Friday, April 8, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Chinese Jamaican Stir-Fried Chicken with Chayote

WW wokking through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young

A most delicious stir-fry! Served with rice, you have yourself a complete meal. 

The recipe calls for two not so ordinary ingredients: Pickapeppa Sauce and Chayote (pronounced Chahy-oh-tee or Chī'ōdē) squash, which also goes by the names of vegetable pear, christophene, chocho and mirlton. Depending on what article you read, it is either a fruit or vegetable. I'm sticking with fruit.

 Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Chicken, dark soy sauce, garlic, cornstarch, salt, oil
Bowl 2: Onions
Bowl 3: Salt
Bowl 4: Chayote
Bowl 5: Water
Bowl 6: Pickapeppa Sauce, ketchup
Bowl 7: Salt

This stir-fry begins by adding the chicken to the wok first, which is allowed to sear and stir-fried briefly before it is removed from the wok (to be added back in later). Oil is added to the wok with a bit of salt and the chayote - this is stir-fried for a short time, and then some water is added, the wok is covered for about five seconds, uncovered, stirred, and covered again until the chayote is crisp-tender. The chicken is added back in along with the sauce mixture and a bit more salt, and stir-fried just until the chicken is cooked through. Yep, that simple.


I have purchased chayote at my local grocery in the past, however, this time, I had to make a trip to 99 Ranch, my local Asian market. If you can't find chayote, you could substitute zucchini; though I may skip or shorten the time of the steaming portion of the recipe, for zucchini is pretty tender from the start, whereas chayote is crisp like an apple, as I prefer my vegetables on the firmer side.

I found it easier to peel the chayote after slicing it in half and giving it a quick rinse with water (it can be slippery); I was able to get a better grip on it, and also able to get to more of the skin in the creases at the top.

The Pickapeppa Sauce (aka Jamaican ketchup), I did not even check my local markets for, and went straight to World Market, knowing I had seen it there before. Other members mentioned they did find it at their Safeway and Ralphs supermarkets - so maybe it is not so uncommon after all.

This sauce tasted to me, a lot like A-1 steak sauce with a dose of vinegar. However, mixed with ketchup and stir-fried along with the other ingredients, it had a totally different flavor - nothing at all like steak sauce.

Andy said this was another A+ meal; and on his second helping he voiced "this is way good.."

It is said that the seed of the chayote is a delicacy in Mexico. So of course I had to give it a try. The seed was very tender, with a "green" flavor, almost grass-like; it was just OK - not something I would have a hankering for in the future.

(Update: to clarify, I ate the seed raw, Grace informed me that it should be cooked.)

I did have an extra chayote that I used for making this raw, light, crisp salad for my lunch. I came across a recipe on Canadian Living, that used a very simple citrus (lime) vinaigrette to toss partially cooked chayote in, along with some cilantro. I chose not to boil the chayote, and just sliced it very thin with a mandoline. Raw chayote is crisp like an apple, with a very mild flavor - similar to a cucumber, sans the sweetness.

Check out the following links for more information on this interesting fruit:

We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. You will find the recipe on page 133 of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find at your local library.  


  1. Cathy, I'm glad to hear you cooked the seed and wasn't wowed. I was surprised by the tip that it was a delicacy. It doesn't sound like anything I'd like. I'm thrilled this stir-fry received the Andy A+ rating!

    1. Actually I ate the seed raw!! (head slap) Ha ha ha. Maybe I should have tried it cooked.

  2. This looks so delicious. I'm so looking forward to making this! That salad sounds so good and I love all of the research you did!

    1. Thanks Karen. I'm sure you will enjoy this one as well. The stir-fry has a wonderful flavor.

  3. This looks amazing – Andy is very lucky! I love the combination of Chinese and Jamaican cuisine.


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