Chokos – versatile as a fruit AND a vegetable

ABC NSW radio 1233 with Carol Duncan on 15 June 2009

CHOKOS

What do you do with chokos? Lots and lots of things!

Their rather bland flavour and pale green colour makes chokos ideal to use for both savoury and sweet dishes. Peel under water to stop the sap sticking to your fingers, cut into wedges or pieces and boil, microwave, steam or bake until tender. Toss with a little butter or olive oil, cracked black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice to serve as an easy side dish.

Alternatively, use the faithful choko as a fruit!

On last week’s chat with Carol, a caller rang in asking if it was true chokos spiked and cooked with whole cloves would end up tasting like real pears. I did a google search to see if anything showed up, maybe an old favourite recipe out there in cyberspace, but nothing with whole cloves. My search eventually landed me on a chook breeders/enthusiasts forum – it seems cooked chokos are a favourite with chooks! One of the chook breeders mentioned a favourite recipe his mum made when they had heaps of chokos growing over the back shed or fence. So I gave it a try, one with the cloves, one without. Although both seemed to work well the whole cloves were too strong, so this is a modified recipe you might like to try.

Choko ‘Pears’

Serves 4

2 cups (500ml) water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1  1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1  1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence

2 medium chokos, peeled and cut in 8 wedges

Method

Heat water, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Add choko wedges and simmer for 30 minutes or until chokos are tender when tested with a skewer.  Leave to cool in the syrup or serve warm with custard, yoghurt or icecream.

Notes:  The vanilla and lemon remove any vegetable taste but cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves (but used sparingly or it is too overpowering) could also be added. Chokos could also be cooked in red wine or port for a different flavour and added colour. Cooked chokos could also be used in cakes, pies or crumbles.

Here’s a bried step-by-step guide to precooking diced choko and apple for easy, mini size strudels.

Diced choko and apple simmering in pomegranate juice

Diced choko and apple simmering in pomegranate juice

Peel and dice choko. Dice apple, leaving the skin on.                                                      

Simmer in pomegranate juice or red wine, with enough sugar to preferred taste, cinnamon.

Simmer until chokos are tender, tested with a skewer or fork.


Fruit darkens after simmering in pomegranate juice or red wine

Fruit darkens after simmering in pomegranate juice or red wine



Choko and apple strudel wrapped in shortcrust pastry with walnuts

Choko and apple strudel wrapped in shortcrust pastry with walnuts

Choko and apple strudel, cut

Choko and apple strudel, cut

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