Monday, May 30, 2011

What the hell are chokos?

Choko facts

is an edible plant that belongs to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae along with melons, cucumbers and squash.
In Australia, a persistent rumour has existed that McDonald's Apple Pies were made of chokos, not apples.

Ingrid's dish
My neighbour and friend Johanna who also happens to be another food blogger gave us our next challenge, by offloading what felt like a trailer load of chokos at my door. She was glad to get rid, and said as she ran off, Good Luck!

I left these so long, they started sprouting!

I have to admit, I had no idea what the hell they were, and they sat in the fruit bowl for about 3 weeks until Johanna asked me if I had turned them into anything exciting yet. I felt guilt, I hate wasting food, especially as it was a gift (kinda...) So I did a bit of research and worked out they were more a filler food, not very tasty or flavoursome on their own but make great pickles, relishes, can be added to bulk out a stew, or can be stuffed. I couldn't get my head around them being added to sweet stuff, so I didn't even go down that track.

I've started on a bit of a soup phase, so I decided stew/ soup , its all kind of the same, and went about peeling and cutting my chokos in prep for a Curried Bacon and Choko soup.
Now I have to admit, peeling the damn things drove me nuts, I ended up using a small sharp knife and peeled them under the cold tap as they are so slimy and tough, but Vanessa had already finished her relish and said it was worth it in the end, so I kept trucking on.

Curried bacon and choko soup
Makes large pot - enough for 6/8

What you need
2 onions
25g butter
6 rashers of bacon (chopped)
6 chokos - peeled/ remove hard core/ cubed
3 chicken stock cubes dissolved in 3 cups of boiled water (or 3 cups of home-made or store bought stock)
2 tsp curry powder
salt/ pepper to taste

How to make
In a large pot, melt butter and saute onions and bacon for 5 mins. Add chopped chokos, and saute for a further 5mins. Add stock and curry powder. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 mins. Mash roughly with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper. Add chopped parsley. Serve with yoghurt (optional).

Vanessa's Dish

You would have thought being interested in food and living in New Zealand it would have been much sooner that the Opera sisters discovered chokos. Alas it was only through our blog and a mammoth seasonal photo shoot of fruit and vegetables that we really decided to conquer the choko. I am pretty adventurous when it comes to food, put it this way I will give everything ago once, but the choko has never inspired me. I didn't even know what it looked like on the inside or what you could actually do with them! 

I remembered seeing choko chutney at school fairs and charity shop stalls. Its usually handmade by experiences Nana's and sounded like a plan for the food fight. 

What a success, its more mellow than just straight tomatoes, cheaper especially if they have fallen off the neighbours tree and a great neutral base to add spice or heat. 

 two ugly sisters or cheeky chokos ?

What you need
2 chokos peeled and diced
1 apple peeled and diced
2 tomatoes diced
1 onion diced
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1 1/4 ups of vinegar   
1 or 2 chopped chillies

How to make 
Mix all ingredients in a saucepan on low until the sugar has dissolved.
When the sugar has dissolved, bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer for about 11/2 - 2 hours until the mixture has reduced and thickened up.
Pour in to sterilized containers if preserving or a cute chutney jar with a lid if eating soon. 
When cool if eating soon, refrigerate or else store away for treats later. 
It is said that things like this get better with age, mine didn't last very long to find out! 

Choko chutney - amazing with a stinky blue

Vanessa X



  1. I made the Choko Chutney today and it is so good, of course I have tried it already eating it straight from the pot on to the stinky blue cheese as recommended. I will try the soup next.

  2. Fantastic - glad to here...
    I think its time I made it again.
    Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  3. Oh dear meant to say "Glad to hear"!