Jackfruit is one of the fruits that is quite sweet and the first thing that comes to most our minds is the Jackfruit Chips. Some of the traditional families in south use the seeds in preparation of Sambar. But I wondered if it can be added in preparing other food items. Well, when most of the Hoteliers & Restaurants are doing the Mango festivals, Chef Chakradhar – Executive Chef of Howard Johnson, thought on showcasing his Culinary experience in making dishes with Jackfruit. Let me share my experience during the 1st day of Jackfruit Festival – Experience The Jack of All Tastes, that is currently on at NEST Hotel of Howard Johnson.
Jackfruit is one the fruit that is available during the same time-frame when Mango is available in the market. There are plenty of health benefits – Enhancing Immunity, Boosting Magnesium Level, Reducing Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Improves Digestion and Aids in preventing Osteoporosis.
Never before an attempt has been made in preparing dishes. We know to be sweet when it is ripened, bland & tasteless when its raw & it’s got hard seeds. But Chef took upon himself to come up with some wonderful dishes by infusing Jackfruit into them – like in curries, tikkis, soups, chaats and even deserts. This gives guests a completely Jackfruit eating experience.
Jackfruit also happens to be one of my favourite fruits. The idea of a festival with Jackfruit excited me a lot and I was looking forward to tasting each and every dish & relish.
The idea of Jackfruit Fest was thought of nearly 2 weeks back. But then to pull it off by identifying the dishes, preparation & presentation on daily basis was more essential. Most importantly, the dishes needed to be tasty and likeable. Let me share my experience of being part of the fest on the 1st day.
Soup – The first item I tried was the Khathal Dal Shorba. It was a ‘Daal’ Shorba with some amount of Jackfruit flavour added into it. The daal was well cooked and soup was little thick but it had small pieces of slightly raw jackfruit & it tasted yummy.
Starter – Tikkis is one of the starters that is usually part of the buffet. We know the Tikki to be a starter that contains mashed Aloo, Peas along with spices & corn-flour. Chef added Jackfruit pieces along with the mix in making the Tikki and it was named as Chkundhari aur Khathal Tikki. The taste was simply awesome and it was plated well.
Spinach and Kackfruit Malfathi was another starter in which Jackfruit was quite evidently present and it taste was enhanced. Presentation was quite exquisite which shows the master of the Chef in presentation.
Subzi/Curry – There are 2 curries that – Panas Aloo Subji and Beans Chakka Poriyal.
Aloo subzi usually has the overpowering flavours coming from Aloo. But here with the addition of Jackfruit, those flavours were a bid subdued and the magic of Jackfruit flavour gave it uniqueness.
Beans Chakka Poriyal had big pieces of jackfruit with some of the fibers. It was a little dry dish but tasted well with the breads (Tandoori Roti & Naan).
Biryani – A dish that most of us love for lunch/dinner and I believe the Andhra folks make it the best. Now, adding Jackfruits & its nuts gives a totally different taste to the Biryani. Dum khathal Biryani was the name given to the Jackfruit infused Biryani. It tasted a little sweet due to Jackfruit but the masala/spices were like the contemporary Biryani. Entire mix tasted really good and I think it should become part of main menu during the Jackfruit season.
Jackfruit Pickle – Pickles are most commonly made with mango, lemon and bitter-gourd. But Chef added Jackfruit pieces in the raw form along the same masala that is used for making Mango pickle. The taste was quite good.
Deserts – This for sure is one of my favourite sections and I was eager to see what was for offer. There 5-6 desert each of them having some Jackfruit in some form or the other – Jackfruit Lemon Cheesecake, Jackfruit Pie, Khathal Shahi Tukda, Khathal Aur Sooji Halwa and Khathal Kulfi.
Cheesecake was simply awesome coz the Cheese seemed to taste well with the sweet Jackfruit. Shahi Tukda was pretty good but I thought it could have been a little bit sweeter. Next came the Sooji/Kesari baath which had the unique flavour but was missing a bit of sweetness. Kulfi and Jackfruit flavoured ice-cream were the last items served as part of deserts. They both were unique and for sure felt like they were fitting dishes to end the rather heavy meals.
It was a great afternoon spent, eating Jackfruit based dishes in the NEST Hotel. I gained a lot of knowledge about Jackfruit and how it can be used in the Kitchen, during my interaction with Chef Chakradhar. The experience was enhanced with the present of General Manager of the hotel, Mr. Rishi Neoge along with Sales & Marketing Executive, Anirban De Munshi. We all loved every dish that was prepared by Chef and all the credit should go to him. My experience has been most satisfying and I rate it at 4.5/5.
Details of the Jackfruit Fest
Price: INR 666 (All Inclusive)
Time: 12.30PM – 3.30PM
Schedule: 2nd June – 10th June
Contact: +91 8884423420 / +91-80-46467008
Picture taken with Chef Chakravarthy, Rishi & Anirban.