Finally it gets hot! And that means I can show you all those fast and light dishes guaranteed to be perfect additions to your weight-loss diet. This one has to be my favorite because not only it is fast and easy to prepare, it’s also packed with nutrition and flavors using only 6 ingredients, and I already counted the olive oil. Another reason is because of the chayote.
For those of you who don’t know about this beloved vegetable of Vietnam, this is one of the magic 3 vegetables in Vietnamese cuisine, along with potato and carrot. They’re the magic 3 because they’re so versatile, can be found all year round and they don’t need lots of spices to be made into satisfactory meals. Chayote (also chayote squash or chayote fruit), in Vietnamese is called su su which is a French word (chouchou: beloved), is a plant in the gourd family. What we use in this recipe is the fruit of this plant. Vietnamese also eat the chayote young stems but that’s another story, let’s get back to our fruit. (At first you won’t find it look like a beloved fruit but wait till you taste it)
This fruit is rich in water, potassium, zinc, dietary fiber, vitamins B6 and C, all of those make it weight-loss diet friendly. When cooked, the taste of chayote is naturally sweet. Depends on how you cook it, chayote can be juicy and crunchy or buttery and sweet. I read that in some other countries, people eat the young chayote without removing the skin. In Vietnam we only eat big juicy chayote so if you know how young chayote tastes like, I’d love to hear about it. Big juicy chayotes (the ripe ones) mean you need to peel their skin in a certain way to avoid sticky-hands-disaster, but first let me share with you how to choose a good chayote.
How to choose good chayote – Choose ones that are firm, with shiny and even skin of light green color, avoid ones that have scratches or areas of different colors (bruises). I also recommend not to choose the ones with thorns near the chayote seam as that means they’re too ripe and are not appetizing (it’d feel like you’re chewing on something that you shouldn’t, like paper). Now that you choose the best chayote out there, take it home and do the next step or store it in the fridge.
How to peel chayote – You should always wear gloves for protection as peeled chayote releases a sticky glue that can stick up your skin for days. Use a peeler to remove all the skin. When it comes to the seam at the top of the chayote, cut diagonally to remove all the skin. Cut vertically the chayote in half and remove the seed or you can leave it on as the seed is edible. Wash off the sticky glue left from the chayote.
Now that we finished peeling chayote, let’s dive into our easy recipe!
Ingredients: (1 serving as main dish or 2 servings as side dish)
75 gr tender beef, no fat (thinly sliced)
1 medium chayote of about 250 gr (peeled and cut into stripes)
5 stems of Asian chive (cut into stripes of 5cm long)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
½ tsp salf
1 tbsp olive oil
Ready in 20 minutes
1. Put 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet on high heat. After 1 minute or until the oil is heated, add the sliced beef with 1 tbsp of oyster sauce, a pinch of salt and stir-fry quickly for 1 minute. The high heat prevent the beef to release water so all the flavors and juice will be preserved in each slice of beef. After 1 minute of stir-frying, you can put the beef in a bowl to add it at the last step.
2. In the same skillet and on high heat, there should be a bit of oil left or you can add more, add the chayote stripes and stir-fry constantly. The chayote at first is firm, but then will turn flexible and easy to manage. Add the rest of salt and keep stir-frying for 5 minutes if you want a crunchy texture or 8 minutes if you want a soft, buttery texture. Either ways the chayote still retains its natural sweetness.
3. Lastly add the stir-fried beef of the 1st step and Asian chive. Give a good mix then take off the heat.
Did I highlight how easy this recipe is? Serve it hot and dive right in.
Asian chive adds sweetness and different texture to the dish but if you don’t like it or if you can’t find it, you can substitute it with scallion/green onion. And while we’re talking about ingredients, you can also add grounded black pepper at the last step to enhance the flavor and use soy sauce to elevate the stir-fried beef.
Enjoy this Vietnamese recipe!
P/S: You may wonder where I disappeared to the last few weeks. Hey, it’s not a case of alien abduction, I got a trip to wonderland = Japan! Stay tuned for highlights of my trip there and tips for your next trip to Japan ;)
Cover photo: Thao Uyen
A melting pot experience, in more than one way. Welcome to our Epicurean adventure!