite Mexican joint serves tacos de bistek con nopales, which is basically seasoned, chopped skirt steak and stips of nopales, cooked as described above. It's a great combination!
I take the cubed nopales and boil them for an hour to help get rid of the slim. Then I saute them in olive oil, with chili flakes, chopped garlic, onion, and a splash of vinegar. Or I'll saute the boiled nopales with soyriso and add some cumin, chili powder, and a splash of vinegar. You can eat them like that or mix it with scrambled eggs, refried beans, or fried potatoes for breakfast burrito,.
If you do a search you will also find recipes for nopal salad. I've haven't made it but it sounds good.
If you like chile, here's an interesting chile verde recipe: http://tinyurl.com/22v9w7 I've had the shortcut on file for a while but haven't actually gotten around to making it.
At my market, I can buy nopales cleaned and diced or in whole paddles (presumably with stickers removed!). Being lazy, I go for the diced.
Here in Mexico, nopales are often served as a side vegetable, and sliced in a salad. Yesterday, we went out to lunch at a little neighborhood restaurant, and their lunch special was spaghetti (kind of a creamy tomato sauce) with nopales. We didn't order it, but it looked good. I think alot of people must eat them, because they are for sale in large quantity in the grocery stores.
My mom would brown pieces of pork. She would then add the boiled nopales and a can of Herdez Salsa Casera. She would also add more liquid if needed and then let it all cook together.
Note: Herdez Salsa Casera is just onion, chili, garlic, tomato, and cilantro. Which you could add instead.