Bolivian Coriander – Quillquiña


Porophyllum ruderale is an herbaceous annual plant whose leaves can be used for seasoning food. The taste has been described as “somewhere between Arugula (Rocket), Coriander and Rue.”

Bolivian Coriander

Bolivian Coriander

The plant is commonly grown in Mexico and South America for use in Salsas. When fully grown, this plant grows to about 1.5 m (5 ft.) in height and 0.9 m (3 ft.) in diameter.

The plant is easy to grow from seed in a well drained soil, which should be allowed to dry between watering.

Cultural Usage

Having been used by many cultures, Bolivian coriander (Porophyllum ruderale) is known by many names, including , quillquiña (also spelled quirquiña or quilquiña), yerba porosa, killi, pápalo, tepegua and pápaloquelite. Despite the name “Bolivian coriander”, this plant is not botanically related to Coriander (Coriandrum sativum).

  • Only the leaves are edible , which are very aromatic whereas the taste is slightly acid. The leaves are normally used fresh because when they are cooked they loose fragrance and flavour.
  • In Bolivia, Mexico, and other areas of Central America papalo is so popular it is often kept fresh in vases on restaurant and kitchen tables. Diners pluck the leaves and shred bits of the pungent herb onto their food before eating it. It doesn’t dry well, but it can be frozen if it is pureed with water or oil and put into ice cube trays.
  • This plant is known in Mexico as pápaloquelite, commonly accompanying the well known Mexican tacos. Not all Mexicans enjoy its taste, but many claim that it gives a better flavour to tacos and typical Mexican salsas and soups.
  • In Puebla cuisine, pápalo is used as a condiment on traditional cemita sandwiches, a regional type of Mexican torta.
  • Papalo was used in the Azteca era, but never as medicine, only as food.
  • One study claims that Papalo exhibits some health benefits such as: lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and aiding digestion.

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