“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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Spice it up! – Mexico’s spiciest party snacks

Dancing Chef cristina likes it hotThere is something about eating spicy food that is down-right addictive. Even though you feel that your tongue is on fire, you can’t feel your lips and you’ve broken out in a sweat, you will continue to crave spicy food! Mexico has a huge variety of dishes that involve chilis: ranging from the mild Poblano or Pasilla chili to the fiery Habanero. The spiciness of a chili is due to the natural active component ‘Capsaicin’ and it’s measured in Scoville Heat Units. Eating spicy food is not a competition though: we love to still be able to taste the flavor of our food, without our taste buds being blown out.

chile-peppers-hottness-for-blog1

 

If this chart hasn’t scared you, you’re a true Hot Chef as we call them at Salsa and Salsa. It’s time to bring out Mexico’s spiciest snacks that you can prepare for  a Mexican party at home or just as a side-dish to spice up your meals.

Stuffed Jalapeño peppers

This is the spicy brother of a well-known Mexican dish “Chile Relleno”. This breaded Jalapeño chili is bursting with flavor and will be the star of the party.chiles-rellenos-300x204

  • Oil to fry
  • 20 Jalapeño chilis
  • 1 1/2 litres water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 200 grams grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a deep skillet until smoking hot.  Put the chilis, one by one, into the hot oil for about 10 seconds. Use kitchen tongs to turn around and fry evenly. Submerge into cold water to cool down and make it easier to remove the skin.

Peel off the skins carefuly, using a kitchen cloth or gloves. Make sure they don’t break. Make a small cut on the side of the chili and remove the seeds and veins.

Once the chilis are clean, submerge them into a bowl with plenty of water, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1/4 cup of vinegar. Leave to rest for at least 2 hours.

Remove the chilis from the water, rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Slice the cream cheese in thin strips and fill the chilis.

Place the flour on a flat plate, the parmesan cheese on anothe plate and the egg in a cereal bowl.

Pass the chilis, one by one, through the flour, then into the egg and finally into the Parmesan cheese. You can repeat this procedure to make a double layer.

Heat oil in a deep skillet and fry the prepared chilis until golden brown. Place on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.

 

Habanero Salsa – Xnipec 

This spicy version of Pico-de-Gallo is typical from the Yucatan peninsula in the south-east of Mexico. Even if you think you don’t like spicy food, try making this with less Habanero chili. You’ll be surprised by its wonderful flavor!

  • 2 big Roma tomatoesxnipec
  • Cilantro to taste
  • 1 chile habanero
  • ½ Red 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.

 

Enjoy these recipes and make sure to have plenty of Margaritas and napkins at hand!

Greetings from the Dancing Chefs at Salsa and Salsa

 

 

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