bat nuts post in September. Luckily, I was wrong about that! So far this month I've loved everything I've posted. Though there are many more strange and wonderful things in store...Whoa, another winner. Two, actually. I was half expecting my whole VeganMoFo to go mostly the way of my
Wikipedia has this to say about chayote: "The chayote (Sechium edule), also known as christophene, vegetable pear, mirliton, choko, starprecianté, citrayota, citrayote (Ecuador and Colombia), chuchu (Brazil), chow chow (India) or pear squash is an edible plant that belongs to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae along with melons, cucumbers and squash." It is said to be a good source of amino acids and Vitamin C.
It originated, apparently, in South America, and has made its way across the world to the Orient, where it is a big hit, and no wonder. I found it utterly delicious, both raw and briefly cooked. The Wikipedia article says it has a bland flavour raw, but I didn't find this with mine; it had a definitely pleasant, somewhat grassy, sweet taste, so much so that I debated whether to blanch it or not, and after having done so am convinced it wouldn't have made much difference either way.
Here's what it looks like whole:
One popular name for it is Buddha's fist, because sometimes this bottom part can look like a clenched fist. Personally, I found it more like something out of Little Shop of Horrors, but maybe that's just me.
Here's what it looks like sliced in half. I, uh, really have nothing to say about this except that (1) most images show it sliced on the opposite axis; and (2) the seed is edible.
So, yeah, on to the salad. I had a lovely mis-en-place, but forgot to take a picture of it. Sorry about that. Anyway, what's in it, vegetable-wise is:
My recipe, such as it is, is based on this one, which only calls for chayote and carrots. But my additions were great, in my opinion!
I shredded the first three items with this handy gadget:
I've had it for several weeks now and it is rapidly overtaking my potato ricer as Queen of Gadgets in my house.
So shred the vegetables, blanch them briefly--I mean briefly, like for 30 seconds--in boiling water, not all together, but one vegetable at a time so you get it just right, then drain them and rinse under cold water to stop them cooking. The vegetables need not be cold for this salad, but you don't want them mushy.
Meanwhile, if you're having this on noodles, you can cook them. Today I used tofu shirataki noodles. Yes, these are the noodles of lore, the great dieting discovery, noodles with no calories (or at least in the tofu version, very few calories). They come in water packed like this:
Here's the nutritional info:
As I mentioned in my previous post about the plain shirataki noodles, right out of the package they are really disgusting, with a strong, fishy flavour. But all you need to do to make them edible and delicious is boil them for two or three minutes. The fishy flavour totally disappears, I promise. Plus, you really can't imagine when eating them that they're so lo-cal. They go down like any other noodles. The difference between the tofu version and the plain version is mainly one of colour and texture: they're whiter and a little softer, more like wheat noodles than bean thread noodles. Here's what they look like, cooked:
Finally, the last ingredient: tofu. The original recipe calls for "five-spice tofu" but I'm not a big fan of five-spice, so I dipped slices of firm tofu in soy sauce and microwaved them for two minutes on one side, one and a half minutes on the other:
...and then finely sliced the slices. So pretty!