Have you heard of chayote squash? We hadn’t until we saw it on the local markets.
Seasonal eating – we love it! Especially when it’s a true seasonal food.
Something you only see at a certain time of year.
A food that you can look forward to, anticipating its appearance on the markets and mentally planning all the Turkish dishes you’re going to make when you finally get your hands on it.
Autumn and winter still prove to be abundant in Turkey and amongst all the other fruits and vegetables, keep an eye out for the chayote squash.
Elsewhere in the world, the chayote is also known as a summer squash. But autumn is the time to look for it in pour little corner of the world.
And what do you do with it when you’ve bought it?
Well, we have a simple Turkish chayote recipe you can follow.
Chayote In Fethiye – Rodos Kabağı
Chayote first came into our lives some years ago when we were walking around the Çalış Sunday market with a Turkish friend.
A box of pale green, lumpy vegetable pear-shaped edibles stared up at us. Their label announced them as Rodos Kabağı (Rhodes Squash).
(Elsewhere on the local Turkish markets, you might also see them described as dikenli kabak – thorny/prickly squash. This refers to the small prickly thorns on the skin.)
Our friend was really excited to see them. And, spotting the curious look on our faces, told us her favourite way to cook them.
As she’s pretty handy in the kitchen, our friend, we were all ears. This has been one of our favourite ways to cook chayote squash ever since.
This is a deep fried chayote recipe!
And it makes a perfect side dish that is a great, hot addition to your meze table.
Chayote Squash Is Healthy As Well As Tasty
We’ve always known this squash as Rodos Kabağı and it’s only some recent research that has revealed to us that what we’ve been eating all these years is the healthy chayote squash.
This green squash is:
- Low in natural sugars
- Low in calories
- A great source of fibre
- A good dose of Vitamin C
- Filled with anti-inflammatory agents.
- Low in calories (19 per 100 grams) so a great food if you are on a lower calorie diet.
Always a bonus when some of your favourite seasonal foods are packed with nutritional benefits, too.
A member of the gourd family – the same as melon and cucumber – there’s a mild tasting, light, sweet citrus kick when you bite into each deep fried chayote chunk.
Dipped into some natural Turkish yoghurt beforehand, this fried chayote recipe gives a great flavour burst where the taste buds dance between sweet and savoury.
And, if not overcooked, it also retains its crunchy texture.
Deep Fried Chayote Recipe – Kızarmış Rodos Kabağı
Like the avocado, the chayote is native to Mexico, Central America.
And, like the avocado, the chayote squash must enjoy the soils of this corner of the world because both are grown locally in the Fethiye area. Places with warm climates.
They’re local produce. Produce that is often associated with summer. And yet they both enjoy the Fethiye winter.
Chayote – Summer In Winter
That’s why we find ourselves eating and making so much guacamole during the colder months; making the most of the local produce.
Lots of chayote recipes are about eating them raw; chopped up into summer chayote salads.
But it’s not summer here!
And, well, maybe that’s why, in southwest Turkey, we’re turning up the heat and making a savoury snack.
It’s all very quick and simple. We’re going to use a vegetable peeler to take away the prickly skin.
This is where you’ll see the melon resemblance. It looks and feels like a slightly unripe honeydew melon.
Then, when you cut your chayote into quarters, lengthways, you’ll see a soft core.
Slice that away and then cut your chayote into wedges, sticks or thin slices. Completely up to you.
Now we’re going to add the sliced chayote to some corn flour and mix them around to give them a good coating.
Of course, we sometimes mix a bit of hot red chilli powder in there, too.
Heat your oil on a medium-high heat.
Plunge them into your hot oil for 2-3 minutes and then you’re almost ready to enjoy your tasty snack.
A Quick & Easy Fried Chayote Recipe
As you can see, this is a very quick and simple chayote recipe – great for vegetarians, too.
And the wedges just make a perfect winter weekend snack when you’re settling down to watch a film.
And the dip? Well, we are in Turkey.
What’s a meal without a side of good natural yoghurt?
In the photo, we’ve got chayote wedges.
If you like, though, you can make long chayote chips (fries) or even chayote crisps.
Use your vegetable peeler to make thin shavings and plunge them into your hot oil for a minute.
Take a wedge, dip it into your spiced garlic yoghurt, pop it into your mouth and savour all those yummy flavours. The natural sweetness and the crunchy texture.
Fried Chayote Recipe
- 3 chayote squash peeled, cored & sliced into wedges
- corn flour for coating
- sunflower oil for frying
For The Yoghurt Dip
- 3 tablespoons natural Turkish yoghurt
- 1 clove garlic peeled & crushed
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- Add enough sunflower oil to a pan for deep fat frying and heat on a medium to high heat.
- Meanwhile, take a small bowl and mix your yoghurt ingredients together.
- Sprinkle corn flour onto a large serving plate and add your chayote wedges.
- Move them around with yoır hands until they have a light coating.
- Add one wedge to the oil to check if it's hot enough. If it bubbles and rises to the top, add the rest of your wedges.
- Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do this in batches.
- After 4-5 minutes, when your chayote is browning a little, remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
- Serve your fried chayote squash with the yoghurt sauce.
- If you are in Turkey, looking for chayote, you need to look for Rodos Kabağı. They are in season during the winter months.
- If you are elsewhere, the chayote squash also has other names: Christophine Ch-Cho, Pipinola, Pear Squash, Vegetable Pear, Choko.
- As with all our recipes, calories are meant as a rough guide only and will differ depending on the size of chayote you use, how you slice them and also the yoghurt brand.
Chayote has its own unique flavour. There’s a hint of sweetness there and the texture resembles a firm honeydew melon.
Chayote can beaten raw in summer salads and can also be an ingredient in your homemade coleslaw.
It is commonly sauteed with ingredients such as chillies and tomatoes and drizzled in lime juice.
In Mexico, chayote is a common taco filling so you could also serve your deep fried Rodos Kabağı in a dürüm (lavaş wrap) with grilled meat.
In Turkish cooking, the chayote squash is also used as the key ingredient in the famous zeytinyağlı dishes where olive oil and lemon juice make up the sauce.
As with green beans in olive oil and okra in olive oil, this is a great way to make use of this squash.
Season with sea salt and black pepper and serve with some Turkish rice. Or go extra healthy and use brown rice, instead.
Whilst there are different varieties of chayote, the ones many of us in Turkey are likely to be eating is the common chayote.
In Turkey, it is known as Rodos Kabağı or Dikenli Kabak.
Elsewhere, you may also see this squash labelled as choko, vegetable pair, mango squash or sayote.