Kiwi exotic influence


By Jan Bilton

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.

Kiwifruit couscous salad
Kiwifruit 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 e.g. 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.

  • Jan Bilton is a Cambridge-based, professional food writer. For more recipes visit her website here.

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