Choko

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A few weeks ago Don happened to mention that he particularly dislikes eating chokoes. Hundreds of Australians rushed to put pen to paper in defence of the humble choko, just as they had for the parsnip. On this week’s program Don tested some choko recipes sent in by viewers. Rosemary Stanton and Geoff Jansz also had some tips on making chokoes palatable.

The choko (Sechium edule) is a vigorous, perennial vine which is easy to grow in mild, frost-free climates. It can be propagated from a single sprouting fruit in late winter and spring. Plants will bear fruit in autumn and winter, when other fresh vegies are scarce. If you don’t have room for a vine, chokoes can be bought cheaply at the fruit market. Chokoes contain fibre, vitamin C, they’re low in fat and they can even taste good!

Stir-fried chokoes

Rosemary Stanton says that the secret to tasty chokoes is to choose small, dark green ones (which have the most flavour) and don’t ever boil them. Instead, she suggests that you peel them, remove the seed, slice them and then stir-fry them, as follows:
Stir-fry in olive oil with garlic and chopped parsley, then add a splash of balsamic vinegar at the last minute. Serve with meat, fish or chicken. Stir-fry in sesame oil with garlic, ginger, chilli, chicken and any other vegetables you like. Add a dash of lime juice and some salt-reduced soy sauce.

Choko relish

This recipe was sent in by Mrs Elizabeth Neil, from Tamworth. Geoff Jansz prepared Elizabeth’s choko relish for our segment.

Ingredients

  • 2 kilos chokoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • 750g white sugar
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • 2 large white onions, finely diced
  • 400g dates, pitted and chopped
  • 250g glaccé ginger, chopped
  • 650ml white vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients into a large saucepan.
    (Note: Don’t use a reactive saucepan such as aluminium, or the flavours will spoil.)
  2. Turn on the heat and cook gently for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent the relish sticking.
  3. Bottle in sterilised jars.
  4. Serve with your favourite meat. Geoff Jansz likes his choko chutney with grilled sausages or roast beef sandwiches.
Choko soup with Rowena Petrie

Thanks to Roy, Kay and Rowena Petrie for their family soup recipes, prepared for us by Rowena.
Kay’s curried choko soup

Rowena’s tip: peel chokoes under running water to stop the slime sticking to your hands.
Roy’s Greek choko soup

Ingredients
  • 3 chokoes, sliced
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 rashers bacon, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • 1 can peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 chicken stock cubes
  • basil
  • oregano
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
 Method
  1. In a large pot boil sliced chokoes in 1 litre of water.
  2. While the chokoes are cooking, heat some olive oil in a large pan and add the diced onion, chopped bacon and garlic. Fry until the bacon is cooked and put to one side.
  3. When the chokoes are tender, retain cooking water and chokoes in pot and add the cooked onion, bacon and garlic along with the remainder of the ingredients. Simmer for a further 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and mash or blend the chokoes to a thick puree.
  4. Serve garnished with chopped olives, parmesan cheese and ground pepper and salt to taste.