Sunday, January 24, 2016

Chayote (Choko) taco filling

This is Rick Bayless' Roast Chayote recipe with a few modifications.

They're called chokos here in Australia, but in Mexico they're called chayote.  This recipe has a mild but flavoursome taste that I really like.

If you're wondering how 'chayote' is pronounced, like I was, it seems to be chiYohteh, with the 'oh' rising and the 'teh' quite short.  These videos seem to show an authentic pronunciation.


  • Chayote (choko), 3 large, peeled, pitted & cut into ~1cm cubes (it's better to cut them smaller rather than larger as more of the surface area will get browned, and you won't get mushy bits at the center of the cubes).
  • Olive oil, 1.5 tbsp
  • Salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Lime juice, fresh, 1.5 tbsp (or lemon or other tart citrus)
  • Lime zest, grated, 1 tsp
  • Goats cheese, 120g (or a not-too-briny feta works), crumbled
    • I've found that it's better if the goats cheese is not too strong, so a mixture of goats cheese and ricotta works well.
  • for the Green Chilli Adobo used in the recipe (note: this will make more than is required for this recipe -- but that's ok, it's good as a general-purpose condiment).
    • Garlic, 1/2 head, separated into unpeeled cloves
    • Serrano chillies, 4 to 5 serrano, stems removed
    • Corriander, large bunch, thick bottom stems cut off, roughly chopped (about 2 cups loosely packed)
    • Flat leaf parsley, 1 large bunch, thick bottom stems cut off, roughly chopped (about 2 cups loosely packed)
    • Olive oil, 1 cup
    • Salt, 2 generous tsp

  • Make the Green Chilli Adobo (this may be done in advance)
    • Pan roast garlic and chillies
      • Set a large (25cm) skillet over medium heat.
      • Lay in the garlic and chillies and roast, turning regularly, until soft and browned in spots, about 10 minutes for the chillies and 15 for the garlic.
        • (If you’re really short on time, you can soften them in a microwave: Cut a slit in each garlic clove and combine with the chillies in a microwavable bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, poke a few holes in the top and microwave on high for 30 seconds.)
    • Chop garlic and chillies
      • Cool until handleable, then slip off the garlic's papery husks.
      • Roughly chop everything (no need to remove the chilli seeds).
    • Blend ingredients
      • In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic and chillies with the corriander, parsley, olive oil and salt.
      • Process, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary, until nearly smooth (it should look a little like pesto).
    • Transfer to a jar and pour a little oil over the top.
    • Store, covered, in the refrigerator, where it will last several months.
  • Turn on the oven to 220C
  • Prepare and roast chayote
    • Toss the chayote with the olive oil and about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 cracked pepper.
    • Spread it onto a rimmed baking sheet.  You want the pieces to be spread out.  Use two pans if you need to.
    • Put it into oven and roast, turning every few minutes
      ...until the chayote is beautifully browned and tender, about 25 minutes (cooking times may vary.  Sometimes I've had to cook them for 45 mins.  Definitely cook them as long as is required to get the pieces a browned)
    • Remove from oven
  • Toss chayote with lime juice, lime zest, and 1.5 tablespoons of the Green Chilli Adobo.
  • Scatter cheese and leftover parsley or corriander on top
  • This makes a fantastic (soft) taco filling.  Once you've added the filling to the taco, spoon a bit more of the adobo on top.
    • Rick Bayless also suggests layering it with black bean refritos as a taco filling, and also serving it over greens such as baby rocket or watercress, for a robust salad.