Zespri 14-Day Challenge : Using Kiwi as meat tenderizer

Yup, do you know kiwifruit can be used as a natural meat tenderizer. It’s not a joke ­čśŤ

Kiwi marinated Chicken

It’s especially good when you decide to cook something at the last minute and you don’t have hours to marinade or tenderize the meat.

Raw kiwifruit is rich in the protein-dissolving enzyme actinidain, which is commercially useful as a meat tenderizer. Actinidain also makes raw kiwifruit unsuitable for use in desserts containing milk or any other dairy products which are not going to be served within hours, because the enzyme soon begins to digest milk proteins. This applies to gelatin-based desserts as well, as the actinidain will dissolve the collagen proteins in gelatin very quickly, either liquifying the dessert, or preventing it from solidifying.

kiwifruit marinate chicken breast

It works better on tough cuts of meat (beef, mostly) But since I don’t cook beef at home, I chose the …. toughest part of the chicken, the breast meat.

If on chicken, the best time is just to let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cooking. I used half a kiwi for 2 pieces and let it rest for, maybe too long (about 20 mins) and some parts of the meat because a tad too mushy. Not sure if it’s because there’s too much kiwi, or I marinated for too long. I read online that if there’s too much, or marinated for too long, the meat becomes mushy.

Anyway, I didn’t just marinate it with kiwi. I used harissa paste as well and some coriander, garlic and mustard seed. Haha Don’t ask me what combination it is. I don’t know what was going thru my mind that time.

purple cabbage slaw and sweet potato

Other sides, a purple cabbage slaw and oven baked sweet potato. Not sure if I’m trying to go asian or western on this dish haha

Yes, all THREE recipes are included here !

Did the kiwi made much difference to the breast meat ?


I would say, a little, not major. Because even if breast meat was a drier cut, if baked properly, it should still be tender and juicy. But if grilled for long, the top will be slightly charred and dry, this one seemed ok. So I’m not sure if it’s the little kiwi doing its magic or my cooking skills has leveled up. I would like to believe, it’s both HAHAHA

Spicy harissa chicken with kiwi

Harissa Chicken with Purple Cabbage Slaw and Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Serves: 2
Harissa Chicken
  • ½ green kiwifruit
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • 2 chicken breast meat, fats removed
  • 1 cloved minced garlic
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • about 5-6 coriander stems (the white bottom part - abt 6 cm)
  • pinch of salt & pepper
  • ¼ purple cabbage
  • bunch of Coriander leaves
  • ½ carrot
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • Salt and pepper
Sweet potato fries
  • 1 Sweet potato (about 150g)
  • salt and lots of pepper
  • olive oil
Harissa Chicken
  1. Mash all the ingredients except for chicken into a paste. Rub over chicken and let it marinate for 10 minutes
  2. Meanwhile prepare the sweet potato and slaw.
  3. When ready to cook, drizzle some oil on the meat, and bake at 190 for 15-18 minutes. I do this together with the sweet potato fries
  1. Slice cabbage, julienne carrot and get the leaves of coriander, add into a bowl.
  2. Drizzle lime juice, and a gulg of olive oil. Add a dash of salt and pepper and spinkle toasted sesame seeds. Let it rest in the fridge before serving.
Sweet Potato Fries
  1. Scrub the potato clean. Dry the potato.
  2. Cut lengthwise into fries. Pat dry any access water. Sprinkle salt, pepper and a little olive oil. Toss it and arrange on a tray, with space in between (so they crisp up)
  3. Bake at 190 C for 15 minutes. (I put it in together with the chicken)
  4. Turn the fries with a tong, then using a grill function in the oven, turn the temperature to 210 C and let it crisp up for another 5-8 minutes. (or till brown)

For more recipes and information, you can head on to http://www.zespri.com.my ­čÖé


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