Friday, December 23, 2011

Sautéed Su Su–No guarantees your kid will like it, but it’s good!

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The Chayote, or as my family refers to it in Vietnamese, su su is a very versatile vegetable. Well, technically it is a fruit, but as with tomatoes, it’s treated not so much as a fruit but more like a vegetable or squash.

This year, my family has a vine in the backyard, with a fair number of fruits. Due to a combination of perhaps bad luck and horrid squirrels, we haven’t been harvesting as much as some of our other friends have done, who have been abled to boast harvests of hundreds of the fruit this year.

Happily, one family was generous enough to grace us with a big box of them, freeing me up to pursue a slightly different take on su su than is typical for my family.


My family typically stir fries it or uses it as an ingredient in a Vietnamese soup called canh. I’ll probably post those later, but for this post I’ve opted to do something a bit more accessible.

While my mother does stir fry the chayote with several other ingredients she rarely sautés it by itself to stand on its own, so that’s why I opted to try out the Chayote Squash Side Dish contributed to allrecipes by Navy S.

The ingredients used add a lot of flavor to the relatively mild chayote, but at the same time allows the fruit to stand out on its own as an excellent side. Olive oil, salt, sugar, red wine vinegar, garlic and black pepper make a showing. Red pepper flakes are optional, and I decided to add those as well.

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My family always peels chayote, but I’ve read that this is unnecessary for many preparations. I think that Asian folks are a bit more heavy handed with peeling fruits and vegetables perhaps. Anyone care to comment?

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Note that the, err, crease at the bottom requires a bit more effort to peel.

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Cutting it in half allows this work to be done a bit more thoroughly.

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There, all done.

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The chayote is cut into strips, and the garlic is minced too.

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Salt, pepper, sugar, salt is combined for ease of tossing in later. I added some of our family’s home ground red pepper flakes, which are much hotter than the store bought kind, hence the somewhat piddling amount.

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The rest of the preparation is elementary. Olive oil is heated in a pan.

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Then everything but the vinegar is tossed in and sautéed for a few minutes. Then you add the vinegar, sauté for a few more minutes, and you are ready to serve!

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It’s a very attractive bit of green for your table. The recipe suggests this as a side for chicken or fish, but I will say that in addition, it is excellent as an accompaniment to a Vietnamese meal with rice.

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Chayote Squash Side Dish, adapted from allrecipes
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 chayote squash, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • .5 tsp. salt
  • .5 tsp. sugar
  • (Optional) .25 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add everything except the vinegar and toss everything to cook evenly, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Splash the vinegar onto the squash, cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes longer, until squash is wilts just a bit, but still retains crunch.
  4. Season with more salt or sugar if necessary.

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