Sunday, 1 April 2012




          There is a story behind how jackfruit seeds became beetles. My daughter loves to take goodies for lunch to school. Though she shares them with her friends, some of the bullies in her class often grab everything, leaving her with an empty lunchbox.

          This remarkable incident happened when she was just 6 years old. That day, I had deep-fried some lovely jackfruit seeds to my daughter’s delight. As usual, she took some to school. As soon as she opened her lunchbox, the bullies ran to her and demanded to know what the unfamiliar things were. She replied spontaneously in Malayalam. “They are ‘vandu pori’” which translates to ‘deep-fried beetles’.

          With horrified looks on their faces, the bullies ran back faster than they had come, leaving my daughter and her friends to enjoy the ‘beetles’ in peace. Ever since, we have been calling deep-fried jackfruit seeds ‘vandu pori’ or ‘fried beetles’.

          Jackfruit seeds are highly nutritious, being full of protein and are even used to manufacture baby food. I am sure you too will enjoy these delicious ‘beetles’. Kids just love them.


     1)    Fully mature jackfruit seeds – 450 gm.
     2)    Hot red chili powder – 1 teaspoon
     3)    Kashmiri chili powder – 1 teaspoon
     4)    Asafoetida powder – ¼ teaspoon
     5)    Rice powder – 1 tablespoon
     6)    Powdered salt – 2 teaspoons
     7)    Any cooking oil – to deep-fry

To Cook:

          Use a heavy, sharp knife to carefully cut each jackfruit seeds lengthwise into halves. The seeds are quite hard and the outer skin is smooth and stiff like tough nylon. So, it is better to dry the seeds for a couple of days in the shade for the outer skin to dry up. Great care should be exercised in cutting the seeds since there is the ever-present danger of the knife slipping onto your fingers. Once all the seeds have been cut, pluck off and discard the inedible thin, white outer skin, leaving the red inner skin intact (the red skin is rich in vitamins).

          Put the cut seeds into a vessel or a pan and pour in enough water to fully immerse the seeds. Tip in a teaspoon of salt and set on high heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, lower the heat. If you want the fried seeds to be tough and crispy (as shown in the picture), switch off the heat and drain off the stock. If you want the fried seeds to be soft in the inside and crisp on the outside, continue to cook on low heat for 3 to 5 minutes.

          Take out a seed and squeeze to see if it has reached the desired softness. Drain off the stock. Tip in the remaining salt (1 teaspoon), the two chili powders and the asafoetida powder and mix nicely with your fingers. If the seeds feel too dry to the touch, sprinkle a few drops of water and then sprinkle the rice powder. Mix again thoroughly.

          Set a wok on high heat. Pour in the cooking oil. As soon as the oil is hot, gently put in a handful or two of the seeds depending upon the size of the wok and the quantity of the oil. Stir gently and fry till the seeds feel crispy as they touch the ladle. Lift out and drain off the excess oil. Your fried beetles are ready to eat.

Enjoy hot or cold either as a side dish to rice or as a snack.

Bon appétit!!!


          Children and people with strong teeth generally like their ‘beetles’ tough and crispy whereas elderly people and persons with weak teeth love the soft version. Both are equally delicious.

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