Dishing out jack of all fruits

Rafeeq has prepared 101 delicious and healthy dishes from jackfruit and a special 16-dish sadya at the ongoing Jackfruit festival in Kochi.

Only recently has the health benefits of the jack of all fruits - the jackfruit - been recognised and appreciated worldwide. But for Rafeeq of Parassala in Thiruvananthapuram, it was not just the health benefits that had him preparing chips and dry powders from jackfruit; it was the easy availability of the fruit that made him concentrate on this fruit.

Six years back, Rafeeq was engaged in selling jackfruit chips and was ridiculed by many. He asked for stalls to sell his chips, but was turned down by everyone because he had only chips to sell. Rafeeq was disappointed, but he did not give up and persevered to concoct more dishes from jackfruit. He started making powders and wet mixes from jackfruits and he got orders from his friends. By this time, he had read about the much-talked-about health benefits and decided to double his efforts with the help of his wife.

That hard work which had him experimenting with various combinations permutations and has finally borne fruit in the shape of his second exhibition at the Jackfruit, Date and Apple Fair at the Ernakulathappan Ground in Kochi. His stall is attracting a huge crowd and he has been serving some unique jackfruit (Chakka) dishes. Rafeeq says, “I held my first exhibition three months back at Marine Drive in Kochi where I served 51 jackfruit dishes and it was a success. Now it has increased to 101 dishes including a 16-dish sadya. I have biryanis that taste like meat and fish; it tastes like meat and fish but is made entirely of all parts of the jackfruit excluding the skin. Side dishes like aviyal, thoran, sambar, pachadi, upperi, pickles and payasam you get at the sadya are all made of jackfruit. We sampled the sadya and found the side dishes to be absolutely lip-smacking.

Rafeeq started off serving 50 plates on the first day and increased it to 200 the next day because of the demand. “I am also getting a lot of parcel enquiries,” he added.

Also on sale are 101 snacks made out of jackfruit that one can ever imagine like baji, pazhampori, unniyappam, modakam, vada, chakka chilli, mixture, cutlet, ada, kotappan, payasam, varatty, Manchurian, puffs, therali and puzhukku. The items are served in a hygienic manner.


Seeing the response and the quality, Rafeeq has been invited to an exhibition in Kozhikode, but he says, “I don’t want to participate in any exhibition that takes money from the customers for entry. My aim is that everyone who has sampled my food go home and try to replicate at least one dish. I do not mind giving out the recipe too for that!” Before he ends, Rafeeq says, “I want those people who refused me stalls to call me and give me space for a stall and I will persevere till that time.”

Jackfruit Facts
Jackfruit is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, carbohydrates, electrolytes, fibers, fat and proteins. Though it is a good source of calories, it does not have any cholesterol inducing factors. The seeds of jackfruit have high nutritional value. Among the health benefits associated with the fruit are the ability to strengthen the immune system, protect against cancer and aid in healthy digestion. It is also good for healthy eye and skin and boosts energy levels. Jackfruit is known to lower blood pressure and control asthma.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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