Papalo is also known as Bolivian Coriander or "Summer Cilantro," but it's really from the daisy family and originated in South America.
This herb has a strong smell and if you've spent time in Southern Mexico or South America you might recognize the scent. Some have said it smells like laundry detergent or skunk.
Papalo is still kind of unknown in the states, although you can also find lots of it growing in the Southwest. The taste is kind of a mix of cilantro, cucumber, arugula and citrus. It's a delicious addition to any Mexican dish, salsas, guacamole and fish dishes. It's most often used raw and added at the last moment, like cilantro.
Papalo is also claimed to have a medicinal effect. Many people believe it helps lower blood pressure and help stomach problems.
Papalo does best in full sun with good drainage, with some space between plants. It works in containers, as well. The plants can get up to 4 to 5 feet high. Come on by the nursery or visit us at a farmers market to get some Papalo for your garden. We think you'll love adding it to your summer meals.
Here's a simple recipe to get you started. From the Homesick Texan blog.
Salsa Verde with Papalo
2 cups of chopped tomatillos
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
3 serrano peppers, stems removed and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
Juice from 1/2 lime
2 tablespoons of papao leaves, chopped
Salt to taste
Throw all ingredients in the blender and mix well.
Makes about 2 cups
Serve over pork, chicken, tacos, beans or with chips.
You can replace papalo with cilantro though I’d use about 1/2 a cup or more of that less-pungent herb instead.