Nopalitos con Pollo en Chile Colorado (Cactus with Chicken in a Red California Chili Sauce)


This is a very special dish for me, first because it is El inglés favourite dish and second because it used to be my dad the one who used to cook it for him. Nowadays the person in my family that cooks it to perfection is my sister, Cynthia, who, like my dad, is a brilliant cook, so she gave me the recipe and told me how to do it.

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.

Serves 4

Prep 15 min

Cook 30 min


  • 3 x 460 gr La Costeña Cactus Jars
  • 4 chicken breasts cut in chunks
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Sal and pepper to taste

For the Chile Colorado (Red Anaheim Chili sauce)

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 5 Anaheim dry chillies, washed, stem and seeds off


Put the dry Anaheim chillies, tomatoes and onion in a sauce pan with 500 ml water, let it simmer for 20 min, blend everything and pass the sauce through a sieve to get rid of any skins.

In a frying pan put the oil to heat and start frying the chicken, after 5 min add the salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Meanwhile drain the water that comes in the jars with the nopales and get rid off any onions, wash them through with clean water to remove some of the salt.

After 15 min of cooking the chicken, pour the sauce, cook the chicken in the sauce for 3 min and add the cactus and cook for 5 more min.

Serve it with red rice and some fresh cheese.




Join the Conversation

  1. Hola Karlita. Otra vez por aqui en tu pagina. Esta receta me recuerda al Chilayo que mi apa hacia. Tambien es especial para mi.

    1. Hola Jamie, gracias! Está receta es una de nuestras favoritas, a mi marido le encanta! Saludos grandes

  2. Thanks for your recipe. I’m going to try it with ground beef and Chile pasillas.
    I too live in Baja.

    1. It is a great idea to use ground beef, the chile pasilla is going to give a great flavour! X

  3. Can I use chili’s guajillo

    1. Yes, you can use guajillo a as well

  4. Angelica Fonseca says:

    Can I use new mexico chilli pods instead?

    1. Hi Angelica,
      Yes, you can use new mexico chilli instead, it is very similar to guajillo

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