Sichuan-style Chayote – 四川佛手瓜
In Chinese, the Chayote, a member of the Squash family, is known as 四川佛手瓜 (Fóshǒuguā), which translates as ‘Buudha’s Palm Melon’. It is lovely eaten raw, but it works very nicely in many stir-fried dishes. Here, the vegetable is prepared in Sichuan-style, and stir-fried with ground Pork, along with Red Bell Pepper, slivered Green Chili, and coarsely ground Sichuan Peppercorns.
Ingredient Notes for Sichuan-style Chayote
The Recipe Card below calls for coarsely ground Sichuan Peppercorns 花椒 (Huājiāo). You can purchase this ground but the texture, and often the flavor, is best if you use whole Peppercorns and grind them yourself.
Don’t over-grind the Peppercorns. As you can see in the above picture, there are still large fragments of Pepper in the little dish. It isn’t critical, but you should make an effort to remove as many of the tiny hard black kernels from the rest of the peppercorns. They have no flavor and can be gritty.
The Recipe Card merely specifies Green Chili slivers and you are free to choose any sort you like. I am using the Poblano Chili you see above. These are generally the most mild of the Chilies and, as you can see, one of the larger varieties. Jalapeños will work well, and pack a bit more heat, or you could go even higher up the Scovil sale and use Serrano’s or one of the Thai varieties.
How to Make 四川佛手瓜
First, put your slivered Chili and slivered Bell Pepper in two separate bowls, then sprinkle them each with a half-teaspoon of salt. Let them both sit for a minimum of fifteen minutes to soften, then discard any liquid they throw off. You may wish to give them a quick rinse on cold water to get rid of a little more Salt, but be sure to give the shreds a quick squeeze afterwards.
Place the Chayote shreds in a bowl and toss them first with a half-teaspoon of Salt and then the Lemon juice. Leave this to sit and marinate for at least fifteen minutes.
When you are ready to cook, heat a little oil in a pan over moderately high heat and stir fry the Pork, breaking it up into little granules as you work. When the meat is starting to brown here and there, add in the Soy Sauce and the White Pepper. Continue frying until the Soy Sauce is absorbed then remove the Pork to a bowl for the time being.
Next. Heat a little more oil in the pan and quickly fry the Ginger shreds and the ground Sichuan Pepper until they give off their aromas.
Add in the Bell Pepper shreds and stir-fry for a minute or so and then add the Green Chili along with the Sugar. Continue cooking for another half-minute.
Finally, add in the Chayote along with the Pork and stir-fry until all is heated through. Plate and serve immediately.
Your Recipe Card:
Sichuan-style Chayote – 四川佛手瓜
- 1 Medium Chayote sliced in thin strips.
- ½ Cup Lean ground Pork
- ½ Cup Red Bell Pepper sliced into slivers
- ½ Cup Green Chili sliced into slivers
- 2 Tbsp. fresh Ginger sliced into thin slivers
- 1 Tbsp. Coarsely ground Sichuan Peppercorns
- 1 Tbsp. Light Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp. Sugar
- 1 pinch White Pepper
- 1 ½ tsp. Salt.
- 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice.
- Place the Chayote strips in a bowl, toss with one half teaspoon of Salt and the Lemon Juice, and let marinate for at least fifteen minutes.
- Place the Red Bell Pepper and Green Chili in separate bowls, toss each with one half teaspoon of Salt, and let sit until softened slightly.
- Fry the Pork over medium heat until just beginning to brown, stir in the Soy Sauce and the White Pepper and cook for a minute or so longer, then remove the Pork to a bowl for the moment.
- Fry the Ginger and the Sichuan Pepper over moderately high heat in a little oil until they give off their aromas.
- Add the Red Bell Pepper and fry for a minute or so, then add the Green Chili and the Sugar and continue to cook for another half-minute.
- Add the Chayote and the Pork and stir-fry until all is heated through and plate for service.