After reading the ‘Plants in the Mayan Culture’ book by Svetlana Aleksandroff I became inspired to try my hand at making a popular dish that is served in practically all Mexican restaurants and homes here.
‘Pico de Gallo’ is a multipurpose sidedish I have seen used as a dip for tortillas, accompanying burritos and even as a topping for tacos, salads, fish or chicken. It is very tasteful – not necessarily spicy, but you can add heat as much as you like and the taste just keeps getting better.
The best thing of all with Pico de Gallo is it is low in calories and totally healthy!
Pico means spicy and Gallo is a place in Spain, probably where the first ‘abuela’ or spanish grandmother concocted it way back in history.
Since my favorite guide Blake is visiting me later at my cabana in Coco Tulum I decided to make some Pico de Gallo and serve it as a dip with potato chips.
I walked down to the little ‘abarrotes’, the convenience store nearby and bought some ingredients from the recipe – 10 Roma tomatoes (the Mexican’s like the firmness of Roma tomatoes), a red onion, 1 small jalapeño pepper, a small garlic, 1 lime and a small bunch of ‘cilantro’, or coriander. I added two big bags of potato chips to my backpack. I already had a small bowl, olive oil, pepper and salt from my picnic supplies back at Coco so I didn’t buy those.
I love the stroll along the beach road to Coco Cabanas with so many colorful things to see like the gazillions of flowers and the Mayan costumes. Plus I love the smell of the pine trees and the sea air.
On the walk back I saw a European couple I met on the beach yesterday who were also staying at Coco Tulum Cabanas. They seemed very nice so I decided to invite them to my cabana later with Blake to share my Pico de Gallo.
After I returned, I set up my chair near the door so I could see the beach and the ocean as I made preparations. Since the dip is very chunky I didn’t need to chop the ingredients too small. I cut up the tomatoes, the onion, 2 cloves of garlic and 4 tablespoons of chopped ‘cilantro’.
The best part was watching the huge iguana who seemed to have adopted me gulp down the leftover pieces of tomatoes that I threw to him.
I put all the chopped ingredients in my bowl and squeezed out the juice from the lime into the mix, and I added 1 tablespoon of olive oil. It looked so delicious I tried a bit then added some salt and pepper. It was DELICIOUS!
The only thing I was reluctant to add because it tasted so good already was the hot jalapeño pepper, but my curiosity lured me into adding a small amount of finely chopped pepper that I added to the mix. I liked the heat so I added some more until I felt that the zip was good but not too hot. I ended up using a quarter of the jalapeño pepper.
The dip was de-lish-shous so I knew I had to hide it from the iguana and myself because we were both eyeing the remainder hungrily.
I wouldn’t open the potato chips until my European friends and Blake arrived because I know I would eat everything before they got there.
I heard that Pico de Gallo is better after marinating overnight, too, so it’s a great recipe to have around in a tupperware container for all types of occasions.
You just have to love Mexico!