Both jilů and maxixe (see above) can be cooked the way you would prepare a zucchini. A lot of people will find jilů way too bitter for their taste buds..."amarga que nem jilů" (as bitter as jilů) is a common expression used to signify that life isn't very palatable, at least at the moment...I know of one person who can make it quite edible: dona Gertrudes, owner of the popular Bar RebouÁas in the Jardim Bot‚nico section of Rio. Read about them on our Little Black Book. You can cut jiló in thin slices and fried it the same way you would an eggplant (they're in the same family...). The jiló (and a few verses of my daughter's favorite song, Renato Teixeira's "Romaria") made the back cover of "Maria's Cookbook." Do you know why?
Maxixada, or maxixe stewed in a tomato, onion, etc., sauce, is quite popular in Recife. We photographed a maxixada at a restaurant called Chica Pitanga located on Boa Viagem Beach. Elsewhere, you'll have to look for restaurants that specialize in northeastern food. In the U.S., jiló and maxixe are grown by (among others) the University of Massachusetts Ethnic Crops Program and sold to grocers in the state, which has a large population of Brazilian immigrants.
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