Papaloquelite, Porophyllum ruderale known as papalo or summer cilantro, is a Mexican and Central American herb. The leaves have a warm pungency like cilantro with a hint of citrus and a more powerful flavor. I recommend using about 1/3 as much papalo as cilantro when preparing salsa and then adjust flavor to your taste. In Mexico, restaurants often place a little vase of papalo cuttings on the table and the diner adds leaves as desired.
The use of Papaloquelite “butterfly herb” predates the introduction of cilantro, Coriandrum sativum to Mexico by thousands of years. It’s easy to understand why cilantro with it’s similar flavor was so quickly adopted. It is used for salsas, sandwiches, guacamole, salads or simply sprinkled over rice and beans. The flavor is lost when cooked. This Cornell U website has information on papalo.
Plants grow in ordinary garden soil with moderate to full sun. This summer mine has grown well in a shallow container and never bolted in summer heat. Today I sowed seeds in a small rectangular container for a windowsill garden. The intense flavor may possibly substitute for cilantro in Indian and SE Asian cooking. If you enjoy cooking with unusual herbs this is one to try.
6 ripe Roma Tomatoes
1 Bell Pepper, any color
2 Pasilla chiles or ‘Holy Mole’
1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper
½ small mild onion, peeled & chunked
½ cup lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt
Chopped papalo leaves (1 to 2 tblsp).
Take a large skillet, heat and add whole tomatoes and peppers, heating until skins are slightly charred. Rub off skin from tomatoes and chunk. Remove skin from peppers, and don’t be concerned about a few charred bits as they will add flavor. Cut peppers in half and remove seeds and surrounding light colored tissue to temper the heat. Place all ingredients except papalo in a food processor or blender and process only until slightly chunky. Pour into dish and add 1 tablespoon papalo. Taste after five minutes and add more papalo if needed.