In 1980 New Zealand kiwifruit hit New York for the first time. They cost one US dollar each and were celebrated hugely “in tart after tart, fruit salads, savoury salads and sauces lending an algal tinge to beurre blanc,” according to The New York Times. It was everywhere and even featured on the back of cake mix boxes. Kiwifruit became ‘cultish’.
After three years the Times declared it passé.
However, what our kiwifruit did do was open the eyes and awaken the palates of New Yorkers to other new fruits from distant lands and to foods that weren’t familiar. Chefs embraced the ‘different’, bringing an exotic new world to the restaurant scene. In turn home cooks experimented with new menu offerings.
Today many consumers take advantage of the health benefits the kiwifruit possesses and eat it just halved and scooped. Kiwifruit contains antioxidants that attack free radicals that damage vital cells; it has a high level of vitamin C which helps with the healing of wounds; and it contains vitamin E, beneficial if you are feeling stressed, physically or mentally.
However, to my mind, kiwifruit is still an important ingredient in today’s modern dishes.
KIWIFRUIT, BANANA & COUSCOUS SALAD
If the salad is to stand for a while, drizzle the banana with a little lemon juice to prevent discolouring
3/4 cup Israeli couscous
2-3 tablespoons salad dressing eg ranch, green goddess
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
1 red capsicum, seeded and diced
1 shallot, diced
1 ripe but firm banana, sliced
2 green kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring a large saucepan on water to the boil and add the couscous. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well. Tip into a bowl and combine with the dressing.
Fold in the remaining ingredients. Serves 4.
When making kim chi it is essential that the vegetables and fruits be cut into similar sizes. This can be achieved with a special cutter or with a very sharp knife. The pork and kim chi can be prepared in advance and assembled just before serving.
Bulgogi: 500g pork schnitzel, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons each: soy sauce, gochujang, honey
2 cloves garlic rushed
1 teaspoon finely grated root ginger
1 gold kiwifruit, mashed
Kiwi Kim Chi: 1/2 red-skinned apple, cored and julienned
7cm length telegraph cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and julienned
3 tablespoons pickled ginger, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 gold kiwifruit, peeled and julienned
To serve: 20 baby cos lettuce leaves
Place the pork in a bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients for the bulgogi sauce and pour over the pork. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Combine the apple, cucumber and pickled ginger in a bowl. Combine the garlic, fish sauce and rice vinegar and pour over the apple. Prepare the kiwifruit but add to the kim chi just before serving.
Drain the pork and stir-fry in batches on medium-high for about 2 minutes or until cooked.
Place the lettuce leaves on a serving plate. Top each with some pork then a little of the kim chi. Serve as finger food with drinks. Makes 20.
Can be prepared 1-2 hours before serving.
2 green kiwifruit, peeled and diced
1/2 cup each: coriander leaves parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 small shallot, diced
1 small chilli, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons each: lemon juice, olive oil
pinch each: sugar, flaky sea salt
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
Great served as a sauce with baked chicken or fish. Serves 3-4.