Tag Archives: fruit

‘Jack’ of all fruits

I was never a fan of jackfruit as a child. It’s only after getting married and travelling to Goa often, that I discovered the goodness and versatility of jackfruit. Phanas they call it. Rich in minerals, dietary fibre, vitamins, it contains no saturated fats and cholesterol. so eat it guilt-free.

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One can consume it as chips, as seed flour used in kebabs and puddings, in shredded form for gravies and stir-fry preparations. Not surprising therefore, that Chef Crystal Mendonca of The Peninsular Grand Saki Naka, Mumbai has created a special summer menu with several jackfruit delicacies in it. Thai stir fry jackfruit, jackfruit biryani and even jackfruit halwa. Must try some out. Chef Deepa Suhas Awchat too has created delectable recipes with jackfruit.

This spined oval fruit, is actually quite remarkable. The unripe one is edible, as is the ripe fleshy one and the seeds can be put to use as well. The fleshy part is so starchy that it needs to be cut with a knife that has been oiled.

I enjoy jackfruit chips which people in Kerala make in abundance. The fleshy jackfruit is pretty similar to chicken in texture.  Pannsachi shak is a seasonal delicacy for villagers in several pockets of Goa. I too have developed a taste for it. Once tasted a channa and jackfruit sukke on our way to Goa near Sawantwadi at a wayside eatery. The flavour still lingers in my mouth. Interestingly, the Mangaloreans prepare patholeos using jackfruit. People in Andhra prepare it with mustard and red chillies. It is fiery but lip-smacking.

A friend of mine once taught me to make jackfruit koftas and believe me they turned out really well. In fact one could safely pass them off as mutton koftas( meatballs) because of the colour and texture. Jackfruit pakoras with chutney are a perfect evening snack for summer.

Did you know that jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh? I did not. Well we all learn new things everyday. Don’t we?

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Mango Mania

What is summer without mangoes?? Tasteless and insipid. I love to gorge on mangoes and look forward to summers only for that. Nothing like a juicy, pulpy mango everyday. I can’t have enough of mangoes in summer in any form. Aamras and puri, mango milk shake, mangoes chopped into cubes with ice cream or yoghurt. I basically look for an excuse to eat a mango.

Apart from being consumed as a fruit, which most of us do, mango lends itself to several dishes in various cuisines. One can actually create many a culinary delight with this ‘King of fruits’. But of course desserts made of mango are the most delectable. A custard tart made from mango, freshly baked mango cheese cake, mango soufflé served with mango sauce. The options are plenty. It all depends upon how creative a chef can get. And mind you many pastry chefs can whip up magic with mangoes. Vasant Khot, the Sr. Pastry Chef at Holiday Inn Mumbai Intl Airport is one such example. I can never have enough of his desserts and specially those made with mango.

But in recent times, one dessert which has completely swept me off my feet is the Mango Meringue at Deliciae, Bandra and now in Powai.  That quaint little cafe has some extraordinary desserts. The crunchy meringue is filled with fresh alphonso mangoes with low fat fresh cream. It is absolutely sinful and simply melts in your mouth. Can’t wait to go back for some more before mangoes disappear from the market.

Though all of us love desserts made with mangoes, we often don’t realise how well mangoes can be integrated into savoury dishes too, either in their raw or ripe form. Seafood pairs well with raw mangoes and the flavour of mango, although strong is still very compatible with other flavours. Fish cakes with mango salsa are my favourite. I first tasted them in Singapore and the taste still lingers in my mouth. Mangoes apparently compliment pork too.  That’s not all, one can have Mango Margherita too. But my first choice for eating mangoes is and shall always remain in desserts only.

Wish I could be in Goa right now and enjoy the local varieties of mangoes and also attend the mango promotion at Grand Hyatt Goa. The chef there is creating exotic desserts and dishes using mangoes.