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Pico de gallo
A girl eating pico de gallo.
In Mexican cuisine, Pico de gallo (Spanish for "rooster's beak") is a fresh uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, onion, and sometimes chile (typically jalapeños or serranos). Other ingredients may also be added, such as lemon or lime juice, fresh cilantro (leaf of coriander), cucumber, radish or other fresh firm pulpy fruit such as mango.

In some regions of Mexicomarker, a fruit salad tossed in lime juice and sprinkled with a salty Chile powder is also known as pico de gallo, while the tomato-based condiment is better known as salsa picada, which means minced or chopped sauce, or salsa mexicana, because the colors red (tomato), white (onion), and green (chile) are the colors of the Mexican flag.Pico de gallo can be used in much the same way as Mexican salsa or Indianmarker chutneys, but since it contains less liquid, it can also be used as a main ingredient in dishes such as tacos and fajitas.


One of the sources for the name "rooster's beak" could be the beak-like shape and the red color of the chile used to make it. According to food writer Sharon Tyler Herbst, it is so called because originally it was eaten with the thumb and forefinger, and retrieving and eating the condiment resembled the actions of a pecking rooster.

Another suggested etymology is that pico is derived frdom the verb picar which has two meanings: 1) to mince or chop, and 2) to bite, sting or peck. The rooster, gallo in Spanish, is a common metaphor for the hyper-masculine ("macho") male in Mexican culture. One example of such machismo is taking pride in withstanding the spicy burn of chiles.

A problem with these theories is they assume the use of hot chiles. In many regions of Mexico the term "pico de gallo" refers to any of a variety of salads, condiments or fillings made with sweet fruits, tomatoes, tomatillos, avocado or mild chiles—not necessarily with hot chiles or any chiles at all. Thus, the name could be a simple allusion to the bird feed-like (minced) texture and appearance of the sauce.

See also


  1. Sharon Tyler Herbst, "Food Lover's Companion," 2nd ed., as quoted in Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995:, retrieved 10/3/2007 [1]
  2. Bayless, Rick & Deann Groen: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico

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