Monday, June 13, 2011

The Choko, Sechium edule

Ready for picking now Choko fruit on vine, Sechium edule

From Tasmania to far north Queensland, the much maligned choko was once a feature of most backyards, covering fences and outhouses and climbing 30 metres up trees if allowed and always capable of producing an abundance of fruit . Last year I planted one to try and out-compete a Morning Glory vine which is growing from a neighboring property. It is doing a good job so far and has just produced its first crop which has sent me on a search for ways to cook with them. I have always liked what Sam Orr aka Richard Beckett had to say about the choko in his book The Gourmet's Garden. He said it produced fruit in such enormous quantities that it 'frightens you out of your wits' and that 'because of this over-production people attempt to find virtues for the choko where none exist, producing such execrable concoctions as choko jam and choko chutney. He recommends that it is boiled whole 'so that any taste it has doesn't escape into the water' and nice with cheese sauce or melted butter and a lot of pepper so that in this way you taste either cheese sauce or butter or pepper. You'll never taste choko as it doesn't. The choko is one of nature's little jokes.' Harsh words indeed.
So one interesting way of cooking them I have found is in a Caribbean cook book where the choko is given the French name of christophine. A Gratin of Christophine involves cooking choko in milk for about ten minutes, pureeing them and then adding egg yolk, butter, cream, chives, ginger, salt and pepper. This mix is placed in a baking dish and topped with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and baked for about 20 minutes until golden and bubbling. Sounds like just the dish for a cold winter night.

Choko Illustration from Curtis Botanical Magazine
London 1917


  1. i believe Sechium edule originated from S.America.

  2. Dear friend! Here in Brazil where it is very abundant and is part of the menu of several families from north to south of the country, we are a continental country, do not forget and that means a large consumption in volume.Para us it is called CHUCHU, here the simplest eat it like this: places itself in the oil pan off the heat and still bites the onion and garlic, combine the warm fire waiting a little, just enough so that the oils essences of garlic and onion and perfume to show the kitchen, puts then the chuchu, which was previously stung like to julienne, which we call "taps.", put a little water, little salt and pepper and a few minutes you will be baked.
    There is also the souffle, nothing complicated.
    Grate the chuchu in those drains that used to cut potatoes 'straw' to chuchus 2 large, 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 whole egg, half cup grated Parmesan cheese and season with only celola little garlic, salt and a teaspoon of baking powder. Bake in moderate oven
    Despite what he has not talked about taste are wrong, he has a delicate flavor and light, so do not use hot spices for not disturbing to realize its flavor.
    Hope you like the recipe, if you want more information just ask! I really enjoyed the botanist who made the plant. sorry english is that you write with the help of google.
    Hope you like the recipe, if you want more information just ask! I really enjoyed the botanist who made ​​the plant.

  3. I forgot to tell you that I love plants and my blog has some posts about .Se want to visit

  4. Thank you for your comments and very interesting recipe Claudia

  5. We Vietnamese also eat a lot of chokkos! I want to grow one, but havent had the courage to do it yet.