Choko

Choko

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From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

This pale green, pear-shaped vegetable is related to the gourd family and originally came from Mexico, where it is still considered a great delicacy. In Mexico it is known as chayote.

When you buy chokos, look for young, tender ones, with a pale green, almost translucent, skin. The spikes on the skin should be short and soft. Older chokos have a lighter coloured, opaque skin, and the spikes are quite brittle. Often, towards the end of the season, you may notice the seed protruding from the bottom of the choko, another indication that the choko is likely to be old and possibly tough.

Basic preparation: Cut choko into quarters along the natural grooves, peel and remove the centre core. It is best to do this under cold running water, as the choko exudes a sticky liquid which stains the hands. Very young chokos need not be peeled, just halved – the skin is quite tender.

To cook: Drop choko quarters into boiling salted water and simmer for 5–8 minutes until just tender. Drain them, toss in butter and chopped fresh herbs. Chokos with Ham: Drain cooked chokos, cut in dice or in wedge shapes. Return to heat. Season with salt and pepper, stir in 60 ml cream, 80 g diced ham and 1–2 tablespoons chopped parsley. Heat through over gentle heat.

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