Comfort Cooking

Covid-19 stay-home recipe: Versatile chayote makes for refreshing salad

ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

At a loss as to what to cook today? Fret not. In this daily series, STFood Online Editor Hedy Khoo features nourishing recipes you can whip up during the circuit breaker period

Have you been cooking at home more often?

As most home cooks know, planning what to cook and preparing the food is only part of the challenge. Washing up and mopping an oily floor after dinner can be tedious, especially if you are working from home.

For a healthier vegetable dish that does not require stir-frying, try Chayote Salad.

It is a colourful dish that can be a welcome change from the usual vegetable stir-fries and lettuce salads.

Chayote, a member of the gourd family, is a light green pear-shaped fruit referred to as Buddha's hand gourd in Chinese and also known as choko.

I find it hardier than leafy green vegetables, as it can last at least a week if properly stored in the vegetable drawer of the fridge.

The chayote has a long history. It originated in Mesoamerica and was cultivated by the Aztecs. After the conquest of Mexico, the chayote spread rapidly - cultivated and eaten in Spain, North America, South-east Asia and China.

But it took a little longer for chayote to reach me. To be exact, it was only three years ago that a friend introduced me to it.

Chayote is a versatile fruit. It can be sliced and stir-fried, boiled in soup or eaten raw. It has a light and crunchy texture, like a cross between jicama and apple.

For the salad dressing, if you do not have coconut oil, omit it or substitute it with more extra virgin olive oil.

Instead of dried chilli flakes, you can use fresh chilli or leave it out for a non-spicy version.

 

For those who have been gorging on good food during this circuit breaker period and are hoping to eat healthier, this refreshing salad might be just the dish for you.

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CHAYOTE SALAD

INGREDIENTS

1 chayote (500g)

1 green mango (250g)

1 carrot (100g)

½ yellow bell pepper (100g)

½ red bell pepper (100g)

1 red onion (100g)

INGREDIENTS FOR THE DRESSING

200g limes

2 garlic cloves, pounded into paste

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

1 Tbs coconut oil

3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs sugar

1 tsp salt

20g coriander, coarsely chopped

METHOD

1. Peel and shred chayote, green mango and carrot.

2. Thinly slice yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper and red onion.

3. Place chayote, green mango, carrot, yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper and onion in a bowl. Set aside.

4. Cut each lime in half. Squeeze juice into a bowl. Remove any seeds and transfer juice to another bowl.

5. Add garlic paste, dried chilli flakes, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, sugar and salt.

6. Whisk briskly until the mixture is amalgamated.

7. Add chopped coriander. Mix gently.

8. Pour salad dressing over the vegetables when ready to serve.

9. Toss and mix well before eating.

Serves six

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 21, 2020, with the headline 'Versatile chayote makes for refreshing salad'. Print Edition | Subscribe