November was designated as #SquashLove month, a time to celebrate the various and sometimes oddly shaped bright orange, yellow, golden and many-shades-of-green gourds and squash that decorate open fields. With names like Butternut, Acorn, Autumn Cup, or Sweet Dumpling it’s hard not to love winter squash. Squash fall into two classifications summer and winter squash though many are available year-round.
While I could have chosen a traditional winter squash dish to whip up, such as Butternut Bisque or Butternut Risotto, or even a simple pumpkin medley roasted in the oven, I decided to share a special recipe for #SquashLove being that this dish was prepared for me with love in November by a dear friend. In celebration of food and friends, here’s a bite of Chayote Squash Subzi.
Chayote Squash Subzi
If you haven’t had chayote squash before, you’re not alone. This pale green squash rests rather inconspicuously in produce baskets and likely you may, as I have, walked right by it many times. It’s considered a summer squash though abundant in the Fall. Native to Mexico, chayote is common in different parts of the world such as Central America the Caribbean and India were it’s referred to as cho cho or chocho. This recipe is from the Andhra Pradesh area of India.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
4 chayote squash, peeled and cubed
2-4 red chilies (more or less based on the level of heat you want to achieve)
1/2 cup crushed peanuts
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tomato, cubed (optional)
1/2 tsp urad dal (lentils)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ginger, peeled and grated
1/4 tsp asafoetida
4-5 curry leaves
Salt to taste
Heat 1/2 tsp of oil on medium in a pan (you can use canola or peanut oil). Once the pan is hot, add mustard seeds, urad dal and red chillies. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the garlic, ginger, asafoetida and turmeric along with the curry leaves. Add the cubed squash and season with salt. Stir the ingredients in the pan together until the squash is covered with the seasoning mix. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the squash is soft and tender. Different variations of the recipe call for tomatoes which can be added to the simmering squash. Some recipes call for an onion (which would be added right after the mustard seeds pop). Cook for roughly 10-15 minutes.
Before serving, add the crushed peanuts. Garnish with cilantro if you wish, and be sure to serve warm. Best enjoyed with a side of cooked basmati rice.
I hope you enjoy Chayote Squash Subzi, and better yet, enjoy it as I do, with a friend.
Find more details about chayote squash on Gourmet Sleuth.
Find “subzi” and more Hindi terms found in Indian cuisine in a wonderful glossary by Mamta’s Kitchen.