This recipe for Chayote Curry is an easy weeknight recipe that packs a ton of flavor. It’s a delicious dish for the cooler months that approach us as well but can be enjoyed all year round. This recipe is also vegetarian, vegan-friendly and gluten-free. So if you’re looking for a recipe to cover special dietary requirements, this might just be the recipe for you.
Firstly, What is Chayote Squash?
Chayote Squash is part of the squash family, also known as choko, with a pear shape and bright green skin. It is very popular in Caribbean and Indian cuisine and is affectionately known as “cho cho” in Jamaica, “christophene or mirliton” in the Southern Caribbean and “chow chow” in India.
Chayote has a mild cucumber-like taste with a crisp bite similar to jicama. It is often enjoyed cooked but you can also eat it raw in salads.
If you’re looking to add more fiber to your diet, Chayote is a great ingredient to include. And from a nutritional standpoint, Chayote is high in antioxidants and vitamins such as vitamin B, vitamin C and Potassium.
Tips for How to Make the Best Chayote Curry
Curries stay in rotation in our household because they are easy to make and serve a big crowd. They even make great leftovers and taste amazing the next day. To make this Chayote Curry, you will need Chayote Squash, some good quality curry powder and aromatics.
When peeling and chopping the chayote squash you will come across a seed or core in the center. Be sure to remove this since it doesn’t have a pleasant taste. If you find that your hands are getting sticky while peeling the chayote then coat your hands and the knife with some oil to help prevent this.
One of the key things to making a great curry is ensuring that you saute your aromatics and spices long enough to release all of their flavors. This step helps to build incredible flavor that permeates the entire dish.
For this recipe, I used a Jamaican curry powder and aromatics like thyme, ginger, garlic, onion and bell pepper. I also used Scotch Bonnet Pepper for some heat because what is a curry without a bit of heat? If you are sensitive to heat see the substitutions and alternatives mentioned below.
After sauteeing the spices and aromatics, add the chopped chayote to the pot along with the wet ingredients – water or vegan chicken stock and coconut milk.
Coconut milk is used in curries to give the sauce a smooth and creamy texture (just make sure that it is full fat). Once you add the liquids allow the curry to simmer until the chayote is tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.
Substitutions and Alternatives
In the event that you are having trouble finding some of the ingredients to make this recipe, here are some substitutions and alternatives that work just as well.
Curry Powder – You can find curry powder in most local grocery stores in the form of a dry powder or paste. For this recipe, I used a Jamaican curry powder but feel free to use any curry powder or paste of your choice. Here’s one of my favorite brands of Jamaican Curry Powder.
Coconut Milk – I recommend using a full-fat coconut milk for this recipe – it makes all the difference. The high-fat content in the coconut milk lends a creamy, velvety touch to the final curry sauce.
Thyme – In true Caribbean cooking style, fresh thyme is my first choice. However, if you aren’t able to get your hands on fresh thyme then feel free to substitute with ½ teaspoon of dried thyme. Just be sure to give it a quick rub between your fingers to release the flavors before adding it to the pot.
Scotch Bonnet – If you are pretty sensitive to heat, then you should opt for a milder pepper in this case. Scotch Bonnet pepper is very spicy but adds such great flavor to stews and curries. Try a jalapeno pepper – without the seeds – if you can’t handle too much heat.
What to Serve with Chayote Curry
Curries are traditionally served with white rice, roti flatbread and chutneys. This Chayote Curry recipe can be served with these same typical sides to help soak up all the delicious yellow-hued, fragrant sauce.
How to Store Chayote Curry
Much like stews, curries get better the longer they sit. It’s almost as if there are mini flavor mechanics in the fridge working some sort of magic that just makes all the difference. You can store this Chayote Curry in the fridge in an airtight container for up to five days.
If you make a big batch, and I definitely recommend it – then freeze half of the curry in a freezer-safe container. The curry will last in the freezer for up to 1 month if stored properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’ve never purchased chayote squash before and are having a hard time finding it, then check your local International market. You will also most likely find it in the produce aisle in more high-end, specialty markets as well. If you happen to live nearby a farmer’s market, feel free to check them out as well.
When choosing the best quality chayote, ensure that it is firm when touched and bright green in color. Refrain from choosing any that have bruises or soft spots. When you get home, store the chayote in a cool, dry place.
Chayote is a versatile ingredient so there are many ways to cook it – so if you’re wondering how to cook chayote then you’re in for a treat. You can enjoy it raw in salads! Think thinly sliced and tossed in a bright-flavored vinaigrette. You can also enjoy chayote in soups, stews and curries such as this one.
Chayote has a mild, delicate flavor that allows it to take on bold flavors very well. Its sturdy nature also makes it perfect for long cooking periods.
And if you have a sweet tooth? Then try grilling chayote with your favorite dessert spice blend – cinnamon sugar is perfect – and top it with your favorite ice cream. Check out our Sweet Stewed Chayote Fruit Recipe here.
Ingredients For Chayote Curry
- 4 medium Chayote Squash
- 1 Tbsp Canola Oil
- ¼ cup Bell Pepper, chopped
- ½ cup Yellow Onion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp Jamaican Curry Powder
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- ½ tsp fresh Ginger, minced or grated
- 3 sprigs of Fresh Thyme, or ½ tsp Dried Thyme
- 1 ½ cups Water, or Vegan Chicken Stock
- ½ cup Coconut Milk, full fat
- 1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper, or ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 tsp Salt, plus more if needed
Begin by cutting the chayote squash down the middle lengthwise then remove the core (seed). Next, peel the skin from both halves of the Chayote and chop into 1” cubes and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the bell pepper and onion and saute for 2 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the curry powder and stir (toast) until nice and fragrant; about 1 minute. Add the garlic, ginger and thyme and saute for an additional minute.
Add the chayote squash and stir to coat with the curry seasoning. Slowly add the water and coconut milk, stirring as you go then season with salt (add the cayenne pepper at this time if using). Give the mixture another stir then nestle the scotch bonnet pepper on top.
Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the chayote squash is tender.
Remove the lid, and take out the scotch bonnet pepper then turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the liquid to reduce by half for an additional 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Serve with plain rice or crusty bread.
Chayote Curry Recipe
- 4 Chayote Squash (medium)
- 1 Tbsp Canola Oil
- ¼ Cup Bell Pepper (chopped)
- ½ Cup Yellow Onion (chopped)
- 2 Tbsp Jamaican Curry Powder
- 3 Garlic Cloves (minced)
- ½ Tsp Ginger (minced or grated)
- 3 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme (or ½ Tsp Dried Thyme)
- 1 ½ Cups Water (or Vegan Chicken Stock)
- ½ Cup Coconut Milk (full-fat)
- 1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper (or ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper)
- 1 Tsp Salt (plus more to taste)
- Begin by cutting the chayote squash down the middle lengthwise then remove the core (seed). Next peel the skin from both halves of the Chayote and chop into 1” cubes and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the bell pepper and onion and saute for 2 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the curry powder and stir (toast) until nice and fragrant; about 1 minute. Add the garlic, ginger and thyme and saute for an additional minute.
- Add the chayote squash and stir to coat with the curry seasoning. Slowly add the water and coconut milk, stirring as you go then season with salt (add the cayenne pepper at this time if using). Give the mixture another stir then nestle the scotch bonnet pepper on top.
- Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the chayote squash is tender. Remove the lid, and take out the scotch bonnet pepper then turn the heat up to medium high and allow the liquid to reduce by half for an additional 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve with plain rice or crusty bread.