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Description: The nopal or biznaga is a cactus yielding tangy prickly pears, called tuna in Mexico. The spines need to be carefully removed before they are cooked, say by dicing and boiling in a little salted water with flavourings such as garlic and onions. The resulting vegetable is rather like crunchy green beans, bland in flavour but good for bulking up stews. They produce an okra-like slippery slime which needs to be removed by rinsing after cooking. They are usually mixed with tomatoes and coriander (US: cilantro) to make a salad and they are frequently also candied and used in tamales or desserts. They are also called nopalitos.
|Nopales ready for use at the lovely Restaurante El Naranjo in Oaxaca City in Mexico||
Latin: Opuntia ficus-indica, O. megacantha
Ethnicity: Mexican, Spanish
Most frequent country: Mexico, Spain
Also known as: nopalitos
See places: Spanish food and cuisine, Mexican food and cuisine
See foods and dishes: tuna
Other web reference: Prickly-pear.com