What makes authentic Vietnamese food so unique is that it usually has some really simple ingredients and minimal amount of ingredients, but they generally have a ton of flavor. This includes what's known as Trai Su Xao Thit Bo, which is a stir fry with ground pork and chayote.
Chayote, also known as chocos, is what gives this dish their signature identity. While Viet pork and chayote stir fry is a lesser-known Vietnamese dish that you may not be familiar with, it is really delicious and worth trying. Read on to learn how to make Vietnamese pork and chayote stir fry at home in an easy way.
All About Vietnamese Chayote and Pork Stir Fry
Vietnamese chayote stir fry has a really great textures. The crunch pairs really well with a protein. The flavor of the chayote doesn't really pack a punch on its own. But when you use the right ingredients to make this dish, it is a plate of utter goodness.
The stir fry isn't too heavy or rich. It is light yet savory at the same time. The great thing about this stir fry is that you can make it crispy, soupy, or saucy according to your preferences. Since the ingredients are very minimal, a lot of the flavor comes from the choice of protein. This is why pork is a great choice for this stir fry. The result is simple yet phenomenal which some rice.
Regional Variations of This Recipe
Even though the traditional Vietnamese version uses pork sirloin as a protein in this dish, you can substitute it. In the recipe below, I substitute it with ground pork just for ease of cooking on a weeknight. However, there are many regional variations of this dish. As the ingredients are really simple, it is easy to play around with other proteins with chayote.
What Else Is Chayote Used In Vietnamese Food
Chayote itself is a really versatile vegetable. It gives you a lot of room to switch things up. So if you are not a fan of pork, go ahead and use beef, chicken, or shrimp instead. The dish will be equally tasty and delicious.
Chayote has many uses in Vietnamese cuisine. Stir-fried chayote is also cooked with shrimp and beef in many other regional variations of this dish. Chayote is also used to make many variations of squash soups and stews that are really light yet flavorful. A unique use of chayote is with eggs. Egg pairs really well with the slightly sweet taste of chayote.
Substitute for Chayote
Chayote belongs to the squash family. Even though it isn't exactly the same as any other squash, it does have major similarities. However, Chayote is tough to come by at regular grocery stores. You have the best chance of finding them at southeast Asian grocery stores (especially when they are in season).
However, if you are unable to find one there or if you simply don't live near an Asian store, you can substitute the veggie with other squashes such as zucchini or yellow summer squash. Another less popular substitute is cucumber even though it is not the first choice as a substitute. The texture of chayote is a lot like cucumber, which is why cucumber works in this dish too. Even though the taste of this vegetable is quite mild, it can be used in many ways.
Tips and Tricks Before Cooking
If this is your first time working with chayote, it can be a bit scary to cut it without having any idea about how to do it. When you have the right instructions and tools, it is actually a really easy process.
A paring knife is the best choice to approach cutting chayote. However, it is good to keep a peeler and a chef's knife nearby. Chayote releases a white substance when you cut it. It's very sticky. To prevent it from coming in contact with your skin, wear gloves or oil your hands.
Use the peeler to peel off the skin if you prefer it that way. Cut the chayote in half, lengthwise. Cut the two halves lengthwise once again. Go ahead and remove the seeds and any other uneven or rigged parts. Chop the chayote into bite-sized pieces or strips.
Asian Grocery Store List
The main ingredient in this dish is chayote, which is an Asian ingredient in itself. Other than that, there are a few other ingredients that are more widely available at Asian stores rather than local supermarkets.
If you explore the vegetable aisle of an Asian grocery store, you may notice a pale green, pear-shaped vegetable that looks a lot like fruit. It is called chayote (also referred to as chocos). It can usually be found near the squashes and gourds.
The texture of chayote is most accurately described as a mix between potato and cucumber. It also has similarities with unripened honeydew. Chayote is great because of the crunch that it adds to the dish.
Thai Birds Eye Chili
Thai bird's eye chilies are infamous for their heat. A little goes a long way, but you have the freedom to adjust the heat to your likeness. Although heat is the most recognizable factor about these chilies, they do have a distinct flavor.
Thai bird's eye chilies can be found at any Asian grocery store at any time. You can store them in your freezer if you buy them in bulk and thaw them whenever you need some.
Shallots are a really common base ingredient in Asian cooking. They are only slightly different from regular onions and just a bit pricier. They are readily available at all Asian grocery stores. Just pick them up when you are buying the other ingredients for the dish.
Oyster sauce can also be found at the Asian grocery store. I prefer the boat or panda brand.
I would recommend grabbing the squid brand for this recipe.
How to Make Vietnamese Pork and Chayote Stir Fry
This recipe is really easy to follow. Just gather all the ingredients before you start cooking and prep the chayote and the pork accordingly. Stir-fries are done quite quickly, so make sure you have everything ready at your cooking station.
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- ¼ cup of shallots, sliced thinly
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 6 Thai birds eye chilis, minced (optional)
- 1 tablspoon oyster sauce
- 2 chayote, julienned
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup of cilantro, chopped
- 2 scallions, chopped roughly
- Mix together ground pork, sugar, ground pepper, fish sauce, and salt. Allow to marinade for ten minutes.
- Add vegetable oil to frying pan on medium heat. Add in garlic and Thai birds eye chilis until aromatic.
- Add in pork marinade. Continue breaking up the pork until cooked through. Add in julienned chayote until softened.
- Break two eggs into mixture. Stir around in pan.
- To serve, garnish with cilantro and scallions.
You can substitute ground pork with your protein of choice.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 416Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 886mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 28g
What to Serve with Viet Chayote and Pork Stir Fry
The most common way to serve this stir fry is with plain jasmine rice. Other than that, it is also great with vermicelli noodles.
Summary About Vietnamese Chayote and Pork Stir Fry
And that's it! If you are looking for a simple yet flexible dish to try out from Vietnamese cuisine, this is perfect for you. This is a great way to explore new cuisine and get acquainted with Asian flavors.
Chayote is not a very common squash in most countries. But once you have familiarized yourself with its texture and taste, you will find many ways to utilize it. Try making this Viet pork and chayote stir fry at home by following each step correctly and you definitely won't regret it.
Other Authentic Vietnamese Dishes
- Crunchy Vietnamese Pork Belly
- Vietnamese Fried Quail
- Vietnamese Braised Spare Ribs with Pineapple
- Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork