If you’re looking to add a new flavor to your home cooking, or if you like to read new recipes on the internet while waiting for your frozen food to microwave, you might want to try Pipicha – It’s a fabulous, fragrant herb that’s perfect for stuffing’s, poultry dishes and stews.
Porophyllum tagetoides also known as Pepicha or Chepiche is native from Oaxaca, Mexico. Pepicha grows tall and wispy like tarragon and makes these gorgeous poppy purple flowers. The flowers do not have petals that open; buds open when seed is dried. It tastes like cilantro times ten and is not frost hardy but resistant to hot summers. There is a lot of confusion between Pepicha (Porophyllum tagetoides) and Papalo (Papaloquelite porophyllum ruderale) on the internet sites, but if you see them next to each other – they are definitely not the same.
Pepicha herb is traditionally use in Nouvelle Mexican cuisine. In Oaxaca it is made into arroz blanco, giving it a flavourful zest. It is most known as an ingredient for making Sopa de Guias (zucchini soup with the blossoms and vines). This is the taste of real Oaxacan home cooking, and neighborhood markets sell the Chepiche with the squash, its blossoms and vines. Medicinally, the Nahuatl used Pepicha against bacterial infections, liver cleansing and detox.
The tender aromatic pine needle-like leaves can be eaten as they are, accompanying meals as a condiment. The flavor and aroma have elements of pine, citrus and mint. Pipicha can be substituted for herbs such as Mint, Cilantro or Dill. It works well in mixed salad, salsa fresca, or devilled eggs, and is particularly good in starch-based salads such as Tabouleh, bulgar or brown rice salads and potato salad. Great for fish, especially fresh caught salt water fish, as a final addition for broths, blended into salsas, and flavors perfectly a delicious mushroom and watercress salad.
10 cups water
1 small head garlic, cut in half horizontally
1 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
2 corncobs, preferably field corn, not the sweet variety
2 tender zucchini or green squash
8 large Guias (squash vines)
1 small bunch Piojito (Galinsoga parviflora)
1 large bunch Chepil (Crotolaria longirostrata)
1 small bunch Pepicha (Porophyllum tagetioides)
1 small bunch squash flowers
Salt to taste
Put the water into a large pot, add the garlic, onion, and salt, and bring to a boil, boiling for about 5 minutes. Remove the husks from the corn. Cut 1 of them into slices about 1-1/4 inches (3 cm) thick. Shave the kernels from the other cob. Rinse and trim the squash and cut into strips or 3/4-inch (2-cm) cubes. Rinse the guias well and shake dry. Remove the tendrils and any tough parts. Strip off the stringy outer part of the stems. Snap the stems into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces. If parts of the stem are tough, discard them. Leave the leaves attached. Rinse the piojitos well and shake dry. Discard the lower stems and tear into pieces.
Rinse the chepil well and shake dry. Remove the rosettes of the leaves and discard the stems. Rinse the chepiche well and shake dry. Remove and discard the bare stems and tear the rest into small pieces. Remove all but 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the stems of the squash flowers. Strip off the stringy outside of the stems and the sepals. Leave the base of the flower and the pistils; they do not make the soup bitter. Coarsely chop the flowers.
Blend the corn kernels with about 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the cooking water, return to the pot with the corn slices, and continue cooking for 10 minutes or until the corn is tender. Add the squash and guias and continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the greens and squash flowers and cook for 10 more minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Remember always to have the broth boiling when adding the greens to preserve the color as much as possible. Serve as suggested above. If you are adding chochoyotes, they should go in just after the final herbs when the water comes up to a simmer again. If the water boils too hard, they will disintegrate.