Animals Australia: the voice for animals

Animals Australia: the voice for animals
Love life? Love all of life

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Chokoes, Chutney and Relish

In the long ago, there was a gripping novel and a suspenseful TV series, called The Day of the Triffids.  Who said vegetables can't take over the world!  Clearly, chokoes know they can and get on about doing it. Pictures above and below show the ever so humble choko vine taking over my courtyard at the rear of Home Beautiful and climbing the garage wall and roof.  The TV antenna (don't need it because we have Foxtel) has collapsed.  Could it be from the combined weight of vine and product?
And above is some of the product.
Chokoes (our Australian name for the above ) have many names in many countries.  To begin the growing process is really easy.  Buy a choko from your the local vegetable shop or department and then hide it - in a drawer or cupboard - out of the light.  After a couple of weeks, out of its larger end will come a sprout.  When the sprout is about 3-5cm, take the choko and put it in a pot or in the ground, needless to say the sprout will be above the soil.  
The tropics is sometimes too darn hot and frosts of course are not helpful.  The growing place for my vine is a rear courtyard in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne which is partially covered by a clear corrugated fibreglass roofing product near a brick wall.  Needless to say, please make sure that the soil is rich with compost.  Chokoes have marvellous tendrils to aid their quest for world domination.
Picture from here.
Queenslanders are particularly familiar with this fruit-bearing vine of vines.  It takes over back fencies and, in the era before sanitation came indoors, took over many a dunny.  The choko has even entered the vernacular.
Generally, our carnivore cobbers in Australia will be familiar with chokoes served with white sauce as an accompaniment to corned beef or other meats.  The choko is well travelled and there are lots of recipes on the net: everything from vegetable accompaniments to relishes and chutneys.. 

...and here are some recipes that (yes I have made them) hiding in my old handwritten recipe book.  They come from Mrs Pobar.  When I lived in Toowoomba long ago, I was a member and president of the Darling Downs Housewives and Homemakers Association (we were a consumer organisation with hundreds of members before women were in the workforce en masse and before governments had established Departments of Consumer Affairs!)  

The DDHHA was founded by the talented and indomitable Cherith Weis. I was a young Mum of about 25 when I joined and met Cherith, Founder and President.  I had been in community organisations before and am still a community involved person.  I afterward obtained a university degree which included Community Studies - but I think I had got a university education with Cherith and the Homemakers and all I needed was to formalise it into the language of academe!  So there are many memories of people, events, longings, and futures all tied up in these two choko recipes.

Mrs Pobar's Choko Pickles

1/2 dozen chokoes
1 lb. onions
1 cup salt
1 quart vinegar
3 cups sugar
2 tabs Plain Flour
2 tabs mustard
1 tabs curry powder
1/2 dess tumeric disolved in reserved vinegar.

Prepared vegetables and cover with hot water.  Stand overnight.  Add vinegar.  Boil until tender.  Add sugar.  Thicken with Plain Flour, Mustard, Curry Powder and tumeric dissolved in reserved vinegar.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

Choko Chutney
 8 chokoes
6 apples or tomatoes
3 lb onions
2 quarts vinegar
1 teas spice
1 teas ginger
1 cup flour
2 dess mustard
2 dess curry powder
Sultanas & raisins (optional)

Prepare vegetables and stand overnight.  Put vinegard on to boil.  Add vegetables, spice, ginger.  Boil until tender. Mix flour, mustard, curry powder and thicken.  Boil for 5 minutes. Add sultanas and raisins if desired.

Related reading
Tropical Food Gardens: A Guide to Growing Fruit, Herbs and Vegetables in Tropical and Sub-Tropical Climates
A Guide to Growing Fruit, Herbs and Vegetables in Tropical and Sub-Tropical Climates
Tropical Vegetables (Periplus Nature)