What are Choyotes?
Chayotes are light green pear shaped fruit common in Mexican cuisine and are found in many warm climates. Chayotes are cultivated as vines and they belong to the gourd family together with cucumber and squash (See picture of Chayote Plant below). It has a mild flavor and crisp texture. It is either eaten raw in salads or cooked.
Chayotes have high water and fibre content and are relatively low in natural sugars. They are also prized for being high in Vit C, potassium and amino acids.
Because of is mild flavor, chayotes are quite versatile and can be cooked or baked in many ways. They can be added to dressings, casseroles, pickled, fried or even stuffed. They are very often used as a substitute to summer squash in many recipes. Here I have used chayotes in an Indian lentil curry. It makes a plain lentil curry healthier and gives a different look and texture to the curry.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1/2 cup split husked mung bean (Moong dal)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 stalks of coriander leaves chopped
1/2 chayote, cut into big cubes
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder
Salt per preference
More coriander leaves for garnishing
Boil the mung beans with the cubed choyote in pressure cooker. After the first whistle reduce fire to the lowest and wait for 3 -4 mins. Then increase fire all the way to max and when the cooker whistles, stop the fire. Alternatively, it shouldn't take more than 10 mins to boil the mung bean in a pot with the choyote.
Take another pot, heat the oil and fry the cumin seeds.
Then add the onions and fry till translucent.
Add in the spice powders and salt and let it cook for 2 mins.
Add in the coriander leaves and pour in the cooked mung bean and choyote.
Let it cook for 2-3 mins and switch the fire off.
Serve with rice, wholemeal flatbreads (Chapathis) and a side vegetable dish.