Nopales, or cactus leaves, are one of the most popular dishes in Mexico, not only because there are tons of cactus in the country, but because nopales are very easy to cook. This makes them a great meatless dish. One of my aunts makes them in a way I had never seen before. Usually they are cooked with tomatoes, onions, cilantro and chile, but she cooks them with chile negro. Here’s the recipe:
Nopales with Chile Negro (Cactus Leaves with Black Chile)
- 1 pound nopales cut into long pieces (a nopal is a particular type of cactus leaf. Find them at your favorite Mexican Market)
- 1 bunch of green onions
- 1 medium white onion
- 4 dried chiles negros
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- salt to taste
You will also need a kitchen towel.
Cook the nopales with water and onion greens, you can do it in a pressure cooker (5 minutes) or in a medium sized pot (20-30 minutes). Nopales are cooked when they change color from bright green to olive green. Drain them and leave them in the colander on top of a deep pot, wet the kitchen towel and cover them. Let them rest until all the liquid and viscosity is gone, about half an hour.
While the nopales are resting, slice the white onion and cut the chiles negros in small pieces. Heat the oil in a pan. When hot, add the white onions, chile negro and salt to taste. Cook them until soft, approx 5-8 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the nopales and let them cook together with the onion/chile mixture for a few minutes. That’s all! For variation, add a few tomatillos finely chopped and cook them with the onion and chile negro.
Check out my previous weeks’ Lenten recipes here:
Check out different Lenten recipes in Spanish underneath my Spanish translation of Nopales With Chile Negro
I invite you to check out other yummy recipes in English from my sister bloggers below: