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In Mexican cuisine, pico de gallo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpiko ðe ˈɣaʎo], lit. rooster's beak), also called salsa fresca or salsa cruda, is made from chopped tomato, onion, cilantro, fresh serranos (jalapeños or habaneros are used as alternatives), salt, and lime juice. Other ingredients, such as shrimp, or avocado, are also sometimes added.
The tomato-based variety is widely known as salsa picada (minced/chopped sauce). In Mexico it is normally called salsa mexicana (Mexican sauce). Because the colours of the red tomato, white onion, green chili and cilantro are reminiscent of the colours of the Mexican flag, it is also sometimes called salsa bandera (flag sauce).
In many regions of Mexico the term refers to any of a variety of salads (including fruit salads), salsa, or fillings made with tomato, tomatillo, avocado, orange, jícama, cucumber, papaya, or mild chilis. The ingredients are tossed in lime juice and either hot sauce or chamoy, then sprinkled with a salty chili powder.
In their book Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico, Rick Bayless and Deann Groen speculate that the name might allude to the bird feed-like texture and appearance of the mince.
Many native residents of the Sonoran Mexico region explain that the salsa is thus named because the serrano pepper resembles a rooster's beak in shape.