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Chokos Chayote

Sechium edule

Photo courtesy of Horticulture New Zealand


Also known as a vegetable pear, or chayote, chokos are a pale green member of the gourd family.

They have a very mild flavour, sometimes compared to that of a marrow, so go well in dishes with other vegetables. Chokos are usually shaped somewhat like a wrinkled pear, with a thin green skin and a single flattened seed, which, though edible, is usually discarded.

Chokos are a good source of folate, fibre, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins B6 and C.

Choose chokos that are free of blemishes and bruising. They’ll keep for a few weeks stored in plastic bags in the fridge.



Chokos are native to Central America. They were a staple of the Aztecs and used by the Mayans. Spanish explorers introduced them to Europe, and from there they made their way to Asia, where in some areas they’re grown for their shoots.


Chokos can be cooked in a variety of ways. If boiling, you don’t need to peel them; just remove the seed inside and boil for 15-20 minutes.

Small chokos can be sliced and added to stir fries. They can also be stuffed and baked, in much the same way as you would an eggplant. As well, you can add chokos to casseroles and stews as an interesting extra ingredient.


In Australia, where chokos are more common than in New Zealand, a rumour spread that the apples in McDonald’s apple pies were actually chunks of choko. McDonald’s refuted this, and assured the public that the apples were real.

In Cantonese, chokos are called ‘Buddha hand melon’ because, if you use your imagination, they look like a pair of palms clasped together in prayer.

Courgettes »« Chillies


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