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Choks away!

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chokosEarlier this year we took a look at chokos, a type of gourd that’s caught the imaginations of gardeners and cooks alike.

An American treat, chokos are versatile in savoury and sweet dishes, as Garden-NZ reader, Chris Goyen, explains:

Chokos were used by the Aztecs and Mayans long before European settlement. Native to Mexico, Central America and West Indies this vegetable is  now grown in most tropical regions of the world (it grows well in Whangarei). Most people in New Zealand and Australia remember it served up as a slimy mess covered with cheese, which is sad because this is a versatile vegetable, which comes under various names.

My son, who is a chef, asked me to produce/test several recipes for this much maligned vegetable/fruit. My grandmother gifted me several savoury recipes for pickles and side dishes, and I have researched this plant so I was able to supply my son with a variety of ideas for his menu. Of course, clean, young leaves (which taste like spinach) and tender young shoots (which taste like asparagus – with a wee stretch of the imagination) can be used just steamed.
 
I tested my son’s savoury recipes, but he also used chokos as a sweet; when cooked with cinnamon and cloves they make an economical substitute for apple puree – although the texture is quite gluey – that can be cut with squeeze of lemon/orange juice. 

Poached chokos

You will need:

1 large egg
¼ cup raw or dark brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ cup of lightly toasted almonds or Hazelnuts
¼ cup of raisins
1 tbsp of cornflour
Pinch of safron
White wine/liqueur

To prepare:

Peal and poach chokos gently in white wine or liqueur, adding a small quill of cinnamon with a pinch of saffron for colour added at the end.

Leave to cool slightly then remove fruit.  Cut chokos in half, making a small indentation in the centre of each with a sharp teaspoon.

Mix egg, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, nuts, raisins and cornflour and spoon over the chokos. Bake on oven tray 180 degrees for 40 minutes or until topping has set.  

Serve with marscapone or whipped cream (or sour cream) and… enjoy!

Please try this recipe and send us your feedback, or your recipes to share with our readers, by emailing us at: info@garden-nz.co.nz.

Click here for more information on chokos, or here for another top notch choko recipe.