Nopalitos and Charales (Dried Smelts) blends the best of natural land and sea foods, Nopales with dried Smelts are a perfect recipe to prepare for any occasion.

Nopalitos and Charales (Dried Smelts) are a great and innovative choice when seconds count and you’re working against time to prepare a delicious and savory recipe. It’s a practical meal solution that doesn’t require too many fancy ingredients and is a real healthy choice. 

This true Mexican delicacy is another great example of “Fusion Cuisine” that blends natural land based foods with exquisite fresh water fish. The cactus and lightly fried smelts complement each other’s unique flavors in a very uniquely delicious way in part because they use the genuine flavor of La Costeña Mexican food products in the Tender Cactus and Taquera sauce. 

As a natural ingredient, Cactus is found all over Central and Northern Mexico. The Mexican smelts originate from the lakes in the highland regions of Central Mexico. More specifically, this unique Smelt species is found in Lake Patzcuaro in the Western-Central state of Michoacán which is also in the vicinity of Morelia a major cultural, artistic and gastronomical hub in Mexico. 

The recipe dates back to Pre-Hispanic times when the Tarascan native tribe of Michoacán would eat this recipe accompanied by corn tortillas. The tradition was followed throughout the Spanish Colonial era and is widely enjoyed by culinary enthusiasts nowadays. 

A perfect pairing drink for Nopalitos and Charales is an ice cold Lager type beer. Mexican lagers are consistently ranked as some of the best in the world and are a natural companion to this dish. 

The next time you find yourself in a rush to prepare a balanced and nutritious meal, keep Nopalitos and Charales in mind as a perfect option. It’s also a unique meal solution to observe the Lent Season.


  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 cup seasoned tomato puree
  • 1 cup La Costena taquera sauce
  • Two (17.6 oz. jars La Costeña tender cactus
  • (2 oz. charalitos (dried smelts), lightly fried


Saute onion and garlic in a little oil. Add both the tomato puree and taquera sauce, simmer 5 minutes. Add a little water, the cactus and smelts and simmer 5 minutes longer. Check seasoning. Serve with lemon juice and hot tortillas

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