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The under-utilised choko is a great winter crop!

Give chokos a go

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Chokos are at their productive peak, but there must be more to cooking them than smothering them in white sauce. PHIL DUDMAN puts the challenge to his foodie buddy Julie Ray.

Somebody once said to me that the choko should be the symbol of sustainability. When you think about it, what else can you bang in the ground – and ignore – that will reward you with such massive organic returns, so big that you struggle to give your excess away? And that’s the dilemma; it’s hard to find someone who’ll take more than a few choko off your hands, because nobody knows how to cook with them. Apart from that, the poor old choko has developed such a bad name over the years, no doubt, because many of us have endured the childhood joy of soggy boiled tasteless choko on the plate – it surely is enough to turn you off for life.

But the truth is, the choko is a hugely versatile and underutilised vegetable – and incredibly productive, particularly at this time of year when it can fill a sizeable gap in the organic garden harvest (there’s a good reason why  everyone used to grow it). When you cook with choko, it takes on the flavours of the recipe, savory and sweet – it makes a great filler for winter curries and casseroles, can be used in stir-fries – and makes an excellent filling to be mixed with (or replace) fruit in sweet pies and flans (remember the rumours around the tin pear)

I put the challenge to my Fab Foodie Buddy Julie Ray from garden2kitchen to come up with a couple of seasonal organic harvest recipe ideas for Mother’s Day – something for breakfast and afternoon tea. Here’s what Julie prepared live on air during ABC’s Good Gardening program – the spicy Mamasita Eggs with Choko Salsa and the sweet and yummy Choko Maple Tarte Tartin – delicious!

If you have some good choko recipe ideas, please share them in the comments section below.