“Chop, Chop!” – The 5 tastiest Pico de Gallo variations

pico de gallo1Mexico’s most famous salsa in any Mexican restaurant world-wide has to be ‘Pico de Gallo’. This fresh chopped Salsa contains diced Roma tomato, onion, serrano chili, cilantro, salt and lime juice. It’s a wonderful snack to serve with tortilla chips or a side-dish to spice up your meal.

Not everybody knows that Pico de Gallo is also known as ‘Salsa Mexicana’ in Mexico. The name doesn’t mean that the Salsa was made in Mexico. It actually refers to the colors of the Mexican flag: red, white and green!

Cinco de Mayo is the perfect occasion to create a Pico de Gallo. Instead of the traditional recipe the Dancing Chefs at Salsa and Salsa give you the 5 tastiest variations, so you can amaze your guests at the Salsa party!

 


Jicama Pico de Gallo 

pico de gallo jaliscoThe Dancing Chefs love to be experimental and healthy! The main ingredient is Jicama, a vegetable that is known for its refreshing taste.  The recipe comes from the state of Jalisco: the land of Tequila and mariachis. Enjoy!

½ kilo or 1 pound peeled jicama, cut in strips of 1×5 centimeters

2 peeled cucumbers, remove seeds, cut in strips of 1×5 centimeters

1 small cantaloupe melon cut in strips of 1×5 centimeters

¼ cup lime juice

2 fresh Serrano or jalapeño peppers, remove seeds and membranes, cut in very thin strips

½ tsp salt

1 tsp chili powder (optional)

 

Place all the ingredients, except the chili powder, in a bowl. Mix, taste and add salt if needed. To serve, place the Pico de Gallo in a flat dish and sprinkle the chili powder on top. Serve cold or at room temperature.

 

Habanero Pico de Gallo – ‘Xnipec’

xnipecThis fierce Pico de Gallo comes from the southern state of Yucatan and contains Habanero chili. This variety is not for the faint-hearted, but addictively tasty!

  • 2 big Roma tomatoes
  • Cilantro to taste
  • 1 chile habanero
  • ½ onion
  • Orange juice and vinegar
  • Sal to taste

 

Dice the tomatoes, onion and habanero chile finely. You might want to use gloves when cutting the habanero. Chop the cilantro and mix with the other ingredients. Add salt, orange juice and vinegar to taste. This salsa is used for grilled meat and fish.

 

Mango Pico de Gallo

pico de gallo mangoIf you like a sweet touch in your Pico de Gallo, try out this fruity version. It has mango, but you can use pine-apple too.

  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1-2 serrano chilis
  • 1 ripe Mango
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to tast

Dice all the ingredients in medium-sized pieces. Place together in a bowl and add the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and leave in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before serving.

 

Nopal Pico de Gallo

nopal saladNopales are thick, oval, flat, modified stems of cactus plant, eaten as a vegetable. Its young tender pads known as ‘nopalitos’, are an important part of Mexican cuisine since ancient times. Their flavor is similar to French beans and nopales are a great addition to your meals.

 

  • 1 pound (500 gr) Nopal leaves, without spines
  • 2 big Roma tomatoes
  • Cilantro to taste
  • 1 chili Serrano
  • ½ onion
  • Lime juice
  • Sal to taste

 

Dice the nopal leaves in cubes. Place into a sauce pan with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes until the nopal leaves change color. Drain and place in a serving bowl to cool down. In the meanwhile dice the tomatoes, onion and chili finely. Chop the cilantro and mix with the other ingredients. Add salt and lime juice to taste. You can sprinkle ‘queso fresco’ or feta cheese on top. This salad is a great side dish and has only 50 calories per serving.

 

Melon – Bell pepper Pico de Gallo

cinco de mayoThis last variety of Pico de Gallo can be considered a ‘Salsa Fresca’, incorporating fruits and veggies. You can serve this salsa as a side-dish with roasted chicken.

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 serrano chili
  • 1 cup diced melon (or mango)
  • Lime juice
  • Salt and pepper

Dice up the ingredients and place them together in a bowl.  If you want to make a milder salsa, make sure to remove the seeds of the serrano chili. Add the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes before serving.

 

 

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Mexican Margaritas from the Dancing Chefs

dancing chef stephanie Margaritas are a very typical drink from Mexico and that of course is because its base is TEQUILA!!!!  As you probably know,  you can make margaritas of any flavor, but the key to a delicious margarita is to use fresh ingredients and high quality alcohol.

As a true Dancing Chef, I love to experiment with new flavors that the bartenders, or “cantineros” as we like to call them, come up with. There are some very strange margarita flavors, like: Avocado, Cucumber-Jalapeño and Banana-Peanut Butter. These flavors are really popular among people that LOVE those vegetables or the particular sweetness of peanut butter.

The most popular margaritas are: Lime, Strawberry, Pineapple, Mango and Tamarind. You are probably wondering what tamarind is. Well, not only is it my favorite flavor of margarita, but it is also a very common pod-like fruit which is used extensively around the world.

tamarindo

In Mexico, it is used in sauces or sold in various snack forms: candied, in sweet soft clusters, or dried and salted. It is also prepared as a fresh beverage called Agua de Tamarindo, or as a cocktail Margarita de Tamarindo. Often in Mexico tamarind is plucked off the tree and eaten raw.

Tamarind has a sour flavor that goes perfect with either chili or sugar. Make sure that on your next trip to Mexico you try tamarind in the different ways it is prepared.

HOME MADE TAMARIND SYRUP

15 fresh tamarinds

1/3 cup of sugar

3 cups of water

Peel the tamarind pods and put them in a small pot with 3 cups of water. Let them boil for about 15 minutes and add the sugar. Mix it up and let it cool down. When it’s room temperature, get ready to squeeze! Wash your hands thoroughly and get them in the pot, squeezing the tamarind so the seeds pop out and remove them. Pour the seedless mix into a blender and blend until is smooth.  You just finished your home-made tamarind syrup!!! This can often be used for Tamarind water or a Tamarind Margarita.

Tamarind syrup

TAMARIND MARGARITA

1 cup of home-made tamarind syrup

4 oz of tequila

4 oz of orange liqueur

2 limes

2 cups of ice

Chili powder or Salt to rim the glasses

Here we are going to make Tamarind Margaritas. Pour 1 cup of your home-made tamarind syrup,  4 oz of tequila, and 4 oz of orange liqueur in the blender , and squeeze in the juice of two limes. Add 2 cups of ice and blend! Your margarita is ready to pour into your glass, but make sure you rim your glass with lime and then with chili powder  (you can subtitute salt for chili powder). Once the glass is ready, pour in the margarita. You can garnish with a slice of lime or jicama if you’d like.

Now you only need to raise your glass and toast in Salsa and Salsa style: Salud, Dinero y mucho mucho Amor!!!

Margarita tamarindo

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