My dad used to make this dish for my husband every time we used to go to Mexico to visit them and he always used to say “te hice tus nopalitos” (I cooked your nopalitos). Now every time we are in Mexico, this is the dish he loves to eat the most!
Nopales or Cactus in English, is a vegetable eaten very widely in Mexico, they are very nutritious and delicious. We used them to make stews, jams, salads, salsas, smoothies, etc., and they can be eaten raw or cooked. Unfortunately in England are not available fresh, so the only option is to buy them in a jar, they are already cooked and ready to be use in stews or salads, I don’t recommend this type of cactus for smoothies, as they flavour is different. If you have the opportunity to travel to Mexico, give cactus a try, they are a bit slimy but have very good flavour.
Let’s start with the recipe, remember that you won’t be able to get fresh cactus in England but you can always buy them in a jar, at the end of the recipe I will give you the name of the website where you can get them.
Prep 15 min
Cooks 3 hrs
- 1 kilo bag of Nopalitos Azteca
- 750 gr pork shoulder cut in big chunks
- 2 tomatoes
- 1/2 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 5 Guajillos or Anaheim dry chillies, washed, stem and seeds off
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 L water
Place the pork pieces in a saucepan or dutch oven, add the tomato (cut in half), onion, garlic, salt and water. Bring to a boil, remove the impurities from it and lower the heat to low. Slow cook for 2 hrs.
Meanwhile drain the liquid that comes in the nopalitos, wash them through with clean water to remove some of the salt. Then place them in a bowl, add fresh water and set aside for 20 min. Then drain the water, cut them into little cubes (pic below)
Check your pork after one hour and a half. Place the clean dried chillies and cook for 20 min. Then remove the chillies, tomato, onion and garlics and some of the liquid. Blend these ingredients very well until very smooth then pass the sauce through a sieve to get rid of any skins.
Then remove all the liquid left in the pork, leaving the meat by itself. Add the nopalitos and the sauce. Then if it the sauce needs more liquid, use the leftover. You want a thick runny consistency. Cook the pork, the nopalitos and the sauce (Chile Colorado) together for 10 min.
Serve it with some delicious tomato rice and homemade corn tortillas.