View Full Version : Tomatillos

06-20-2008, 09:18 AM
Vastly underused vegetable in cooking. Most people have eaten them without realizing it, as they are a major ingredient in Mexican salsa. But they work fabulously in stir-fries, with seafood, and other sauteed dishes. They're relatively cheap and widely available these days.

When you buy them, try to get the largest, firmest ones you can find. Unlike some veggies, but like Godzilla, in my experience size matters. Since they are enclosed in this papery husk, be sure to feel them to make certain they are not soft. After peeling off the husk, a quick rinse in cold water will remove the sticky coating of the outer rind. Then just quarter them up, and notch out the tough stem connection area at the top. In cooking, add them to dishes relatively late, as they cook quickly and can get mushy. They are an excellent substitute for regular tomatoes (to which they are closely related), being a bit more tangy, and green-yellow instead of red. I'm going to make some spaghetti sauce with tomatillos instead of tomatoes, just for fun, sometime.

Unfortunately, they are an even longer-season vegetable than tomatoes are, and I can't grow them where I live (I've tried). But if you live in the southern U.S. they should be an excellent choice for a garden and will work well in a big pot.


06-20-2008, 10:43 AM
Thanks, blackbird, I'll look out for them. Do they need that smidgin of sugar, like tomatoes, to bring out the full flavour in cooking?

Talking of growing things, it's almost winter here and I've forgotten to plant snow peas. I usually plant them at the beginning of autumn because our cold season is so short it is gone if the seeds aren't planted early.

L M Ashton
06-20-2008, 11:49 AM
blacbird, you might just be tempting me to see if I can get some seeds...

06-20-2008, 08:16 PM
I'd think most people would know if they've had salsa verde before--it's very green. That said, I generally prefer it to the salsa roja most people are accustomed to eating. To me, tomatillos are much more palatable than tomatoes.

(On a side note, it amuses me that I use -s for pluralizing tomatillo and -es for pluralizing tomato.)

06-20-2008, 08:18 PM
Mmm, tomatillos are one of the things I love about Mexico.

06-20-2008, 10:37 PM
blacbird, you might just be tempting me to see if I can get some seeds...

They should grow fabulously well in Sri Lanka, where I'd guess you could grow them year-round. They get to be a pretty big plant, but would work well in a large pot. I don't know how available seeds for them would be in Asia, however. They are native to the Americas, and are a staple of Mexican and other Latin American cookery. But there are abundant seed sources via the Internet, so good luck.

As for sugar, I never use sugar with them (or with tomatoes, for that matter). Tomatillos are more tart than most tomatoes, with a naturally salty tang.


L M Ashton
06-21-2008, 06:03 AM
Oh, I can't get seeds here. If I want seeds, I'm pretty much going to have to order from North America. :)

Yep, our growing season is non-stop - plant whenever you want cuz it don't matter. For the most part - in the hill country, it's a bit different as it actually gets colder there. That's where potatoes and rhubarb are grown, as well as tea. I think. :)

06-21-2008, 06:38 AM
I use them in place of Thai eggplant in Thai curries when I can't get up to Los Angeles to buy the real thing. Although completely different in flavor and texture, they do add a nice tangy bite that goes well with the heat from the chili paste and Bird's Eye chilies in the curry sauce.

06-21-2008, 10:47 AM
I stuff them with a cream cheese, shrimp & chili pepper filling then bake them in the oven. YUMMM!

06-21-2008, 03:27 PM
Mmmm... love tomatiilos. Here's a thick tomatillo salsa recipe. You just blend all the ingredients in a food processor. (I serve it on spicy shrimp tacos)

lb tomatillos, chopped
chopped onion
cup sour cream
2 tbs chopped cilantro
2 tbs cider vinegar
1 tbs lime juice
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 avocado
1 serrano chili, seeded and chopped

L M Ashton
06-21-2008, 03:27 PM
threedogpeople, that just sounds fabulous. You rotter. ;)