I tried sautéing the leaves a few days ago, and since I was concerned about the toxicity, I cooked it too long. This resulted in crunchy shriveled up Chaya leaves that tasted terrible, kind of like burnt crunchy foil. Failure... That went straight in the compost pile. Not even the healthy nutritional value of the leaves could make me eat that :)
Then I found a recipe for Chaya soup online that looked easy and possibly good. Here are the ingredients:
20 tender Chaya leaves washed.
2 cups of organic whole milk
4 fresh leaves of basil
1 crushed garlic clove
1 small onion diced
1 cup of vegetable bouillon
pepper and salt to your taste.
I didn't have basil (I know crazy right!) so I substituted parsley. I also didn't have vegetable bouillon so I used a mixture of chicken and tomato bullion instead. I also used regular milk instead of organic milk. For those of you who do not know me, I grew up on a dairy farm in Texas. We treated our cows when they were sick with medicine (we were not going to let them die) and I drank the milk straight from the barn for many many years. We were and still are very healthy. Needless to say, I am not a strong believer in organic milk and used regular milk for this recipe. But, I am sure the outcome is similar with both types.
Now for the steps.
1) Saute the garlic and onions in a bit of oil or water for about a minute .
2) Add the Chaya leaves and bouillon and cook for about 10 minutes or until you notice that all the Chaya leaves look blanched.
3) Add the milk, turn off the heat and let it cool. You only need to let it cool enough to put in your blender.
4) Place all of this in a blender and mix it until it is smooth.
5) Pour back into your pan and cook for another 5-10 minutes (Don't boil).
I followed all of the above steps and had the soup ready when Aaron came home from work. He suggested adding some breadfruit chunks to the soup so it was more filing. That was a great idea! And I already had some breadfruit cooked in the fridge so it was an easy addition. I think the soup would have been even better with some of the breadfruit mashed so the soup could be thicker.
Here is the final product and it was delicious! I personally think the Chaya tasted just a tiny bit like bacon in this soup. Nutritious and tastes a bit like bacon? Fantastic!