growing chuchu in the garden

chuchu gojju

31st July 2017


Chuchu, (commonly known as Seemebadanekaayi in South India, or chayote squash in Mexico) is a pear-shaped, light-green vegetable in the gourd family. It has a crunchy texture and a mild, sweet taste. Chuchu is a perennial vine that climbs over fences, shrubs, and even on trees. There is no need to peel the skin in the young, tender pears. However, larger and over-mature fruits need light peeling using a vegetable peeler. When in season, you can find it in most supermarkets here in Portugal.  I make this weekly for a simple no-fuss dinner – served with brown basmati rice and an extra drizzling of ghee.  I also use them when making a simple dal – grated carrot and finely chopped chuchu is a magical combination.

To sprout:  Each chuchu contains a single seed which is enclosed within the fruit and cannot be separated from the fruit.  To sprout, place the whole fruit on a light-filled window sill and within days the chuchu will sprout from the broad end.  You can also set the whole fruit directly in the soil and within a week or two will sprout.

chuchu sprout - 1

Plant 1 chuchu vine per household of 4 persons. Chuchu is a vigorous climber; set a sturdy trellis or support in place at planting. Do not allow maturing fruit to come in contact with the soil; it will spoil and germinate while still attached to the vine. Chuchu will be ready for harvest when the fruit is tender and about 4 to 6 – inches in diameter, usually 120 to 150 days after planting. Cut chuchu from the vine with a knife or hand-pruner and harvest before the flesh gets hard.


chuchu gojju

Serves 3 – 4.

Recipe shared by our teacher Ganapati Aarya, as part of the Jivana Yoga Programme. 

Chuchu gojju is best served with rice or dosa – the dosa flavour and rice texture mixes well with the flavour of this dish.  It can also be served with chapati, however, it is best to decrease the amount of tamarind (sour) added.  Eggplant or capsicum can replace the chuchu, additional capsicum may also be added.


1 medium/280g chuchu, chopped into small uniformed pieces

1 cup/250mL water

1½ tsp fine rock salt

3 heaped tsp brown sugar/jaggery

¼ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped


¼ cup/60ml peanut or coconut oil

½ tsp black mustard seeds

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

⅛ tsp turmeric powder

15 fresh curry leaves

sambar – coconut paste

¾ cup/60g dried shredded coconut

2 heaped tsp Sambar powder- moderately spiced

1 tsp tamarind paste

2 cups/500mL water – divided

to serve 

brown rice



1. In a pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil, add mustard seeds; when seeds turn grey and pop, add asafoetida, turmeric powder and curry leaves  – continue to fry for a few seconds.

2.  Add the chuchu and 1 cup water, simmer, uncovered until the chuchu softens – about 15 minutes. Add salt and jaggery, mix well.

sambar – coconut paste

3.  In a blender, place the dried coconut, sambar powder, tamarind paste and 1½ cups water – blend until smooth, approximately 1 minute.   

4.  Add sambar-coconut paste into gojju, using remaining ½ cup water to swish the blender clean.

5.  Allow to simmer rapidly for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, then turn off heat and add the coriander.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then taste, and adjust the sweet, sour or salt to your preference.  The gojju will thicken as it cools. 


Goodness shared by Stacey

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