Kochi: They say, both the jackfruit up on the tree and the crab in the water are tempting to the food connoisseur. However, neither of them yield that easily to make their way to the dining table; there is much labour involved in pulling the dishes off when they are the key ingredients. Catching a crab is a fine art while jack fruit plucking is a Herculean task. But when you combine jackfruit and crab into a meal…. it is sheer delight! Want to savour the delicacy that is a jackfruit-crab combo? If it's a yes, then head straight to Marine Drive in Kochi, the Thenvarikka Fest at Helipad in the city, to be precise, for a festival of jackfruit cuisine awaits you. The dish with crab is just one of the many wares.
The star attraction in Kudumbasree’s jackfruit fair is a puzhukku made of jackfruit, tapioca, jackfruit seeds and crab. The ingredients are boiled together and mashed lightly. Lovers of jackfruit and tapioca might be concerned if adding crab will not do away with its taste. But this is baseless. Those coming from the hilly areas where crab is unheard of will also relish this unique flavour of the seashores, for this dish is such an enticing one.
Don't be apprehensive about an overdose of crab in the plates. The taste of cooked crab finely blends with the natural flavours of jackfruit and tapioca. Even the shreds of curry leaves in the puzhukku taste oh-so-good! If you are eager to munch into a crab leg, the Kudumbasree volunteers will happily serve you one from the pan. If the craving still persists, do not worry, there is more crab curry coming. A couple of crab legs and two pieces soaked in tasty red gravy will be served in a plate with pits. The crab curry has jackfruit seeds in it as well. Well cooked seed can be taken mixed with the gravy and without grinding. The jackfruit-tapioca-jackfruit seed mixture can be taken with a serving of crab gravy. Jackfruit puzhukku, tapioca added puzhukku, chilly chammanthi on the side, chicken curry, meat curry, meat ularthu and other such dishes are normally used as a substitute to the customary rice lunch. The fair presents an opportunity to buy various dishes separately and conjure up novel taste combos going with different kinds of puzhukku. Chakkapori is a delicacy equally dear to children and grownups. It is made out of frying tender jackfruit bulbs in the same way banana fritters are made—it is superb when taken hot or otherwise. It is often fried along with the seed. Savoury fireworks in the form of jackfruit baji, jackfruit sukhiyan and jackfruit bonda are the other attractions. Jackfruit appam, jackfruit chapati, jackfruit cutlet, pakkavada made out of jackfruit, dried jackfruit biriyani, jackfruit unda, jackfruit halwa, jackfruit ada, and the list of value added dishes is endless. You can buy various dishes from various stalls and sit together at a round table and have it. Eating alone is also very much an option.
Jackfruit payasam is ambrosial with the right amount of sweetness. There are payasams made out of wheat and mulayari for those who do not want jackfruit payasam. Ice cream of jackfruit flavor is available for those who absolutely shun payasam. Several kinds of juices including gooseberry and raw mango are on sale. Apart from jackfruit milk sorbet, there is jackfruit squash, fried jackfruit as well as jackfruit and tapioca pickled. Jackfruit haters also needn't hesitate from venturing into the Thenvarikka Fest. Various other kudumbasree products are also on display, including salted chillies and assorted pickles. You can buy wall hangings and handicraft products as well. Central Minister, Chowdhury Birendra Singh, inaugurated the trade fair. K. V. Thomas M. P., Deputy Mayor B. Bhadra, Central Joint Secretary Sarada Muraleedharan, Kudumbasree Mission Executive Director K.B. Valsala Kumari and Kudumbasree Executive Director P. R. Sreekumar spoke at the occasion.
Jackfruit eating contest, cookery show and jackfruit dressing contest will be held today. The fair which will be on till the 19th is open from 10 am to 10 pm. Entry is via pass. Entertainment programmes of Kudumbasree workers will be staged every evening.