Egg Curry with Nopalitos
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For today’s recipe, we’re making Egg Curry con Nopalitos.
Egg curry is one of those recipes that you’ll be glad to have because it’s so quick and easy to make and it’s also a crowd pleaser. If you’re doing Weight Watchers, this recipe is only 0-2 SPs and it is super filling.
Nopalitos are edible cactus. When I was a kid, I thought it was so weird to eat the same thing that cows eat, so I wasn’t thrilled to try them. Then, my grandma made them with egg and salsa roja and it was heaven on a plate.
You can find them at some grocery stores - when we lived in Texas, I found them at HEB - if your store doesn’t sell them, then head over to your local Mexican grocery store, they’ll likely have them. The nearest (good) Mexican grocery store for me is 80 miles away from home, so I stock up on nopalitos when I go. My grandma once told me that the secret was to buy the smallest pads, because those are the most tender and have the best texture and flavor, so if you have access to a variety of sizes, go for the smaller ones.
When you buy a cactus pad whole, you have to make sure to remove the thorns with a pearing knife or vegetable peeler. Even if they have been “pre-cleaned”, make sure to check for any small thorns that may have been left. A lot of stores won’t sell the entire pads, rather, they’ll sell the cactus pre-cut and bagged. If your only option is bagged nopalitos, go for the brightest green that you can find. After removing all thorns, run them under cold water to wash. If you have looked and can’t find them fresh, you can probably find them canned in the Hispanic aisle at the grocery store. I’m not a big fan of those, but they’ll do if you can’t find them fresh.
The nopalitos are cooked once they have turned from bright green to an olive green. If you are using canned ones, they are already cooked, as they were boiled as part of the canning process. I still sautee them to reduce the sliminess, but it’s up to you.
If you’ve never had cactus, give it a try! The best I can describe their taste is a tangy version of green beans. I’ve heard many stories about the health benefits of nopalitos, but I haven’t found any solid scientific evidence to these claims. Regardless, they are delicious, low in calories, and high in vitamin C.
We hope you enjoy this recipe. Let us know in the comments if you’ve tried it. We love to hear from you!
- 2 large or 3 small cactus pads (3/4 lb pre-cut)
- 6 eggs
- 3-4 tomatoes, chopped
- ¼ large onion (red or white), chopped
- 1-2 serrano peppers, minced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- ½ tablespoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ tablespoon cumin powder
- ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
- ½ tablespoon garam masala
- ½ - 1 tablespoon canned chipotle, minced (optional)
- Cooking spray (optional: substitute with ghee or oil)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh cilantro to garnish
1. Put the eggs in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover them by an inch or so. Bring this to a boil. Once the water boils, cover the saucepan and turn off the heat. Let the eggs cook in the hot water undisturbed for 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with cold water and peel them when they’re no longer hot. After peeling them, cut them in half.
2. If you bought whole cactus pads: Clean the cactus by removing the thorns with a pearing knife. Even if you purchased them “clean”, double check. Wash. Cut into strips (~ 1 cm x 2 cm).
3. Spray a large and deep skillet with cooking spray, pre-heat to medium. Add the cut cactus and season with salt. Sauté the cactus until it changes color from a bright green to an olive green. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
4. In the same skillet, add more cooking spray (or ghee/oil) and sauté the onion until translucent. Add serranos, salt, garlic, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, paprika, and garam masala. Cook for a minute until the spices release their aroma. It should smell pleasant, not burnt. Add the tomatoes and chipotle and cover. Cook (stirring periodically) until the mixture has changed color and the tomatoes are fully cooked.
5. Add water as needed to get the desired thickness.
6. Add the cactus and eggs and cover. Let it cook for 5-10 minutes.
7. Top with fresh cilantro.
I made mine with lots of sauce, to dip some rolled-up corn tortillas in it. You can also pair this with basmati rice, papad, or tostadas.