Chayote Squash Curry
I love cooking with ingredients I’ve never used before. I stumbled upon chayote squash (native to Central and South America) while grocery shopping one spring and was delighted by the taste and texture of the squash. Chayote squash is lighter than typical hearty squashes like butternut, or acorn. This allows the squash to be ideal for the transition from winter to spring when our bodies need something nutrient-dense and yet not too heavy. Plus, this curry is a great way to try chayote squash for the first time. It’s a one-pot, comfort meal that is easy to make and satisfying. Enjoy!
2 tbsp avocado oil
½ red onion, chopped
12-15 mini orange and red peppers (you may sub 3-4 bell orange/red bell peppers if you prefer)
1’’ knob of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sea salt
2 medium-sized chayote squash, peeled, stone removed, and chopped
1 lb chicken thighs, chopped (optional)
1 can (15.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk
Your choice serving accompaniments – I use brown rice, lime wedges, and chopped cilantro
Heat avocado oil on medium heat in a large pot (I use a dutch oven)
Once hot, add onion, stir with wooden spoon until well-coated with oil
Let simmer until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes)
Add peppers, ginger, and garlic, stir well, cook for another 5 minutes
Add spices and salt, stir well
Add chayote squash, stir well, cook for another 5 minutes
Add chicken, stir well
Add coconut milk and an equal amount of water (I pour coconut milk into the pot and fill up the can with water to get remaining coconut milk into the pot)
Stir well, liquid should just cover vegetables and chicken (add more if needed)
Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer pot for 15 minutes
Serve with grain of choice and other toppings
Best in: Winter, Spring
Best for: Suitable to all doshas
Notes: This dish is easily made vegan by swapping chicken thighs for a plant-based alternative. I recommend trying with butter beans (1 can, or about 1 ½ cups if using dried, then rehydrated), but you could easily add tofu, tempeh, or whatever else speaks to you. If cooking with a plant-based alternative, cook as directed and add your option in place of chicken.
You can also use cashews in the place of meat/plant-based alternative to add a crunchy, new texture to the dish (add cashews just minutes before the dish is done simmering).
Play with your pairings to make this dish versatile. Instead of serving with brown rice, for instance, try with cooked cauliflower rice, or lightly sautéed plant noodles (squash-based noodles in the fall/winter, and zucchini noodles in spring).