The Cantonese literally named choko fruit as Buddha’s hand melon (佛手瓜 fut sao gwa) mainly because it looks like a pair of palms clasping together in prayer and furthermore,it is often used in the temples as an alter offering to the gods.I am just wondering whether the gods must have blessed this humble fruit by making it suitable and versatile for such a great varieties of things.
Ways to eat this vegetable:
There are one hundred and one ways of eating chokos. In angmoh cooking(western style cooking), chokos are halved and stuffed with all sorts of fillings - rice, bacon, tomato, onion, cheese and more. They can be served with a sauce, or simply steamed and buttered with a grinding of salt and pepper. In fact, it can it can be added and substituted for everything in any recipe. They can be used much like courgettes. It can be added in casseroles and to bulk up the volume of a dish in frugal cooking. Chokos are even used in desserts, tarts, breads, jams or cakes. They are also good in fruit and vegetable salads. Chokos can be pickled or used as a base for relishes.
How to prepare choko:
Large chokos need to be peeled before cooking. The cut flesh of the raw fruit exudes a slippery sap which is difficult to wash off one's hands, so if sensitive skin is a problem, oil hands lightly or protect hands with thin rubber gloves before peeling chokos. Cut the choko in quarters and remove the seed like you would remove the core of an apple. Small chokos, fewer than 5 cm, don’t need to be peeled and are perfect for stir-fries.
Choko is great for making Chinese soup. It can be substituted for hairy melon or winter melon as an ingredient in the soup. We usually like to replace hairy melon or winter melon with choko because it has a firmer texture and cheaper at this time of the year. Here is a simple Choko with dried scallops and peppercorns soup recipe.
Choko with Dried Scallops and Peppercorns Soup:
• 3 Chokos, skinned, seed removed cut into quarters
• 1 Carrot, skinned and cut into pieces
10 pcs. dried scallops
• 500g Pork Ribs
• 1750ml Water
• Salt to taste
• 10 to 15 pepper corns
How to do it:
1. Blanch ribs with boiling water and drain.
2. In a pot, add all ingredients except salt.
3. Bring to boil.
4. Turn down fire and simmer for another hour and a half until choko is soft
5. Add salt to taste