Chow–Chow or Chayote or in kannada it is called as “Seemey Badhneykaai” . It is a type of gourd , that can be used in various south Indian dishes. One very famous dish is “saagu” for Rava idli.
Buying the right Chayote : Look for a chayote that is not too chubby at the bottom and the skin should not be too rough . As this vegetable ages it starts growing thorns on its skin , that means its definitely not a good one to buy. Some have brown stripes on it , even that is not a good variety. Smaller the size of a chayote , better the taste. This does not need too much time to cook nor does it require much water , just about 150 – 200 ml of water is enough to cook one chopped chayote , it is a watery vegetable , as it cooks it leaves out its own water .
Clean and peel the chayote. Cut them into small cubes . Then pressure cook or microwave moong dal , I took about 1 cup of moong dal and cooked them, In a blender jar add required amount of salt for your taste then add a handful of coconut scrapings , 7 dry red chillies and 1 generous tablespoon of cumin / jeera. Add little water to this and grind it to a fine paste ( it should look like a chutney) . Cook the chayote in water , they should just about submerge. Sprinkle little salt to this and cook them until tender. Now add the cooked moong dal and add the ground paste too. Give this a nice stir and allow it to boil for about 6-7 minutes or until it blends well and thickens to your desired consistency. If it does not thicken after 6-7 min , make a paste of rice flour and water and add it to the kootu. Now get the tempering ready and add it to the kootu. Chow-Chow Kootu is ready to serve.
Another Variation to cook this kootu is :
Add the chopped chayote in a vessel , add 1 cup of moong dal and add the ground paste (Jeera , coconut scrapings , salt , dry red chillies) . Now add water to this until everything submerges and keep it in a pressure cooker and cook it up to 6-7 whistles. Meanwhile get the tempering (Mustard seeds crackled in a tbsp of ghee) ready and add it to the cooked kootu. Give it a nice stir. Check for the consistency , if it is too lean as mentioned above , make a paste of rice flour and water and add it to the kootu and mix. Give this a boil and serve it hot with plain rice. This method cooking is done when you are in short of time. This will take about 15-20 minutes to cook.
For the paste
- Cook 1 cup of moong dal( add water until the moong dal submerges or about 200 ml) in pressure cooker up to 4 whistles or cook it in microwave for 15 minutes in high power.
- Peel and chop the chow-chow or chayote into small cubes and put it ina vessel. Add enough water and cook this on medium heat. Sprinkle little salt for the chow-chow to cook faster.
- Take the ingredients mentioned under “For the paste” in a blender jar , add little water(about 6 tbsps) and grind this to smooth paste. It should look like a chutney.
- Now check if the chow-chow- or chayote is cooked by inserting a knife , if it goes in easily then it is cooked. Now add the cooked moong dal and the ground paste to this and mix. Let it boil for about 6 minutes. Keep stirring do not leave this boiling continuously on medium heat. At this stage it will easily stick to the bottom of the vessel and burn, Keep stirring in equal intervals.
- Take the kootu off the heat and take a tadka pan , on medium heat , crackle 1 tsp of mustard seeds and curry leaves in a tablespoon of ghee. Add this to the kootu and mix.
If the kootu is too lean or watery in consistency , make a paste of 1 tbsp of rice flour and 2 tbsps of water and add it to the kootu. Mix this and allow it to boil for an extra minute. This acts as a thickening agent.