Chuchu, (commonly known as chayote squash in Mexico and seemebadanekaayi in South India) is pear-shaped, light-green vegetable in the gourd family. It has a crunchy texture and a mild, sweet taste. There is no need to peel the skin in the young, tender pears. However, larger and over-mature fruits need light peeling.

Preparation time – 30 minutes

Serves 3 – 4

 

Ingredients 
1 medium/ 280g chuchu
1 cup/250ml water
1½ tsp fine rock salt
1½ heaped tsp brown sugar/jaggery
¼ cup coriander leaves
Voggarane 
¼ cup/60ml peanut or coconut oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
⅛ tsp asafoetida powder
⅛ tsp turmeric powder
15 fresh curry leaves
Sambar – coconut paste
¾ cup/60g dried shredded coconut
2 heaped tsp sambar powder- moderately spiced
1 tsp tamarind paste
2 cups/500ml water – divided

Preparation

1.  Wash, peel and chop chuchu into small uniformed pieces to fill approximately 1½ cups. Set aside. Chop coriander and measure out remaining ingredients.

Voggarane

2.  In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil, add mustard seeds; when seeds turn grey and pop, reduce heat, add asafoetida, turmeric and curry leaves – fry for a few seconds.

3.  Add chuchu and 1 cup water. Simmer, uncovered, until the chuchu softens – 15 minutes.

Sambar – coconut paste

4.  In an upright blender, combine coconut, sambar powder, tamarind paste and 1½ cups water.

5.  Grind 1 minute, until smooth. Set aside.

6.  After the chuchu has softened, add jaggery and salt, mixing well.

7.  Pour sambar–coconut paste into gojju. Use remaining ½ cup water to swish blender clean.

8.  Simmer rapidly for 5 minutes, stir once or twice. Turn off heat and add coriander. Let sit for 5 minutes, taste to adjust sweet, sour or salt. The gojju will thicken as it cools.

Serve

Twice a week, with rice, dosa or chapati – reduce tamarind when serving with chapati. Suitable morning or evening, in all seasons.

Variation

Eggplant or capsicum can be used.