Chow-chow Poriyal | Chayote stir-fry


Growing up, I remember seeing baskets full of Chayote with most vegetable vendors in Bangalore. For us, it belonged to a section of vegetables that were alien to the Punjabi kitchen and they never featured in any of our dishes. Curiosity has caught up over the years and I now try to learn more about different vegetables I come across and incorporate them into my cooking. Sometime last year, my Ayurveda specialist recommend I introduce more vegetables from the Gourd family in my diet as they are cooling in nature for our bodies. A little research on internet threw Luffa, Bottle Gourd and Chayote as the most common ones and Chayote was the only one I had never cooked with but had seen them in plenty here in Singapore as well.

Poriyal as they call it in Tamil Nadu or a vegetable stir-fry to simply put it is a regular side in our meals. I usually make it with beans, carrots or beetroot and found recipes with Chayote as well. Chayote or chow-chow as it is called in South India is a low calorie, slightly sweet fruit and enjoyed best with light flavours that don’t overpower the taste of the fruit. I usually serve it with sambar and steamed rice.

Ingredients – For 2
Chayote: 1 medium sized, chopped into 1 cm cubes
Cooking oil: 1 tsp (I used coconut oil)
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Urad dal (dehusked split black gram): 1 tsp
Curry leaves: about 10-12 leaves
Green chilli: 1 small (less or more per your liking)
Ginger: about ½ inch finely chopped (optional)
Freshly grated coconut: 2 tbsp
Salt: per your taste

1. In a pan, add oil and let it heat. Add curry leaves, mustard seeds, urad dal. Let it cook for about a minute until mustard seeds pop and urad dal is slightly browned.
2. Add chopped green chilli, ginger and chayote. Cover with lid and let it cook for about 5-6 minutes.
3. Add grated coconut and salt and let it cook for another minute.
4. Turn off heat, leave the lid on for 5 minutes. Serve.

– You can either leave the skin on or peel the Chayote, younger ones with soft skin don’t require peeling. If you are peeling it, the skin leaves a little slime once peeled which can cause a little skin irritation. Wear gloves or peel under running water.
– Some varieties have thorns on the skin, ensure these are scrapped off if you don’t intend to peel it.
– The seed of the fruit is edible, there is no need to discard it.
– I like my Poriyal crunchy and cook it for a shorter time, feel free to increase your cooking time if you would like it to be softer.
– I add salt at the end of the cooking process as it retains a more vibrant colour.

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