Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stir fried Chayote (Chow Chow - Poriyal)

Chayote is known by many names in different parts of the world - christophene or christophine, cho-cho, mirliton or merleton, pear squash, vegetable pear, chouchoute, choko. It is an edible plant belonging to the gourd family. It has a mildly sweet taste and can be eaten raw in a salad or cooked. When I first came to the US I could find them only in ethnic grocery stores, but now seven years later, the main stream grocery stores carry them as well.

This method of cooking chayote is characteristic of Southern Indian cuisine, where the vegetables are lightly spiced with mustard seeds and urad dal (little white lentils, which turn brown when sauteed). I use a mandoline with a julienne attachment to cut the chayote into thin strips. This helps to cook the chayote without overcooking it.

Stir fried Chayote - Chow Chow Poriyal

Raw chayote

2 chayote
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoons urad dal
1/8 teaspoon asafetida (optional)
1 dry red chili (optional)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
  1. Peel the chayote and cut them into thin strips. It is best to use a mandoline to get them thin and even. 
  2. Heat a large heavy bottomed non-stick skillet with canola oil. Add the mustard seeds and urad dal and cook over medium heat for 30 seconds till the dal turns light brown and the mustard seeds pop. Add the dry red chili and the asafetida and cook for 20 seconds. 
  3. Add the chopped chayote and salt and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes till the chayote wilts but still retains its texture.
  4. Serve with steamed white rice and a lentil soup.
Serves 3 - 4 as part of a shared meal

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