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Pipicha is a grass-like, upright herb that has tall, wispy stems with long and slender, aromatic green leaves. Pipicha grows wild, and in some areas is even considered a weed. Flower buds grow at the tops of mature stems, but do not open until the seed within has matured. The flowers are purple and white, the weight of which can bend the herb’s stems. Pipicha has a distinct flavor, stronger than cilantro with a hint of mint and a bit of a citrus finish.
Pipicha is available in the spring, typically later in the season.
Pipicha, or Chepiche, is a tarragon-like herb native to Mexico and used like cilantro in many recipes. Botanically, Pipicha is classified as Porophyllum tagetoides and it is a member of the daisy family. Pipicha is said to have a quality similar to cilantro with a more impressive flavor profile. Pipicha is often confused with another Mexican herb, Pápalo, which has much broader-shaped leaves and a different flavor profile. Sometimes Pipicha is called Thin Pápalo, Tepicha, Pepicha, and Escobeta.
Pipicha can act as a palate cleanser after meals. The herb contains vitamins C and B, as well as calcium and iron. The terpines found in the volatile oils of the Pipicha leaves are beta-myrcene and D-limonene and some others. These compounds act as antioxidants, helping to protect human cells from free-radicals and environmental toxins.
Pipicha is used fresh, often as a condiment or final addition to a dish. Roughly chop Pipicha and add to mixed salad, fresh salsas, and devilled eggs. Pipicha pairs well with grain-based salads like Tabbouleh, Mujaddara (bulgur wheat), or potato salad. Pipicha is commonly used in the Oaxacan dish Sopa de Guias, which is a zucchini soup made with the blossoms and the vines of the plant. Pipicha is typically added at the end of the cooking process, to maintain its flavor. Pipicha can add color and flavor to arroz blanco (white rice) and to lightly poached white fish. Top enchiladas and tamales with chopped Pipicha, or incorporate into a tomatillo salsa. The flavor is strong, so smaller quantities should be used. To store Pipicha, refrigerate in a plastic bag and use within a few days. The tender nature of Pipicha makes it more perishable.
The native people in the area where Pipicha originated were called the Nahuatl. They utilized Pipicha as a medicinal herb for bacterial infections and detoxing the body, specifically the liver. The cuisine of Puebla and Oaxaca states in Mexico is heavily influenced by the local herb, and its popularity grows when natives leave the area and take Pipicha and its recipes along.
Pipicha is native to the states of Puebla and Oaxaca in southern Mexico, not too far from the Guatemalan border. Pipicha is not often seen outside of its native Mexico and some Central American countries, but it may be found at local Mexican markets and a few farmer’s markets.
Recipes that include Pipicha. One is easiest, three is harder.
|The Wanderlust Kitchen||Poblano Chicken Tacos with Pipicha|
|Sunset Park CSA||Salsa verde with pipicha|
|Food Arts||Mole OaxaqueÃ±o en Verde|