Home > Cooking > Cook, Pop, Cook: Chayote Squash

Cook, Pop, Cook: Chayote Squash

When we were expecting our daughter, I was worried about being a good dad. Two years later, she knows what a grill looks like, enjoys barbecue (especially ribs and brisket), can identify bacon, and has eaten an entire chicken thigh in one sitting. The jury’s still out on me being a good father, but it’s clear I’m doing a good job raising a carnivore. But with increased rates of childhood obesity and kids getting what used to be called adult-onset diabetes, I know I need to model good habits for my family, such as eating healthy and exercising. As a result, I’m always on the lookout for new vegetables and recipes to try.

Recently, we had guests over from Thailand and we went to an Asian grocery store in our area. One of the ladies who was staying with us saw a vegetable and said, “Have you tried this?”

WTH?!?!

It looked like a pear ate something really sour. When I told her I never tried it, she said, “Aroi MAK! (very delicious in Thai). I looked at the sign and it was called Chayote squash and it was $0.99/lb. Whenever we visit her in Thailand, my wife and I love her cooking, so I absolutely trusted her, and that evening, OH MY GOURD…I fell in love with chayote.

What is chayote? Where can you buy it? So far I’ve only seen it in Asian grocers, but I’m guessing some larger markets or Hispanic grocers should carry it. Select squash that are unblemished (the one above was the best we could find on the day we went) with smooth skin. Just like humans, squash with spots and wrinkles are older. To prepare chayote, you can either peel the skin or wash it thoroughly; you can slice it and put it in your salads or you can cook it – most recipes on the Web seem to use little more than oil and salt + pepper. Pop’ll give you an excellent Asian recipe that also uses ground pork. Hey, I don’t want to raise a meatatarian, but I don’t want to raise a vegetarian either. 😛

Pop’s Thai Friend’s Thai Chayote Squash Recipe

Procure 3-4 chayotes and about 1/2lb of ground pork.

First things first: decide how thick you want your chayote. My friend chopped them thin.

Chayote sliced thin

Unlike zucchini and other squashes, the thin slices of chayote were still fairly firm after cooking.

For the sake of experiment, I sliced mine thicker:

Thicker slices of chayote

Personally, I liked the thinner slices better. Once you’ve decided on that, wash the chayotes thoroughly. I recommend leaving the skin on, but if you’re skinphobic, peel it. Then chop it up however you like – there’s an edible seed inside, which you can either eat or chuck.

Chayotes ready

After the chayotes are all chopped, chop 6-7 cloves of garlic and grate a 1/2″ piece of ginger.

Now get your ground pork ready. This was the smallest ground pork my Asian grocery store carried. I’m not a big fan of freezing ground meats, so I used all 1.275lbs, which was way too much pork since we only found 2 decent chayotes.

Ground Pork

Now get out your secret ingredients: oyster sauce and ssamjang.

A chayote's best friends

If you’ve been following this blog, you know how awesome ssamjang is. You could use any soybean paste though, but why would you?

Throw some olive oil in a decent sized pot over medium-high heat.

Olive Oil

Once the oil is hot, throw in the ginger and garlic.

Sizzle

Now throw the ground pork in there.

Mmmmmmeaty!

Once again, this is 1.275lbs of ground pork, so there shouldn’t be nearly as much in your pot. Take a moment and let the pleasant aroma permeate your nostrils.

Make sure you cook the pork until there’s no more pink. Pink for beef = good. Pink for pork = diarrhea, cha cha cha!

Pink = Diarrhea = Pepto

Now throw the chayote in.

Cooking chayote

Once again, my chayote to pork ratio wasn’t very good. To save you from scrolling back up, here’s my friend’s chayote squash.

Chayote sliced thin

Notice how her’s looks like chayote squash with bits of pork, while mine looks like pork with bits of chayote.

After cooking that for about 5 minutes, throw in 3TBS of oyster sauce and 2TBS of ssamjang.

Sauced!

Throw in some crushed red peppers, cayenne or sriracha, a.k.a, cock sauce, or if you like your food to burn on the way in AND on the way out, throw in all three. Cook that for another 3 minutes or so, or until the chayote is as tender as you’d like.

Looks good, no?

Dinner is served

Personally, I like to pour it over a bowl of rice to make sure I don’t lose any of the delicious pork juices.

Chayote rice bowl

Healthy, cheap ($0.99/lb), and delicious, chayote squash is now in the permanent vegetable rotation in Pop’s family.

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  1. May 13, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Once again, your post has made my stomach start growling audibly within seconds! I’m going to have to make this for my brother next time I visit.

    • Pop
      May 13, 2010 at 11:00 am

      Yeah…making food blog posts in the morning has me starving when lunch time rolls around. Let me know how you and your brother like it.

  2. May 13, 2010 at 10:49 am

    What a great blog, thanks for sharing! 😉

  3. Miss Serendipity
    May 13, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Hello again, this is the second day I am visiting your blog and I am drooling again but I will use ground lamb. 🙂 I have seen this squash before (back in the States) but never knew how to cook it. Now I have another ingredient that I have to go and search for here in the UAE (brisket and this squash).

    • Pop
      May 13, 2010 at 11:17 am

      Oooooo…I’ll have to try ground lamb next time!

  4. 83October
    May 13, 2010 at 11:20 am

    it’s funny to read this today, since i just had some chayote. We saute it with turnip, carrots and ground beef; and we wrap it in a crepe like wrapper. Then we eat it with homemade sauce. We also eat it like above. Oh right, I’m from the Philippines, so this is a staple in a lot of our vegetable dishes.

    • Pop
      May 13, 2010 at 11:21 am

      Thanks for the cooking suggestion! That sound delightful. I’m definitely interested in trying new recipes with chayote.

      Yeah, my Thai friend was shocked that I’d never tried it before. I had no idea what I was missing out on.

    • May 13, 2010 at 8:21 pm

      Hey there. I’m from the Philippines too. 😀 I have never tried chayote wrapped in crepe but will definitely try it.

      Hi Pop >>> Well, other than ground pork, you may also saute it with shrimps. It can really get tasty. Or simply saute it with garlic and butter as a vegetable side dish.

  5. May 13, 2010 at 11:58 am

    I’m reading this as my lovely man cooks dinner. I want to eat my computer screen this looks so damn yummy.

  6. May 13, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Mmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!! This looks delish!!!! I’m always trying to find new things to cook up, and this looks like it may very well be one of the next things on my list!!
    I love zucchini, so I hope I’ll love this stuff! 🙂
    Great photos of the steps along the way!

    • Pop
      May 13, 2010 at 12:33 pm

      I’m usually not too fond of zucchini because it’s so easy to overcook it and get a soggy mess. Chayote squash is similar but I prefer the texture. Let me know what you think!

  7. May 13, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    I am definitely going to try this. I have actually NEVER heard of Chayote so really appreciate the post!

  8. May 13, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    OK, I’m subscribing now… It’s different and looks very appetizing.

    My mom just recently made a spagetti squash dish. She baked the squash then with a fork she pulls down the length of the squash to make thin spagetti like strands. She saute’s ground beef with onion and bell peppers. It’s her attempt to get my Dad eating healthier.

    • Pop
      May 13, 2010 at 1:51 pm

      Spaghetti squash is one of my wife’s favorites as well. Have you tried butternut squash? Excellent for soups and ravioli.

  9. Ina
    May 13, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    LOL! It DOES look like a pear that ate something extremely sour! Or a pear that ate something sour AND forgot to put in his dentures.

  10. May 13, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    It seems delicious! 🙂

  11. justjoxy
    May 13, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Hey, great post. I’ve known about chayote for years (here, it’s called cho-cho, and is commonly found in Caribbean shops) but have never been tempted to taste or cook it, till now. I’ll be stocking up on ssamjang and sriracha next time I’m at my Oriental cash’n’carry. I’ll be back for more recipes real soon.

  12. Mary
    May 13, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I have never seen chayote before. Looks really interesting. So, does it taste like other squash? Hope I can find it in Nashville. What do you think? Thanks for the recipe!!

    • Pop
      May 14, 2010 at 8:30 am

      I’m pretty sure there’s an Asian grocer somewhere in Nashville. And it has a very mild flavor.

      • kathy lummus
        April 23, 2011 at 8:06 am

        hi mary, i am from ATLANTA GA but i live in seattel wa now.i think you can get this critter at KROGER. i got mine at QFC that is owend by KROGER. hope this helps. ps i will amc and oltl

  13. May 13, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Hi – found you on Freshly Pressed and this looks amazing! I have a huge Asian market close to me, but I never know what any of it is. I will go tomorrow to see if they have these ingredients. Thanks!

  14. Ayesha Williams
    May 13, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Did u know u can also use Chayote in a soup?.My family is from Honduras and we use Chayote to make Mondongo. My tia Ann makes it the best..Well if you would like the recipe let me know..And i loved the blog..it looks scrumptious!! 🙂

    • Pop
      May 14, 2010 at 8:45 am

      Ooooo…I think I’ll try it in a soup next! I’d love the recipe.

  15. May 13, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    I so love the colors. Fantastic!

  16. May 13, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    I have never heard of Chayote. This will be a new veggie to try!

  17. May 13, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Reminds me of the time I ate a huge, sticky jackfruit. Now THAT was a real fruit. I might have to look for a chayote squash the next time I go to Chinatowne.

    The Codger
    http://thecodger.wordpress.com/

    • Pop
      May 14, 2010 at 8:48 am

      YUM! You just made me miss all the fruits widely available in South East Asia, e.g., Longan/Loganberry, mangosteen, rambutan!

  18. -mf-
    May 13, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    the vegetable is popular here in indonesia too.
    i think i’ll try to cook it this way. thanks for the inspiration.

  19. May 14, 2010 at 1:05 am

    Nice recipe, I have a similar recipe for chayote. Instead of chopping the chayote I cut it in half, scoop out a little hole and stuff it with a mixture of pork, onion, garlic, soy sauce, ginger and the scooped out chayote. Then roast it untill the squash is fork tender and the meat has browned.. I am going to try your recipe next time so I can eat it with rice, that is a great idea.

    • Pop
      May 14, 2010 at 8:49 am

      That sounds REALLY good! Thanks for the suggestion!

  20. May 14, 2010 at 1:22 am

    That looks absolutely delicious! I was always wondering what those were good for…a well kept secret for sure. I am going to try this…thank you so much for sharing.

  21. hennygalla
    May 14, 2010 at 3:45 am

    hemmmm…so deliciousss!!! i like cook very much! and this is a good reference..thannkksss

  22. May 14, 2010 at 4:41 am

    You can also eat the shoots of the chayote. It is sometimes known as the dragon whisker vegetable or 龍鬚菜.

    http://teczcape.blogspot.com/2008/04/chayote-shoots-dragon-beard-or-dragon.html

    • Pop
      May 14, 2010 at 8:51 am

      I’m excited to try it. I’ve come to love snow pea leaves more than actual snow peas!

  23. May 14, 2010 at 4:44 am

    “It looked like a pear ate something really sour.”, like it!

  24. May 14, 2010 at 6:28 am

    Aw, that looks so good – the veg itself looked a bit like an old age version of pacman but if you can make something that delicious looking with it, I’m sold!

    • Pop
      May 14, 2010 at 8:52 am

      LOL. Yeah, it was a strange looking vegetable, which was why I never tried it before.

  25. Jah
    May 14, 2010 at 7:37 am

    I stumbled upon your blog from the wordpress main page. I’m Thai and when I saw the picture I wasn’t sure what that was and thought I never had it! haha but I googled it and now know what it is.. 🙂 Do you live in Korea? that’s awesome ! I’m in Songtan. I’m gonna drop by your blog on a regular basis now!

  26. Songbird
    May 15, 2010 at 7:19 am

    Oh how interesting! I have an asian market nearby- I’m off to explore…

  27. May 15, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Just made this– delicious! Thanks for demystifying such a delicious vegetable!

  28. trina
    June 3, 2010 at 6:40 am

    This is very similar with PHilippines’ ginisang(Sauted) SAYOTE(Chayote)

  29. Ken
    September 19, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Stumbled across your blog while searching for supper ideas.. here in Quebec it’s squash season so I adapted your recipe and it was excellent with butternut squash. Hope to try the real deal soon but for those who can’t get Chayote, try any firm squash!

    Thanks!

    • Pop
      September 20, 2010 at 9:07 am

      Glad you liked it! My wife and I enjoy butternut squash, especially for soups, so perhaps we’ll adapt this recipe as well.

  30. Ana
    January 3, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Did you know you can also make a beverage out of cooked chayote? It looks and tastes (almost) as pear juice. Peel it, cut it and remove the hard part around seeds. Boil it , and put it in the blender with either white or brown sugar and lemon juice to taste. Use a colander to remove remaining skin or coarseness. Refrigerate. Delicious and refreshing!

    • Pop
      January 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      That sounds pretty good. I’ll have to give that a try when the weather warms up around here.

  31. stephen yang
    January 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    oh my gosh i’m totally making this for dinner… tomorrow

  32. May 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Oh that looks so yummy!! I’m going to have to keep an eye out for that…is it only in Asian grocery stores? I see a face being drawn on that for some reason…squash sculpture.

  33. Missing Me
    September 14, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I know this is an older post, but I work at a food pantry and we were given a couple crates of this squash and thanks to your post, I know what to tell them to do with it. Everyone thought it was a pear! 🙂 and now I’m going to try your recipe too! thanks.

    • Pop
      September 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm

      That’s awesome! Hope it turns out well!

  34. October 17, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Ah, great post, just discovered your blog after a google search for “ground pork and squash”. I have the wrong kind of squash for this tonight (and not the exact kinds of sauces, either, I suppose) but I’m still tempted to replicate it in some way this evening.

    Read a few of your other posts too, and really enjoy your writing & humor. Great to find a fun dad blog in sea of mom bloggers! I’ll be subscribing in case you get back into it…..

    Thanks for the recipe!

    • Pop
      October 18, 2011 at 8:22 am

      Thanks for the comment. I used to be a squash hater but my wife has showed me how tasty and healthy they can be. I hope to get back into it sometime soon.

  35. Eric swenson
    November 10, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Lov’in it!

  36. Ronda Berryman
    April 15, 2012 at 8:15 am

    I’m from Australia and we call them Chokos. I grow my own. Some years I have hundreds on the vine so I am always looking for new recipes. That is how I found yours. Will try it tomorrow night. My husband gets sick of them. I also cook them with apples or pears and they take on the same taste and makes the fruit go further.

  37. Teresa
    February 6, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Last night, I served the chayota squash as a french fry substitute. I just chopped up onions and and cut the squash into sticks, as shown in the picture. Put some oil in the skillet, THen added the onions. After 2-3 minutes I put the squash in. Added garlic powder, salt, & chayenne pepper. Stirred really good to get the vegs coated in the oil. Put the lid on and let it cook. Stirring every few minutes. Cook until desired donesness. Delicious

  38. pat
    March 10, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    wow you have this so easy thank you .I found this squash in my fred meyers and wanted to try it. Thank you

  1. May 17, 2010 at 9:56 am
  2. June 9, 2010 at 3:11 pm

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