April 07, 2020
I have never quite loved the taste of nopales until I put them in this curry. Somehow the tomato masala around them makes the sliminess diminish considerably. Mayo Clinic extolls their virtues and comes short of calling them a super food. Nopales aka cactus are anti-viral and anti-inflammatory, very high in fiber and used to treat diabetes. The slimy texture of the cactus may also be reduced by washing away the surface residue after boiling them. This curry tastes surprisingly good and is wonderful with simple boiled white rice or rice tossed with seasonal greens.
serves 2 to 4
2 whole nopales (cactus)
Pinch of ground turmeric
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 to 5 garlic cloves, sliced
5 cloves, lightly chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons ground red chili
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes
Chopped cilantro for garnish
Trim the prickly parts of the cactus by scraping them off with a knife. Next boil them with turmeric and salt for 20 minutes and turn the heat off. Let the pot of water with the nopales (cactus) rest for 20 to 30 minutes then drain. Cool.
In the meanwhile, in a stockpot, heat the olive oil and when it is just shy of smoking, add the sliced garlic and chopped cloves and cook for a few seconds until the garlic slices turn golden. Then add the cumin seeds and let them pop and sizzle.
Almost immediately add the chili powder, crushed tomatoes, and salt and cook on low heat stirring almost constantly. Add 2 cups of water, bring the mixture to a boil, cover and let it simmer on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
Rinse the nopales (cactus) under warm running water to remove as much slimy residue as possible. Slice into 1 by 2-inch rectangular pieces and add them to the simmering curry. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes then turn the heat off.
The important step here is when adding the garlic, cloves, and cumin to the oil to make sure not to burn any of them — keep the heat to medium and watch carefully.
To add shrimp to this curry, slide it in towards the end of boiling the sauce.
Instead of cumin, add 2 to 3 crushed cardamom pods.
December 02, 2022