Papalo or Summer Cilantro

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.Papalo or summer Cilantro

Rustic Salsa
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.

12 Responses

  1. Hi Rose Marie!
    Thanks so much for talking with me about garlic, and filling me in on what’s going on with your end of the business. It was fun to re-connect with you, now let’s do it in person! The little feature on garlic and ginger will be in Sunday paper,
    Warm regards,

  2. Hi Julie,
    Thanks for posting on the blog. I’m looking forward to your garlic article. I’m looking forward to catching up with you.
    Rose Marie

  3. […] pipicha. I was ready to go with the Texan since she comes from source, more or less, but finally The Gardeners Pantry pointed me to a page at Garden Mosaics, a a program of Cornell University, which is noted for its […]

  4. I love your photo of the Papalo growing in a shallow pot, and if it is OK with you, I have linked it to my own blog.

    I love Cilantro, but this Papalo taste even better. We start our seeds in an AeroGarden and then move the seedling into regular hydroculture when they are big enough. Since all of our garden containers are indoors, it is good that a little of the Papalo goes a long ways. It is much preferable to grow here than fussy and hard-to-grow Cilantro, which cannot abide our desert heat.

  5. Growing it for the first time in Spain – never had any success with cilantro and miss the taste. Looking forward to seeing how it gets on

    • I hope you will come back and share your experience. I’ve just sown seeds of Papalo, Cilantro and Culantro.It’s been awhile since I’ve grown them side by side.

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