Choko – a wonder vegetable?

I enjoyed a couple of hours tidying up the allotment this morning and was given a few chokos much to my delight. Thank you Judith.

When I first emigrated from the UK over 30 years ago I had never come face to face with a choko.  That is, until my neighbour gave me a bucket full.  He had a vigorous choko vine growing up his fence and he could have fed the whole of Brisbane from that vine.

The choko is a vigorous perennial vine which is easy to grow in mild climates and I am told that years ago no self respecting Brisbane suburban garden was without a choko vine.  But for some reason this much maligned vegetable has been treated by so many with disdain.

Like a lot of things I reckon, if it’s easy to come by then the item is considered of little value. When you consider how prolific a choko vine is, this humble veggie falls into that category.

Well, I want to change all that and speak up for this versatile vegetable – the under-dog of the veggie world.

The choko itself has a very delicate flavour (I have heard the word ‘tasteless’ bandied about by some unbelievers).  Ignoring those sort of remarks, I enjoy it steamed and served with salt and pepper and a knob of butter.  But what I find most interesting, and adds to it’s versatility, is that chokos will take on the flavour of what ever they are cooked with.

For instance, if you are making an apple pie and are running a bit short of apples, chop up a choko, add it to the apple, and most people wouldn’t know the difference as it takes on the flavour of the apple. Cook it with pears and the same thing happens.

It is just as versatile in a savoury dish. Great when used in a curry or a stir-fry.  And Heather, one of the ladies I meet regularly at Beelarong, makes the most wonderful choko pickle from her vine.

I could rabbit on all day on the subject, but to save your eyes glazing over (I hope) I have attached links to a few websites with choko recipes.  Live dangerously, go on, have a go!

Choko pickles 

Choko Greek style and for dessert Poached Chokos

General information and Fried Choko with Mint Pesto recipe

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