Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Choko Stew

I've talked about chokoes (aka chayotes) before on this blog, and even posted my favourite choko recipe - that is, my favourite winter choko recipe. At the moment, it is far too hot to have the oven on, even briefly.But, chokoes are a veggie that grows locally, lasts in the fridge for aaaages, and is pretty versatile (rumour has it they are actually the main ingredient in McDonald's apple pie filling!). So we grabbed some at the market recently, because even though I can't stuff 'em and bake 'em, I can use them in other ways.

For example, steamed, with sauce.
In this case, with pan fried potatoes, and steamed spinach and green beans, covered in garlicky tahini sauce.

The most exciting part about this cooking method is that sometimes your choko shows you some love.
Love choko

But Andy and I sort of made up this recipe for a Mexican-inspired choko stew. The best thing about this is that it takes only 30 minutes from "Go to Woah", as they say, including polenta-cooking. Take that, Jamie Oliver. Also, it's versatile. I've made it twice, the second time deviating quite far from the recipe, and both times were equally delicious. It can be veggie packed, or if your fridge is a little bare, it can focus on beans or TVP. It's gluten free, and can really easily be soy free. So, essentially, it's a good all-rounder.

So what I'll do is post the recipe as we made it the first time, since, for a change, we actually wrote down most of what we did. Then I'll tell you about my second batch.

Choko Stew
1 red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. minced chilli
1 choko, cut into wedges and then chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 c. TVP crumbles, soaked in 1 c. vegan chicken or veggie stock
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. paprika
1 small fresh tomato, chopped
2 x 400ml tins of tomatoes (diced or whole peeled, just squash them if they're whole)
1 T. dried celery (or use celery seeds, or celery salt)
1/4 c. capsicum (we used pre-frozen)
salt and pepper to taste

Start by heating a pot over medium low heat. Quickly slice up the onion, then start that sauteeing in some oil. While the onion sautees, chop the garlic, chilli, and other veggies. When the onion is quite soft, mix in the garlic and chilli. Stir them around for about a minute, then add the choko and carrot. Stir them around for another minute, then add the remaining ingredients. Let it come up to a boil, then drop it down to a simmer, and cook for about 20 minutes, until the veggies are soft.

While the stew simmers, you can put together a quick polenta.

1 c. vegan chicken stock
1/4 c. soy milk
1 T. olive oil
1/2 c. dry polenta

Bring the stock, milk and oil to just below boiling and then whisk in the polenta. Cook it over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, until nice and thick. It's best to dish it out into bowls straight away, before it sets to the shape of your saucepan.

We served this first batch, on the polenta, with a scoop of Uncheese we had leftover from some other thing, which was yummy. We got four Andy & Theresa-sized serves, which could easily stretch to 6. The polenta was only enough for three, though, so probably double it if you're hungry.
Polenta TVP stew

The next time I made this, which was just 2 days ago, I made the following changes:
  • I used a brown onion, and chopped it instead of slicing
  • I left out the chilli
  • I added a sweet potato, chopped up
  • I used a tin of 4bean mix instead of TVP
  • I used 1 tin of tomatoes, 400ml of vegan chicken stock, and no fresh tomato
  • And I left out the celery and capsicum
See, it's versatile. 
 This would be good with black beans or kidney beans, and served over quinoa or rice instead of polenta. Try it out, and let me know how it goes!


Kari said...

Apple pie filling huh? Now I am really intrigued by this vegetable! I think I'll stick to your serving suggestions though, and bypass the McDonalds approach ;)

Dee said...

chokos are my favorite gado gado veggie, it is really lovely steamed and holds its shape and is a nice texture. I cannot believe I haven't grown it yet, must go to the market and look for a plant.

Hannah said...

Aaaaah I love your creativity with chokoes! You should totes magotes write a choko cookbook :D