Good Question: How Do I Cook Chayote Squash?

Here's a good question from Sirisha, who is wondering how to cook chayote. She has one method of cooking it, but would like some more. Can you help her?

I have a question about chayote squash. I see them a lot in the market. So, I was wondering what can be made out of this vegetable?

Here's how Sirisha cooks chayote:

2 chayote squash, peeled and cubed.
1 small onion roughly cut into wedges
1/2 jalapeno
1/4 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
S&P per taste.
Heat some EVOO in a pan, add cumin seeds, let splutter and add onions, cook until translucent, then add ginger garlic paste and jalapenos, swirl around, add the squash, salt and pepper and a little water to get it going. Let cook until squash is tender but not soggy. Add lemon juice in the end when transferred to serving dish and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with tortillas or bread. Is there any other recipe for this vegetable, coz I loved how it tasted.

I have never tried chayote, and this is really a shame, because I used to live in Florida where it was easily available all the time at the markets. It's a pale green little squash, not much bigger than your hand, and it's usually smooth-skinned with large folds and puckers that look like a mouth pursed up. It's from the same family as most gourds and squash, as well as cucumbers.

I am familiar with the chayote primarily through Latin American cooking, but it's eaten all over the world. In Asia it may be called Buddha hand melon or squash, and in southern Asia sometimes it's called gurkha.

It's used in curries, like Sirisha's quick one above. It's also eaten raw in salads, boiled, mashed, and fried. It excretes a sticky residue when it's peeled, so recipes sometimes call for gloves.

How do you cook chayote? Do you have a favorite recipe? Here's the recipe for the bright, pretty salad pictured above:

Mirliton Relish

(Images: Flickr member debaird™ licensed for use under Creative Commons; Mark Thomas for Bon Appétit)

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