When you can take the disparaging phrase – Jack of all trades, master of none and modify it to Jack of all Tastes … Master of Fun, it would mean that excitement is just around the corner !!! (the hotel took care of the first half of the wordplay … but not to be outdone, I added the end )
Say hello to the Jack meets June festival at the Howard Johnson hotel (HoJo).
A brilliant concept to refresh palates that were being bombarded by Mango festivals (not that I am complaining ) and one that showcased the many ways of using the humble and underrated Jackfruit which is so versatile that there seems to be no end to how creative one can get with it.
Chef Chakradhar of Hojo, has joined a few weeks ago and what is so apt is that Chakka means Jackfruit in Malayalam, so who better than Chak’radhar to execute the recipes at this festival (such trivia tickles me more than the other important things at hand )
A very creative person and endearingly humble too, his innovations, right from the soups to the desserts and everything in between, are bound to appeal to jackfruit lovers and might even convert jack haters !!!
I have always been passionate about working with jackfruit and developing new recipes with it and I could not refuse their innovative invitation that came home in the form of a bag of jackfruit chips and a little bottle of pickle 😀 Shall we call it an Innova’tation ?
We tasted a few of the many dishes that they have planned for the duration of the next 2 weeks and we began with the Spinach and jackfruit corn soup, which was along the lines of a Chinese sweet corn but with raw jack puree and bits of seed incorporated into it. An unusual broth, full of flavor and a great start to the meal.
Hariyali panasa suji tikki, the cutlet made of raw jack and potato and crumbed with rava, was a big hit with its crisp exterior encasing its light insides. Make sure to eat this while still hot though because it does tend to get denser on cooling. Chilli jackfruit was another excellent rendering of the Chilli chicken concept and this was of great texture and taste too.
Of course my itchy mind had to concoct a recipe instantly and the chef was sporting enough to execute my raw Jack pod stuffed with prawns and crumb fried, which turned out very well. Great strategy to get me my quota of prawns right ?
We decided that the vegetarians could be served the same with stuffed mozzarella … ask the chef to do that for you and come back and reward me later (see there are string’ys attached )
At the main course, the jack stuffed paratha with jack pickle was excellent.
The rest of the dishes consisted of the Bengali style Enchore chingri – raw jack and prawns in a semi gravy using mustard oil, Kheema kathal masala – raw jack and mutton mince served with rotis, Kerala chakka curry – a coconut gravy with stewed jack pieces and served with steamed rice and even a Dum ka kathal biryani where the raw jack was marinated like meat and incorporated into the rice. The biryani could have done with a bit more flavor and the pieces of jack could have been made smaller for ease of eating.
However, everything else was quite good and did provide a variety of tastes despite having a common main ingredient.
Desserts had their traces of the fruit with the Kathal shahi tukda with bits of ripe jack in the rabri (not in pic), Jackfruit pastry as in pineapple pastry but with jack, Jackfruit tart with jackfruit infused whipped cream and even a Jackfruit mousse in a swiss roll.
The festival is on from June 2nd to 10th and will showcase around 50 dishes at the lunch buffet ie from 12.30 PM to 3.30 PM.
Delightful dishes that include Shepherd’s Pie, Moussaka, Sheekh kababs, Poriyals (sabjis), Kulfis, Barfis, Halwas, milkshakes etc will all do the rounds. Sunday will be special with live appam counters and jack stew. Now that should be enough reason to never ever miss that meal !!!
The price stands at the attractive figure of Rs 666 AI (nothing devilish about that) and for that quality of food, it’s like hitting the Jackpot !!!
May 31st, 2017
For more pictures see My Facebook – Howard Johnson-Jackfruit festival