edited by Sue Courtney
e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The vine is out of control. While this is the traditional time of the year to harvest the choko this vine's been producing almost the whole year around. It is so prolific; it has taken over the shed and the water tank.
Perhaps it is because the vine is planted near the graveyard, where the lambs that didn't make it and the old hens are buried. Perhaps it is because the vine was planted facing east-north-east, plenty of morning sun and protected from the southerly and westerly winds that prevail. Or perhaps it is because we've had such mild winters in Auckland. Who knows? But now I've an abundance of fruit. Fortunately I love chokos, otherwise we never would have persevered with growing the vine, which seems hard to tame in this, the 'third-time-lucky', site.
Choko has a variety of names, depending on the country you're from. Firing a question to other food-lovers, it seems the most common name in the US is Chayote although someone also mentioned Mirliton. Like us here in New Zealand, the Aussies call them chokos, but a search on the web came us with many, many alternatives, which I've listed as an appendix at the bottom of this page.
It seems many people have an aversion to choko. I offer them to my friends and get response like 'Yuk, I don't know how you eat them'. I think this is reaction is evoked by memories of childhood when all our vegetables, not just chokos, were boiled to death in water until all the taste was knocked out of them. But the secret with choko is not to overcook. A little cooking heightens the colour to a bright pale green, too much cooking turns the colour a dull beige.
Choose freshly harvested chokos if you can, although they keep quite well. The skin should be bright and the fruit should not be sprouting.
Chokos are very versatile, they can be eaten raw, boiled, fried, baked or stewed. You can simply grate into salads, or cook. Here are some of my favourite recipes.
Chokos in a White Sauce
White Sauce. I tend to make my white sauce in the microwave as it is harder to burn.
Microwave butter in a microwave safe jug until melted (20 to 30 seconds). Remove. Add flour to melted butter, stir vigorously until well combined. Add some of the milk and stir well to integrate. Then add the rest of the milk. Replace into microwave and cook for a minute on high. Remove and stir well. Return to microwave and cook on high for two minutes. Remove. Crack in some black pepper. Stir vigorously again. Cook for another to minutes. Remove and stir well again and sauce should be thickened to perfection.
To the cooked sauce, add the cooked, drained chokos. Stir so all the choko is covered with the sauce. Stir in chopped fresh sweet herbs, parsley or whatever you fancy. Serve as a vegetable accompaniment.
Creamy Herbed Chokos
Melt butter and saute onions and bacon until onions are golden. Add cubed chokos and saute for 2-3 minutes more. Transfer to a casserole dish sprinkle with herbs and top with cream. Cover and cook in a 180°C oven for about 25 minutes or until choko are soft but still bright in colour. Serve as a vegetable accompaniment to a main dish.
Easy Baked Chokos
Baked Chokos 2
to stuff two chokos you will need -
Finely chop the onion. Chop the spaghetti into about 2cm lengths.
Halve chokos, scoop out the nut and enough flesh to make a cavity to hold your stuffing. You may want to cut a small piece of the underside of the choko so they sit nicely in the baking dish and on the plate.Fill the choko cavities - about 1/4 cup of the mixture in each cavity.
Bake in a moderate oven until vegetable is cooked.
Serve on its own as an entrée, or as a vegetable accompaniment to a main dish.
Chop onion and bacon roughly.
While soup is cooking prepare the remaining half of the choko and the carrot to make Sauteed Choko and Carrot (see below).
Reheat soup - do not boil. Spoon into serving bowls. Garnish with a tablespoon of fresh cream and the remainder of the grated carrot and choko.
Sauteed Choko and Carrot.
Choko Stuffing or Dumplings
Place slices of bread and washed and towel dried herbs into the blender. Blend until the bread is crumbed and the herbs are chopped very fine. Remove into a bowl. Add the sauteed choko and carrot, salt and paper and the egg. Mix well. This mixture sticks together very well. Either form into balls to cook as dumplings, or stuff into a chicken for roasting.
Choko and Pork Roll-ups
Beat schnitzel until thin.
2 chokos, peeled and chopped into cubes
Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onion, cook until golden then add the tomatoes, seasonings, herbs and water and cook for about 5 minutes more. Add the chopped chokos and cook slowly for about 30 minutes.
I have many eggs at the moment, thanks to my free range chickens, so one-day I'll attempt a choko souffle.
Choko can also be preserved into pickles or relish. For any recipe that uses marrow or squash, choko can be substituted. I've more recipes to try and more ideas to experiment, so as I try something new I'll add it to this page.
© Sue Courtney.
Appendix - Alternative names for Choko
Here's a resource page for Choko, with information on nutritional value amongst other things. www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/1492/chayote.html.
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