Chipilín, or chepil, is a legume native to Southern Mexico and Central America. Its delicate leaves have traditionally been eaten as greens or used as an herb to flavor rice, soup, Oaxacan tamales, and Salvadoran pupusas. Chipilín is not cultivated on an agricultural scale; it's something you might find at farmers' markets, in home gardens, and growing in the wild. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible, though the leaves don't develop much of a taste until cooked. We recently tried chipilín in a Oaxacan rice recipe. It was pleasantly pungent and herbaceous – not overwhelming but enough to add some depth to the dish.
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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