Monday, April 16, 2007

JILO - a Brazilian vegetable

I was leafing through a Culinary Institute of America's publication of Kitchen & Cook when my eyes caught something that looked like a tomato dish. Then I thought it had eggplant or aubergine in it. Both ways I was mistaken. It was a Jilo dish. According to the article

the jilo (pronounced zhee-LO) lends its earthy, smoky, bittersweet flavor to vibrant fusion dishes, and the rustic peasant food of Brazil's southeastern Minas Gerais region. As they ripen, jilos turn red and acquire a bitterness that is prized in Africa, where the vegetable originated, but is avoided in Brazil, where the jilo now plays its most prominent role. Brazilians use them when they're still green and sweet..... jilos can be used in dishes that call for other types of eggplant, such as ratatouille, caponata, Creole stuffed eggplants and others. Their bitter notes also balance salty flavors, and do well in Asian dishes, including those with miso and soy flavors.

I wish I have discovered this veggie earlier. I haven't tasted it yet, but it reminds me so much of an eggplant variety we used to have in Kano. Hausa people call it garden egg. It was bitter and biting the first time we tasted it but then we discovered that if we watered the plant often the bitterness in the fruit was greatly reduced. I will start looking for jilo in my local supermarket or specialty store and try one of the recipes in this article.

Meanwhile, how many of you have tasted jilo?


Heart of Rachel said...

I don't think I've encountered Jilo before. How interesting!

BTW, I just nominated you ... but I'm still in the process of writing it. :) I'll be posting it within the day.

Yvonne Russell said...

Hi Princess.

Congratulations! We're on the same list for Rachel's Thinking Blogger award. Isn't that great?

I haven't heard of this vegetable. I'm really enjoying your cooking tips and insights.

All the best
Grow Your Writing Business

Raein said...

This is actually the first time I've come across that word: jilo :)

Fran said...

Hi, I'm in Minas Gerais (Belo Horizonte) studying Afro-Brazilian links. My husband is Ghanaian, and last week I bought some jilo. I just started to cook it and discovered: wow, it's an unripe garden egg! One more connection.For more, you might check out my Betumi blog: