Braised Chicken & Chayote + Butternut Squash & Chayote Salads

dsc04875weblarge-copy.jpgChayote (Sechium edule), also known as: chocho, choko, chouchoute, chuchu, christophine, Madeira marrow, mirliton and vegetable pear, is a member of the cucurbitaceae family.

The pear shaped fruit has light green skin and deep indentation along the blossom end. There is a single soft flat seed in the middle of the fruit.

A tropical perennial vine, the tubers of the plant are eaten like other root vegetables. The shoots and leaves are often used in salads and stir fries.

To Select: Choose firm and unblemished fruit that is heavy for its size. Avoid fruits with soft spots and/or moldy.
To Store: Keep (whole unpeeled) refrigerated.
To Use: Use as you would summer squash (like zucchini). Peeling is optional (I personally prefer to peel). The bland tasting creamy white flesh can be sliced, diced, cubed… Use in stir-fry, soup, stew  …



4 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon ginger wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce (dark, regular or gluten free, I used dark)
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
2 – 3 garlic, minced
½ teaspoon honey or sugar
Combine all the above seasoning, add chicken and mix well. Marinate 1 hour (if time permits). Can be done the day before and kept refrigerated.
2 – 3 chayotes (about 1 pound), peeled, seed removed and cut into 6 – 8 wedges
½ red onion , cut into wedges, lengthwise (pole to pole)
2 – 3 slices ginger from ginger wine
1 – 2 star anise, optional
  ½ – ¾ chicken broth
1 – 2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch combined with 1 tablespoon water

1. Drain marinated chicken.
2. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons oil to preheated Dutch oven or frying pan. Add chicken and brown both sides (skin side down first).
3. Add chayotes, onion, ginger, star anise and broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer until chicken is cooked and chayote is tender, about 35 – 45 minutes.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Thicken with cornstarch mixture. Serve. (I served it with smashed boiled yukon gold potatoes.)

◊ ◊ ◊

dsc04924weblarge-copy.jpgBUTTERNUT SQUASH & CHAYOTE SALAD

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
2 teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
1 – 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
In a small bowl combine all the above and set aside to allow garlic to infuse dressing. If desired, remove and discard garlic before using. This is the dressing.
dsc04917weblarge-copy.jpg 1 pound peeled and cubed (about ¾ inch) butternut squash
1 – 2 chayote (about 8 ounces) peeled and cut into about ¾ inch cubes
½ red onion, cut into about 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

1. Toss butternut squash, chayote, onion, oil, garlic and salt together. Spread, single layer on a sheet pan.
2. Bake at 350°F (convection) for 35 – 45 minutes or until squash and chayote are tender or reached desired doneness. (I like the chayote to still have a crunch so baked for 35 minutes.)
3. Scoop into a mixing bowl, toss with dressing, adjust taste, garnish with sesame seeds. Serve cold or at room temp.

Substitute: Balsamic vinegar for the rice vinegar. Olive oil for the sesame oil.
Add: 1 cup cooked chickpeas sprouts or 1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas.

NOTE: When toasting black sesame seeds, add a few white ones to act as guide. When the white one are toasted so are the black ones.

I used one of the small (weighed about 1½ pounds before peeling) butternut squash from my in-storage supply harvested last year. Click here to see the sizes.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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47 Responses to Braised Chicken & Chayote + Butternut Squash & Chayote Salads

  1. What a lovely meal Norma.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  2. Norma I am so glad you described this vegetable like a zuchinni as that kind of puts it in perspective on what kinds of dishes to use it in. I always look at this vegetable in the market, stare at for a while, ask the nice little lady how to prepare it and she only says soup. I am happy to see it used in many ways and all of your dishes look very vibrant and delicious. Sending some warm Hong Kong breezes your way. Take Care, BAM

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Bam,
      Hope you will now give chayote a try. I am sure you will come up with many delightfully creative dishes. I could really use lots and lots of warm HK breezes.

  3. Eva Taylor says:

    I’ve mentioned this before, I really don’t know this veg at all. It is rather interesting and your presentation is quite lovely, Norma.

  4. I think I’ve cooked with chayote once..I think. Looks a lot like opo squash. I love opo and zucchini so I think I would enjoy this one. I love how you have prepared it.


  5. Annie says:

    Love how you prepare this dish using chayote…one of my favourite veggie, but we can’t get them here! so, I’ve learned to cook watermelon rind, the nearest thing I could come for substitute. But that won’t be available till mid-summer…by then, I couldn’t get any squash 😦 Hmmm…It’s like chasing my own tail 🙂 Thank you for sharing your recipe:)

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Annie,
      Now that chayote is becoming more popular, hopefully it will be in your area soon. Interesting use of watermelon rind. Is kohlrabi available in your area? Perhaps you could try that as a substitute.

  6. Cathy says:

    My mother used to julienne chayotte squash and stir fry it with onions and occasionally shreds of chicken with the typical Vietnamese seasonings : salt, sugar, fish sauce and pepper.She would also cook it as soup , thinly sliced and added at the last moment , so it would not overcook, in a chicken or pork broth with green onions .
    As a child, I disliked the blandness of it, preferring Kohlrabi ( cooked in the same manner), now, I have developed a new appreciation for it.

  7. I love all the flavors you’ve put together here, and though I’ve never tasted chayote, I’m guessing it would be fabulous (from your description) combined with the butternut and sweet/sour/savory elements in a salad. So pretty, too!

  8. Never knew what a chayote was. I always learn something from you! Thank you 🙂

  9. Sophie33 says:

    What 2 amazing & wonderful tasty recipes! Great flavours in here! A must make! 🙂

  10. Karen says:

    We lived in Santo Domingo for half a year and chayote was served so often when dining in restaurants. Your dish brings back nice memories of our stay there. Thank you for the recipe…it sounds terrific.

  11. Thanks for the tips on selection!

  12. ChgoJohn says:

    You siad you’d returned to chayote and this post certainly disappoint. With its 2 recipes, we all now have a better idea of this vegetable and what to do with it. Thanks, Norma, for taking the time to write and post this for us.

  13. Natalie says:

    I have never heard of Chayote until reading this post! I am intrigued, I totally want to try it out.

  14. Eha says:

    What a lovely recipe for chockos! I’ll certainly try it!! Here in Oz chockos are so plentiful that in season growers are literally walking from friend to friend, trying to ‘gift’ them. It is regarded a a rather watery vegetable and people oft make excuses not to accept. But yours truly already has this printed out and I’ll pass it along and should be able to change some minds at least!! Thanks 🙂 !

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eha,
      I paid U.S.79 cents for 1 chayote, and that was a good price. I will try to post some more recipes.

      • Eha says:

        Hmm, that does not sound too bad to me actually. even tho’ everyone is trying to give them away here. Yes, please, do give us some more of your recipes: this was a beauty and I would just love to pass on some others – waste not, want not and all that 🙂 !

  15. hotlyspiced says:

    When I was growing up we had a choko vine running along one of the fences. It used to provide an enormous number of chokos. My mother tried many ways of cooking them but they’re very watery and quite tasteless and we didn’t really like them. I think you have created a great recipe for them – something packed full of flavour xx

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Charlie,
      Yes, chayote does have a high water content. Because it is bland, it absorbs whatever flavor it is introduced to making it an ideal blank canvas.

  16. Norma – I’ve yet to try chayote – I never knew it was like summer squash. They sell them in our local supermarkets and now that I know how to cook with them, I’ll have to give it a try. I see above that you used it in soup before – I was thinking it would be good in spicy Korean soup where zucchini is sometimes used.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Jeanette,
      Yes it would be good in spicy Korean soup, curry and other spicy dishes. I tend to not use much spices in my recipes because many mature adults I work with have asked for milder dishes and those who are into spices know to add to taste (this is probably a wrong assumption on my part will make amends in future recipes).

  17. Saskia (1=2) says:

    These look gorgeous Norma, especially the first recipe. Anything with star anise in it is a winner in my book. Choko is certainly available here, but not commonly used. Keen to give it a try! Personally prefer the name ‘chayote’ – much more exotic.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Saskia,
      Thanks. I know you love “heat”. Because of its blandness, chayote absorbs whatever flavors it is cooked with. Do try it with curry, chilies and other spices.

  18. Lrong says:

    You make it look so versatile… this veggie is also commonly sold in Japan… might try to grow it one day…

  19. mac says:

    The dishes look so delicious, I’m hungry…..
    I grew the squash three years ago, it doesn’t fruit until late Oct or early Nov, it’s too late for our region, I only get to harvest the tips to use as greens………”dragon beard choy”

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mac,
      Thanks. How did you use the tips? What do they taste like? Was it worth the effort to plant just for the tips? Sorry about all the questions.

      • mac says:

        Yes, it’s worth to plant just for the tips, it’s like eating garlic scape without the garlic fragrance.

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Mac,
        Thanks. Going to see if I can find a mature chayote in the market. May be too late for this year but I can always look forward to next year.

  20. Lina says:

    I was wondering if brown spots in a chayote an indication that it is rotten. Can it be eaten?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Lina,
      Brown spots is an indication of spoilage. It could still be edible, peel away the brown spots, if it not too far gone, you may be able to salvage some edible parts. Hope I helped. Thanks for stopping by.

  21. I think I have seen these before, but now I know what they are I can look out for them and have a recipe in mind, thank you!

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