While chayote squash has an exotic-sounding name with a shape to match, it's not a challenge to fry. Chayote is native to Mexico, where it was first cultivated by the Aztecs. It spread its way to Latin America, showing up stuffed, boiled, baked and roasted. Sauteing brings out the delicate flavor of the squash. For an appetizer that's a little different, serve crisp, deep-fried chayote with ranch dip, salsa or a spicy, tomato-based salad dressing.
Things You'll Need
- Cutting board
- Cooking oil
Wash the chayote and pat dry. Slice it in half. The seed should also slice in half without much of a struggle. Remove the seed with a spoon. If the skin is somewhat tough, peel it using a sharp knife. However, in most cases you can leave the skin on. Slice, dice or cut into large chunks.
Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Add a slick of cooking oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the chayote squash.
Cook until the squash turns a bit darker and the flesh is easily pierced with a fork but not mushy, about 10 to 30 minutes depending on how thick the squash is cut.
Wash and thoroughly dry the squash. Cut it in half and scoop out the seed with a spoon. Peel the squash if the skin is tough, otherwise leave it on, then cut into even slices.
Put a good handful of flour in a plate along with seasonings such as cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic or onion powder, salt and pepper. You could also use a beer or tempura batter instead of dredging it in flour.
Dredge the chayote slices in the seasoned flour or dip in the batter. If you've used a batter, let the excess batter drip back into the bowl after you've dipped the slices.
Heat the oil in the deep-fryer until it reaches 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower the chayote slices into the fryer with tongs, or put them in a fryer basket and lower the basket into the oil. Don't crowd the fryer or the temperature drops too much and your chayote will become greasy.
Fry the chayote for 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Taste test a slice so you know if you need to add or subtract a minute to the frying time.
Tips & Warnings
- Treat chayote squash as you would summer or zucchini squash. The texture and taste are similar.
- Alter the flavor of the chayote squash. It's used in Mexican cooking, so try adding sliced onions, garlic, jalapeno peppers and sweet peppers while the chayote is sauteing.
- Don't overload the deep-fryer with chayote; it may bubble up and over the edge of the fryer, causing a mess and possibly burns.
- Remove any soft or discolored spots from the squash before frying.
- Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen; Rick Bayless
- Classic Mexican Kitchen; Jane Milton
- Party Food Small and Savory; Barbara Kafka
- Los Angeles Times:Chayote: The Most Delicious Squash You've Never Heard Of
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images