I was introduced to achocha as a lost crop of Peru, since when I’ve heard it called “chochie” by a lady from Martinique and “crow beak bean” by a gardener in Norfolk where it was said to originate from Bhutan. Apparently it’s an international ingredient! However the recipe books aren’t full of ideas so I’ve put together a couple of tried and tested ideas.
Achocha may be eaten raw in salads. Best used when young; very small fruit can be eaten whole, but when larger the seeds become quite woody so split, de-seed and slice directly into the bowl. They are a bit like green peppers.
Large achocha - about 2-3" long can be split de-seeded and used to make a vegetable curry.
The quantity is up to you but about 14 will make enough for 2 if you are having a daal, rice and/or other curry.
1 onion - peel, chop and gently fry in oil or ghee. Add cumin seeds if you like about ½ teaspoon.
1lb potatoes peel, chop and add to onion.
1tsp chilli powder, coriander, turmeric.
(Better still use your own home grown peppers)
Add achocha. Stir to mix all vegetables together. Add 8oz of chopped tomatoes (Tinned is fine) or enough tomato puree and water to just cover. Simmer gently till potatoes are cooked through.
Serve with some chopped fresh coriander.
Prepare as above. Chop small. Place equal quantities of diced achocha, onions, swede in a large pot. Cover with vinegar. Stir in turmeric, coriander, and mustard seeds. Add sugar - about the same weight as the swede.
Bring to boil and cook slowly till the swede is soft. You can add caramel or use brown sugar to enrich the colour or a few drops of gravy browning if you want a really rich colour.
Ladle in to clean jars - use a slotted spoon if your pickle is too runny. Cover, label (that’s the bit I always forget and we have surprise jam at breakfast!) and store for 2 weeks or so to let the flavours develop before using. Once open use up quickly and always store in the fridge.