Chokos are in season (late autumn) in Auckland!

Chokos are in season (late autumn) in Auckland!

20160521_100028The small ones are the ones we eat [like those lower left in the photo].

Steam a few minutes for the tiny ones whole or sliced medium-sized ones. Sweet and delicious.
Large chokos develop a tough skin and are flavorless compared with the tiny ones. We spice large ones to make them worth eating. They are kept in a cold place until we have no more small ones on the plant. Then we use the large ones [unless we’ve given them away].

Large chokos are usually the ochoko vine over cherry guava treenes available in shops. If you see small ones, choose them for flavor.
Chokos grow on a rampant vine. Our’s covers the back fence and a tree. It will die back as cold winter weather and frosts arrive.

The roots remain in the ground to re-sprout next spring. Covering the roots with mulch for protection in winter helps this short-lived perennial plant last longer.

20160521_103710

The choko seed will sprout from the large end into a whole new plant. It first grows a new shoot and begins to grow small rootlets.

20160522_171032It can be now planted into a garden bed in a frost free zone, or into a pot, large end down, of good potting mix [or at least the growing rootlets covered with soil for protection]. Plant out into garden on a trellis or other support after all frosts and freezing weather has past in spring.20160522_171117

Recipes for delightful chokos:

[1] For small chokos, about thumb-length

20160523_112230
tiny chokos gently cook in little water for few minutes

Place in saucepan or steamer with a small amount of water.
Simmer gently until cooked [a knife pierces the flesh easily, like going through butter]
Drain
If you like, add a small amount of cracked black pepper, and/or salt, and or butter [not oil].
Or do as we do and enjoy their fresh, buttery flavor ‘as is’.

 

[2] For large chokos, about hand-sized – spiced and diced 

20160523_112454
spice mix for cooking large chokos

Peel, remove the large central seed and dice into cubes, about 1 cm [1/2 inch] size; or slice as you prefer.
In a heavy-based saucepan create a spice mix to flavor chokos however you like it.
Our spice mix is often:
1 teas cumin [ground]
1 teas coriander [ground]
1 teas turmeric [ground]
1 tiny pinch asafoetida/hing [optional]
salt and cracked black pepper as you prefer
add chilli if you like it hot

 

Gently heat 1 tblspn oil [olive is what we use] in the pan and add the dry spices. Gently cook for 1 minute.

chokos and tromboncino squash in spice mix
chokos and tromboncino squash in spice mix

Add choko pieces.
We usually add other vegetables with the choko – beans, marrow, whatever is available to make a mixed vegetable dish which forms the basis of a vegetarian meal.
Stir all veg to coat with spices.
Cover pan and cook over a very low heat until soft. Stir frequently.

 

Serve and enjoy.

[2] For large chokos, about hand-sized – baked in cheese sauce

choko and cauliflower bake in cheese sauce
choko and cauliflower bake in cheese sauce

Dice chokos and cut other vegetables similar sizes.
Steam until just cooked.

Make a white sauce [eg melt 1 tblspn butter in a saucepan; add1 tblspn flour; mix well; cook gently 1 minute; add 1/2 cup milk and whisk constantly over heat until thickens and bubbles]
Transfer veg into an oven dish and pour white sauce over.
Grate cheese over the top.
Place in oven at 200C until hot and the cheese melts and browns.

Enjoy!

[2] For large chokos, about hand-sized – soup!

20160523_090214

Peel and chop 1 large choko
Slice equal amount of 1 small marrow/tromboncino/other veg

Cook until soft [we use a soup maker which is wonderful]
with 1 teas oil
1/4 teas turmeric
3/4 L strong, flavorful stock [as the veg are pretty bland!]
garlic, chilli, salt and pepper or other spices to taste

Blend. choko and tromboncino marrow soup

Serve with your preferred garnish [this one has chopped parsley, rocket, milk thistle and Herb Robert], home-made bread, a legume dish [our preferred is peanut butter on the bread!] and a salad.

Enjoy!

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2 thoughts on “Chokos are in season (late autumn) in Auckland!

  1. I’ve never seen small chokos. They’re so cute! When you say they have more flavour, now I’m trying to imagine the flavour of chokos but not really sure. Do you think they taste somewhere between a cucumber and a courgette? I peel the large ones with a vegetable peeler, cute into cubes and stir fry with a some sliced garlic and a splash of soy sauce towards the end.

    1. Small ones taste sweet and buttery – without any additions! A special treat, and only available at the right season. I think you have to grow your own as I’ve not seen any in shops.
      I too peel large ones and stir fry or curry them.

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