Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 4, 2010: Stir-fried choko

My raspberry-coconut icecream earned me a novelty prize at the annual lab culinary competition - a choko and a taro root.  I could barely even recognise these vegetables (thanks to twitter for the help!) so I had little idea how best to cook them.  Of course the reliable ol' internet had some helpful suggestions.

Even many folks who can't spot a choko recalled the Aussie urban myth that McDonald's apple pies are filled more with choko than with apples.  I wasn't inclined to test its palatability as a dessert and instead took some tips from The Simple Green Frugal Co-op and stir-fried my choko, adding a little soy sauce, parsley and lime juice when it was cooked through.  (We ate it as a side to just-add-water falafel and the eat-anywhere quinoa salad.)

The choko's texture reminded me very much of cucumber; firm yet full of water.  It didn't taste of much at all.  I'd be unlikely to cook it on its ownsome again but I can imagine choko making a great addition to a meal-sized stir-fry with a variety of crunchy veges, holding up to the heat far better than zucchini. 

Unfamiliar green veges can be a little threatening but the choko is actually as mild-mannered as they come.


  1. i always wonder - are these the things that grow all over back fences in melbourne? what do they look like when they're cut open?

  2. The only way I've ever had choko is as part of a stirfry - as you say, it doesn't have much flavour on its own!

    That McDonalds thing would be an urban myth, surely? Like the time there was a rumour that ther chicken nuggets were, in fact, rabbit?!

  3. As nixwilliams said, chokos to me seem to be what grew over every back fence in Melbourne once upon a time, behind the dunny. My dad remembers them being made into preserves.

    I just read a lovely article in Saveur about a stirfried loofah dish - perhaps similar to choko?

    What did you do with the taro?

  4. hi cindy,
    to me, chokos actually a very familiar vegie, reminds me of home. I don't cook them a lot, in fact, only once as I recalled. :) they're too slimy to handle, I don't like annoying vegie. Anyway, here's a good recipe for chokos / chayote :


  5. Hi Nixwilliams! Yes, I think they grow really well in Australia and I get the impression that folks in my grandparents' generation knew how to make good use of them. There's a nice cross-sectional picture of a choko on its wikipedia page; it looks kinda like an apple or pear but has a single large white seed.

    Hannah, it's almost certainly a total myth. :-)

    Hi Lauren! Yes, I've heard of people making choko chutney. Although I tossed around a few SE Asian desserts, I did something simple with the taro, it'll turn up on the blog very soon. :-)

    Amanda, thanks for sharing that recipe! I've never cooked with jackfruit before, though I've seen a number of interesting recipes that use it.

  6. a choko sounds like a challenge to me but must remember the stirfry option in I ever happen to have one in my kitchen - I wonder how it would go baked in a gratin with some other veg???

  7. That could work too, Johanna. Since I just did a quick stir-fry and wanted to keep the crunch, I still don't have a sense of how much cooking choko needs to become soft and tender for a gratin or similar.

  8. Baked choko is a favorite of mine, even as a meat eater, nothing beats a good choko!

    always good with a little butter and pepper!