Achoca with Sweet Red Peppers

Achoca (Cyclanthera) is sometimes referred to as a stuffing cucumber. It is native to the Andes and much cooked in Bolivia and is also grown and eaten in Bhutan. Recipes are difficult to find, most commonly it is stuffed with a rice & meat combination.  I have made this but found filling small fruits rather time consuming. They can also be filled with cheese and baked. These are good sliced and used with mixed veggie stir fries. In Bolivia, garlic is standard with achoca so this recipe is extra generous. This mild vegetable picks up other flavors and seasonings. I like the appearance of the halved fruits, they cook easily in a skillet with high sides. In this photo fruits ranged from 2” to 5” in length.
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of oil
3 large cloves of garlic coarsely chopped (1.5 tablespoons)
½  to one cup sweet red pepper strips
1 pound or six cups of achoca halves, scooped free of seeds and pith
1 teaspoon or more Siracha sauce

With any stir fry it is best to have all the prep work done before cooking begins. Scoop out any loose material and seeds from the Achoca halves. Dried mature seeds may be used in a future garden. Heat skillet, when hot add garlic and in a few seconds add pepper strips. Last add achoca halves and stir and turn until they are softened about 5 minutes. If they are not yet tender cook for another one or two minutes, add Siracha sauce and salt to taste. This amount of siracha gives a spicy but not overpowering amount of heat but taste your way to your own preference.

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3 Responses

  1. I’ve grown both the small-fruited and larger-fruited varieties for several years. My original seed came from Bolivia, but about 4 years ago a friend in Bhutan sent me some, as well. I use the young vine shoots, about 12 inches of the growing tips, lightly steam them and toss with some garlic, tamari and a tiny bit of vinegar and they’re delicious. The pods are also good raw, in salads.

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