Our photographer Andrés describes how he came to learn about this spicy pineapple salad called Ensalada Arabe or “Arabic Salad”, a dish filled with the childhood memories of his friend Daniel Navarro an artist from Guadalajara.
A serendipitous Visit
My wife and I had invited Daniel and his wife Beatriz to the house on one of the rare warm days in late February. They brought a simple salad which turned out to be one of those dishes where you just had to have the recipe after trying it. We asked for the recipe and the name of the dish; it was called “Ensalada Arabe.”
A Dish from Childhood
Daniel spent weekends at his great grandparent’s hacienda near Guadalajara called “Los Sauces Jalisco” His mother Dora Maria, who was from the town of Encarnación de Diaz in the Northern mountains of Jalisco, would prepare this salad during warmer weather at the ranch. One day, when Daniel friends were visiting the ranch his mother prepared this salad for them. After trying the dish, his friends said that the salad was an Arab salad because they had had a similar dish in an Arab restaurant.
Daniel was surprised. He had never asked his mother how his mother had learned to prepare this dish. Perhaps it had been handed down for many generations. Like in many families, nobody was sure where the recipe had come from.
Possible Origins of the Dish
In the late 19th and early 20th century and again after World War II, Mexico received many immigrants from Lebanon and this dish may have originated with them. Did you know that the name Guadalajara comes from the Arabic WAD-al-HIDJARA, and means “river that runs between the rocks” or “rocky river?”
If You Would Like to Know More about Daniel and His Work
Daniel was born in Guadalajara on December 14, 1968. He studied the Theory of Aesthetics with Guillermo Santamarina and music at the Escuela de Música de la Universidad de Guadalajara. As an artist, he is also self taught.
If you would like to find out more about Daniel and his art, which has been shown in Mexico, the United States, and Europe.
Time to Make the Salad
Gather your ingredients. You will need a very ripe pineapple, 1/2 of a white onion, 2 chiles de arbol, 4 limes, salt and and wheat crackers to serve.
Cut off the stem and remove the outer skin of the pineapple.
Chop the pineapple into 1/2″ pieces.
Finely chop the white onion.
Break open the chiles and remove the seeds. Then, finely chop.
In a mixing bowl, place all of the chopped ingredients plus the salt. Squeeze the lime juice over the ingredients. Mix well well with a spoon.
Serve with wheat crackers.
Spicy Pineapple Salad - Ensalada Arabe
- 1 large ripe pineapple
- 1/2 medium white onion
- 2 chiles de arból
- 4 limes
- 1 tsp. salt
- 24 wheat crackers
- Cut off the stem and remove the outer skin of the pineapple. Discard.
- Chop the pineapple into 1/2" pieces.
- Finely chop the white onion.
- Break open the chiles and remove the seeds. Then, finely chop.
- In a mixing bowl, place all of the chopped ingredients plus the salt. Squeeze the lime juice over the ingredients. Mix well well with a spoon.
- Serve with wheat crackers.