Fried choko with bacon jam

Fried choko with bacon jam

Choko is something that takes me back to the 1980s, or maybe even a tad earlier. Living in suburban Australia wasn’t complete without having a choko vine growing on the back fence, or if you didn’t, chances are that one of your neighbours did.

I’m sure it’s a very different story in the ‘burbs these days, as many consider the choko a weed and wouldn’t dare grow it.

During the Depression in the early 1930s, the choko was dished up in ways that depended on its preparer’s imagination. In other words, it was used a lot, especially in poorer families – boiled, fried, mashed, in jams, cakes and even sweet pies.

It was the perfect filler, and fooler, as many thought they were eating apple pie, not the fruit from a weed that grew up the sides of the bar shed or thunder box.

choko chayote

This nobbly pear-shaped fruit is part of the gourd, pumpkin and zucchini family, and was brought to our shores from Mexico, where it’s known as chayote. Others may know it as mirliton or one of several other names.

In my younger years it was simply sliced, crumbed and fried until golden. A little salt and it was the perfect accompaniment to whatever meat and veg was on the dinner table or neighbour’s bbq gathering.

bacon jam relish

I’ve gone down the fried route with the recipe I’m sharing here. Panko crumbs in place of old-fashioned fine bread crumbs, and a rather nice bacon jam to dollop on top of these crunchy, golden little numbers.

Bacon jam is so easy to make yourself. Not that it’s actually jam. Truth be told it’s more of a relish, and the one I’ve been making lately isn’t sickly sweet like a lot of them out there. It’s even perfect with a sharp cheese, on crackers, with grilled pork or slapped onto a good old ham and cheese sandwich.

fried choko chayote with bacon jam

 

Print Recipe
Fried choko (chayote) with bacon jam
An old-time Australian classic - fried choko - tricked up with delicious bacon jam
fried choko with bacon jam
Servings
people
Ingredients
Bacon jam (makes 1 cup)
Chokos
Servings
people
Ingredients
Bacon jam (makes 1 cup)
Chokos
fried choko with bacon jam
Instructions
Bacon jam
  1. Sautè the bacon in a non-stick pan over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown, but not crispy.
  2. Remove the cooked bacon, leaving a tablespoon, or so, of fat in the pan.
  3. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until golden. Add the garlic, turn the heat to low and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the sugar and stir for 1 minute. Return the bacon to the onion and stir for 1 minute.
  5. Stir through the Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar, allowing to gently simmer for 1 minute. Add the water and cocoa, stir, then simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  6. Turn off heat and allow to cool a little. Coarsely blend the mixture with a stick blender, but don't purée it. Transfer to a sealed container and store in the fridge.
Chokos
  1. Dip the choko slices into the beaten egg, shake to drain and then coat well in the panko crumbs. Repeat the process until all of the choko is crumbed. Lay them on a plate and refrigerate for ½ an hour before cooking.
  2. Heat the oil over low-medium heat. Cook the crumbed chokos a few slices at a time until golden, turning halfway through.
  3. If they cook too fast, the choko will still be crunchy and raw on the inside, so get the oil temperature right. Don't have the oil too hot.
  4. Drain the cooked choko on lots of kitchen towels and season well with sea salt before serving.
Recipe Notes

The bacon jam will store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Bring it to room temperature when you want to use it.

Serve the fried choko with a little natural yoghurt for added freshness!

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  • When I read your title, I was so curious as to what “Choko“ is, only to find out it’s one of the vegetables I see regularly here in the southwest. Your preparation looks perfect – and what wouldn’t be better with your bacon jam? I can imagine a lot of uses for that jam…

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