Caigua/Achocha - cooking ideas?

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 37 weeks 6 days ago.

Having seen a mouthwatering recipe for a Peruvian potato salad and with the subject of Yuca/Cassava being brought up, I see an opportunity for my own Question about Caigua.

Maki recommended a UK based company called Real Seeds and I was intrigued with the vigorous climbing plant they call achocha. The plant is doing very well and I'm expecting to start harvesting fruits in about a month from now.

I'd be very grateful for ideas and recipes on how best to use them (I eat fish, but not any other kind of meat, I guess this will affect the sort of recipe I'm after... although I do use a vegetarian substitute for very lean mince called Quorn)

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Re: Caigua/Achocha - cooking ideas?

Hello!

Achocha fruits are best harvested young, before the hard black seeds start to mature - after that you have to cut them open and remove the seeds, or risk breaking your teeth :)

Some people eat the young ones raw, a bit like green pepper. I find them a bit too green, but they're nice cooked in anything you'd put a green pepper in. Real Seeds recommend slicing them onto a pizza; I've also heard of people making them into chutney. Once they start fruiting you should have plenty to experiment with!

chichi
Re: Caigua/Achocha - cooking ideas?

Just tried this vegetable/fruit for the first time stuffed like a pepper ( like in Mexico) or like a squash flower dipped in flour & water and fried. It was stuffed with ground beef, but I think a rice & cheese stuffing would be great. It's also used very much in soups, but not to overpower.

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 37 weeks 6 days ago.
Re: Caigua/Achocha - cooking ideas?

I went for a stay in Spain with the family and, a week after returning, I'm still trying to catch up again with life in London. I finally managed to get down to our miniscule 'allotment and harvest the mature achocha (weather got a lot colder very recently, so the vines are looking rather brown, I doubt there'll be many more achocha to come). I have a good few but I'm still not too sure what to do with them.
Just like Emma, I didn't much like them raw and immature (indeed, too green, like a tastleless cucumber infused with grass essence).

Mature, they're much better, not a great taste by itself (these are not a substitute for pimientos de Padrón!), but fried with plenty of garlic they're quite pleasant, particularly whilst still hot.

I'd love some guidance on stuffing them though, particularly without meat. I did a lot of rooting around Spanish language recipes but pretty much all the recipes involved stuffing caigues with meat and immersing the stuffed fruit in meat stock and simmering over a long period.
I guess I could try adapting a Greek dolmade recipe, but I suspect that if I stuffed the achocha with rice I'd just regret not having made vine leaf dolmades instead (it's a lot of effort). I will definitely try putting cheese inside them.

Very easy to grow, though. This year I planted one, next year I might plant two I have a lot of bare fence behind my little 'parcela' so the achocha doesn't take up hardly any of the actual earth I have to plant in.

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