Chayote Stew – The Easiest Chow Chow Recipe

4 Nov

Chayote Stew - Chow Chow Recipe

Chayote is commonly used in south Indian cuisine (here’s a nice kootu recipe), not so much in the north. It is not a vegetable I grew up eating and, even as I saw it everywhere in vegetable markets, I wasn’t enticed enough to try it.

Not until I read this about the taste of chayote in The Awl:

…sort of like a jicama: mildly sweet, incredibly crisp and juicy, somewhere between a potato and an apple, or a crisp pear.

That article called Eat the Chayote did, in fact, make me eat the chayote.

I bought a chayote, cut and tasted a slice raw. And then there was no looking back.


Chayote ("chow chow" as it is called in this part of India) features in my meals regularly these days, not least because it is one of the only affordable vegetables around at this time of the year!

This chayote stew recipe is the easiest way to cook chayote: it uses no onions, tomatoes, garlic or ginger, takes just a few minutes to prepare and lets the chayote’s distinctive fruitiness shine.

Chayote Stew

You Need:

  • Chayote (chow chow) – 2 medium
  • Green chili – 1 (more if you want it hotter)
  • Salt – 1/3 teaspoon
  • Sugar – 3/4 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – 1/3 teaspoon
  • Red chili flakes/paprika powder – 1/3 teaspoon
  • Olive oil – 1/2 tablespoon
  • Fresh coriander leaves –a few sprigs
  • Freshly ground sea salt – to taste (optional)

How To Make The Easiest Chayote Stew:

Peel the chayote.

Chayote Peeling

To peel from the tortuous chayote folds, cut triangular prism-shaped notches, tip side inwards, and pry the cut pieces out.

Slice the chayote lengthwise into two halves (if using small-sized ones) or four pieces.

Chop into 1/2cm quarters or half moons.

Slit the green chilies vertically.

Chayote Chopped

Heat olive oil in a thick-bottomed pan.

Add to the oil the slit green chilies and sliced chayote.

Chayote Cooking

Stir around. Add half a cup of water and the seasoning: turmeric powder, red chili flakes/paprika powder, sugar and salt.

Chayote and Spices

Mix well.

Simmer covered on medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Don’t overcook – let the chayote soften slightly without losing its crunch.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and sea salt.

Chayote with Spices, Cooking

Chayote stew is ready to eat.

Chayote Stew - Simple Chow Chow Recipe

Meal below: chayote stew with parathas and Bikaneri bhujia.

Chayote Stew - Chow Chow Stew


Try replacing green chilies in this recipe with red for a pop of color.

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