Last week was the first cooking club meeting of the new year. Following tradition, we began with an activity. Marg was hosting so she led us on a short 5K hike on the Trans-Canada Trail near Lake Cowichan. It was a perfect day for it. We had recently had snow but it had melted and the only thing that threatened us that day was rain. In the end it held off, though, so we had a lovely walk through the trail and then back along the river.
Then home to cook….
We decided to start the new year by each investigating and using an ingredient we had never cooked with before. We also shared the information we learned about the ingredient. I have to say it was one of our most successful days- all the recipes turned out great and it was really interesting to find out about something new and add it to our repertoire. Today’s post will cover my recipe, which was made with chayote squash (aka: labu siam).
Chayote squash is a small pear-shaped squash that is very tender throughout. It can be eaten raw or cooked, and has a very mild flavour. It has one seed in the centre, which can also be eaten. Because of all this, it is the easiest, least fussy squash I have ever used. The only odd thing that I found was that it was a little slimy when first cut- the juice was a little like aloe vera. However, that disappeared when it was added to the recipe.
Chayote is originally from Mexico or Central America and is now mainly exported from Brazil. It is a good source of niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, magnesium and potassium, and an excellent source of dietary fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, zinc, copper, and manganese. Since it has so little of its own flavour, I found it was excellent for picking up the flavour of the other ingredients in the recipe. It is an ingredient that I definitely plan to use more often.
The recipe I used was modified slightly from one made by Hungry Kya. I knew that Marg was making a curry for her recipe, so I thought my recipe would be a good side dish accompaniment to that. It did go very well with the curry, and it was nice both heated and cold. I could picture it being quite delicious added to a salad, too.
Chayote Squash Sidekick
1 cup cubed chayote squash
1 large onion, cubed
2-3 green chillies or other hot peppers (I used jalapenos)
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
2-3 Tbsp grated coconut
1-2 Tbsp fresh or ground coriander
Salt to taste
2-3 tsp oil
– Heat oil in a pan,
– Add mustard seeds and heat until they begin to pop.
– Add onion, peppers, curry powder and fry till onion is translucent.
– Add the chayote squash and salt and 2-3 Tbsp of water.
– Cover and cook till soft (add little more water if required).
– Add grated coconut and coriander and mix well.