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The jackfruit returns

The seasonal prickly vegetable reinvents itself with elan

For Mumbai-based chef Conrad D’Souza, the quintessential Indian kathal brings in a rush of childhood memories from Mangalore. “It was my father’s native place, and each time he would return from there, the huge jackfruit consignment would arrive with him,” smiles Conrad.

“So I experimented a great deal with the kathal. From frying jackfruit chips served up with a spicy, curd-based dip to jackfruit ice cream bursting with the deliciously earthy flavours of the fruit. In his new menu at his restaurant Out of the Blue in Mumbai, Conrad is perfecting his grilled fish served with a side salad. “Sauting jackfruit with a hint of garlic, then smoking it up a bit and tossing it up with chilli oil to complement the fish,” he says. “The earthy, not-too-sweet complexion of jackfruit makes it a great foil.”

Love the Taste, Loathe the Smell

The jackfruit is making a comeback, from being the staple ingredient in south Indian recipes to fusion specialities in restaurants in varying avatars.

Few know that the humble, wholesome, unattractive fruit is a virtual powerhouse of nutrition. Dubbed as the “vegetarian meat”, it packs a good amount of fibre and revs up the glow on your face through the anti-oxidants in its soft, fleshy bulbs. Even the seeds of the palakkai jump into dishes as fibrous, vitamin-enriched warriors and are known to ward off constipation.

Shilpi Madan for New Indian Express

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