Starry airs

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The discovery that starfruit can be used beyond chaat has been a delightful one

starfruit.Indian Link
During my early days here in Australia, every time I saw starfruit on the grocer’s shelves my mind would rush back to those chaat times outside the college gates in Delhi. The attractive star-shaped slices would make a fancy garnish on the chaat plate, and their sweet yet tart and refreshing taste would fit in perfectly with this summer afternoon snack.
Only recently, I saw a TV cook work with this exotic tropical fruit: she sliced crossways to make star shapes, and then carefully rounded the edges of the spikes to make beautiful flower-shapes. They looked gorgeous as decorations. Watching her, I realised how far I have moved from chaat – which was the only way I knew of putting starfruit to use! Other than making your fruit platter or cocktail look glamorous, the starfruit is not a bad fruit to juice, can be added to cereals and yogurts, can be made into a chutney or jam, can be used in cakes, can be dried for use in granolas and trail mixes, can serve as “crackers” on a cheese platter, and is even a wonderful addition to chicken salad!
Starfruit – the correct term is carambola – is packed with antioxidants, is rich in vitamin C, potassium, copper and fibre, and is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
To put into a fruit salad, pick the other fruit carefully: starfruit combines well with passion fruit and papaya – serve with a nice yoghurt.
To juice, trim starfruit of any green or brown bits on the ridges, liquidise and then pass through a sieve. Mix with freshly squeezed lemon juice, water or pineapple juice.
You can make starfruit ice cubes to use in your iced tea or punch. Place starfruit slices in a baking tray, drizzle with lemon juice, cover with water and freeze. Break into pieces to use.
Starfruit grills very well too: slice, brush with olive oil and sprinkle brown sugar over, and grill lightly. Serve with a nice ice-cream.
India’s favourite chef Sanjeev Kapoor makes a yummy starfruit and mint raita as an accompaniment to biryani.
starfruit.Indian Link

Starfruit Bruschetta

1 sturdy starfruit, sliced
2 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp thick Greek-style yoghurt
Chilli flakes to taste
Pinch sugar
Pinch salt
2 pineapple slices, diced finely
Handful blueberries
Mix cream cheese and yoghurt well. Combine in a bowl pineapple, blueberries, chilli flakes, sugar and salt. Lay out starfuit slices on platter.  Spoon a bit of cheese-and-yoghurt mixture on each. Top with fruit.

Prawn Salad with Starfruit

3-4 sturdy starfruit, sliced
2 avocado, cubed
15 cooked and chilled prawns
Chilli flakes to taste
Salad greens of choice
For dressing
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, crushed
Pinch sugar
Salt and pepper to taste.
Make sure starfruit is slightly under-ripe. Combine with avocado, prawns and chilli flakes.
Prepare dressing by shaking ingredients in a screwtop jar.
Arrange greens on platter. Spoon prawn salad over evenly. Drizzle dressing over.

Asian Style Chicken Salad with Starfruit

3-4 starfruit, sliced
1 large red capsicum, cut into strips
1 chicken breast fillet
Baby Asian salad greens of choice
½ bunch coriander leaves
Handful bean sprouts for garnish
For dressing
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 red chilli, diced
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp fish sauce.
Cook chicken breast by placing in stock and bringing to boil. For a crunchier feel, cook on a pan. (If time is of the essence, try store-bought barbecued chicken). Cool and shred chicken finely.
Combine with starfruit, red capsicum strips, salad greens and coriander leaves. Drizzle dressing over and mix again. Serve with bean sprouts arranged on top.
starfruit salad.Indian Link

Starfruit Chutney Indian (Konkani) Style

1 starfruit
½ tsp fennel seeds
2 cloves garlic
Red chilli powder to taste
1/8 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
Chop up starfruit. Coarsely grind fennel seeds using mortar and pestle. Crush garlic cloves. Heat the oil and then let it cool.
Combine in a bowl the oil, garlic, fennel, salt, turmeric and red chilli powder. Toss in the starfruit pieces and mix well to coat. Add in the sugar – its quantity should depend on the sweetness of the starfruit. Store in airtight container.

Starfruit Chutney

2 cups cubed starfruit
¼ cup sugar
½ cup dry red wine
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Combine all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pan. Bring to a simmer on medium-high heat. Keep stirring.  Cook until slightly thickened, about 20-25 minutes.

Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni is the Editor of Indian Link.

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