Vietnamese Chayote Squash with Beef, or Su Su Xao Thit Bo, was one of my mom's dishes I always looked forward to. Thinly sliced beef caramelized with crunchy chayote squash, onion, and oyster sauce makes for a delicious, easy, and nutritious side dish.
What Is Su Su Xao Thit Bo?
Su Su means chayote squash, xao means stir-fried, and thit bo translates to beef. So, su su xao thit bo translates to stir fried chayote squash and beef.
Su Su Xao Thit Bo is incredibly easy and it's a great way to use up leftover steak. It only requires a handful of ingredients and like all stir-fry recipes, it comes together very quickly! Growing up, we'd eat a myriad of side dishes family-style with rice for dinner and this was my favorite one!
Why You'll Love it
- Chayote stir fry is a quick and easy recipe. From start to finish, it only takes 45 minutes!
- This is a great way to introduce a new vegetable into your diet.
- You only need a handful of ingredients for this Vietnamese chayote recipe. I love that it's a very economical and low-maintenance recipe.
- Su su is versatile and can be served with rice, noodles, or even on its own.
What is Chayote Squash?
Chayote squash resembles a pear with ridges. It has a mild taste and a delicious, crunchy texture. I often say the taste is a cross between a cucumber and a zucchini. Due to its mild nature, it's a very versatile ingredient that works well in any recipe. You can enjoy them raw, like in a salad, or cooked, like in a stir-fry, soup, or succotash.
Chayote squash originated in Central America and grows best in warm climates. You can find them at a Latin or Asian market, and some speciality stores like Whole Foods. Look for one that's even in color and firm to the touch. Store in the vegetable crisper in your fridge for 2-3 weeks.
- Thinly sliced beef: I like to buy pre-shaved beef for convenience, but my parents would usually slice a steak they had leftover in the freezer. Since it's a quick cook, I'd recommend a tender cut of beef like ribeye, filet mignon, flat iron, or flap steak.
- Fish sauce: To marinade the beef.
- Chayote squash: I absolutely love the texture of chayote squash! Even when it's tender and cooked through, it maintains a light crunch.
- Cooking oil: Avocado oil is my favorite oil to cook, fry, and sauté with because of its high smoke point (500°F) and neutral flavor.
- Onion and garlic: Classic aromatics to flavor this simple dish.
- Oyster sauce: An Asian pantry staple! It adds umami, sweetness, a little funkiness, and a pretty shine to the sauce.
- Water: To deglaze the pan and soften the vegetables.
How To Make It
- Marinade the beef. Season the beef with fish sauce, salt, and pepper. We only need a quick marinade since the beef is thinly sliced.
- Cook the beef. Heat some oil, then add the beef over high heat. Cook it to 80-90% of the way, stirring often. Then transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Sauté the veggies. If needed, add a small splash of oil. Then add onion and chayote with a pinch of salt. Stir fry the vegetables, cooking over high heat and stirring often, for about 5 minutes. The vegetables should begin to soften and lighten in color.
- Add garlic and oyster sauce. Stir until each piece is evenly coated and garlic is fragrant.
- Deglaze the pan. Pour in water and use your wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring until water is evaporated and vegetables are completely soft.
- Stir in the beef. Turn the heat down to low and stir in the beef until warmed through. Season to taste. Serve with rice, noodles, or your favorite starch.
How to Prepare Chayote Squash
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Be careful as there is a slick coating underneath the skin that may make the squash slippery. Rinse with warm water to make it easier to handle.
- Cut the chayote in half lengthwise, then into quarters.
- Use a paring knife to remove the seed and inner white layer. I make wedge cuts towards the center, like when removing the core of an apple.
- Thinly slice each quarter lengthwise.
- I recommend slicing the onion lengthwise (parallel to the poles) for even-sized slices. I usually cut it in half lengthwise, cut off the ends, then angle my knife about 60 to cut towards the center.
- After peeling the chayote squash, rinse it under warm water. There's a slippery, sticky film underneath the peel that can make the squash difficult to handle.
- While stir frying, stir continuously and cook over high heat. This ensures that the ingredients are in constant contact with the hot cooking surface. This creates flavor and allows it to cook faster.
Substitutions & Variations
- Substitute the beef with ground beef, chicken, or pork. You could also used cubed tofu or diced shrimp as well.
- Feel free to add more vegetables into this stir fry! Broccoli, sliced carrots, snap peas, or bok choy would be a great way to bulk up this dish.
- To make Su Su Xao Trung (with scrambled eggs), sauté the vegetables for 5 minutes and then push them to the edge of the pan. Add 1-2 eggs into the middle of the hot pan, season with salt and pepper, and quickly scramble. Slowly add in the vegetables and continue with the remainder of the recipe.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Let the Su Su Xao Thit Bo cool completely. Then place into an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freezing: Cook the recipe fully, then let cool to room temperature. Place in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or container with as much air removed as possible. Store in the freezer for 2-3 months. Best to let thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Reheating: Reheat Vietnamese squash in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway. If reheating from frozen, add a couple more minutes. You could also add the chayote squash to a pan over medium heat and reheat, stirring often. Add a splash of water if it looks dry.
In my opinion, chayote squash is like a cross between a cucumber and zucchini. It has a mild, lightly sweet taste with a sturdy, crunchy texture.
Keep it in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerate for 2-3 weeks. You could also par-boil and freeze it to preserve the squash.
Looking For More?
I love having a library of my family's recipe so more people can enjoy delicious Vietnamese food! Some of my favorites growing up were:
- Vietnamese Shrimp Toast
- Instant Pot Chao Ga (Vietnamese Rice Porridge)
- Vietnamese Chicken Curry (Ca Ri Ga)
- Vietnamese Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage (Xoi Lap Xuong)
- Vietnamese Stir Fried Macaroni with Beef (Nui Xao Bo) - great if you have leftover oyster sauce!
Vietnamese Chayote Squash with Beef (Su Su Xao Thit Bo)
- Add beef to a large bowl and season with fish sauce and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let marinade for 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add beef and quickly sear for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Then transfer to a plate and set aside.
- If needed, add a splash more oil. Add chayote, onion, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, over high heat until vegetables starts to soften.
- Add oyster sauce and garlic. Stir until oyster sauce is evenly distributed and garlic is fragrant.
- Add water to deglaze the pan and use your wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Keep cooking until most of the water is absorbed and vegetables start to get translucent. Stir in beef to warm through and season to taste.
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