My parents’ garden has a jackfruit tree that generously bears fruits every year. What is surprising is that not just that these are not little excuses for fruits, but the backyard location is in the heart of metropolitan Bhubaneswar. How lovely is that.
I was visiting during what was pre-season for these majestic fruits; but the tender green fruit can also be used in cooking and I share a simple recipe here. I trace the source of the staple ingredient from tree to table.
The tender jackfruit is quite cumbersome to skin, chop, and separate the flesh from the inedible strands. We took intrepid Ranjeeta’s help (in picture). She amazed me by turning upavishta konasana — a yoga pose that I struggle with at a well equipped studio back home — into a real life functional pose to tame this recalcitrant fruit, with well-oiled palms.
But not to fear, canned jackfruits are also available in supermarkets in the west. Just remember that the tender green ones are used for cooking while the mature (yellow) ones are ready-to-eat as fruits, often in syrup. Check the label carefully.
Often touted as a meat substitute, the jackfruit texture is indeed meaty. Also low-in-fat nutritious.
- 1/2 cup chana dal soaked for at least 1 hour
- Whole garam masala: 2 black cardamoms + 2 green cardamoms + 2 cloves + 1 bay leaf
- Spice powder: 1 tsp curry powder + 1 tsp cumin powder + 1/2 tsp turmeric + 1/4 tsp chilli powder
- 2-3 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- 250 gms chopped jackfruit
- 2 tbsp oil
- salt to taste
Heat oil. Add the whole garam masala and saute for a minute. Add the ginger-garlic paste. Keep stirring to avoid sticking or burning. Add about 2 tbsps water. Continue stirring and adding water a few more times till the paste is cooked (about 5-6 mins). Add the powdered spices and saute for a minute or two. Then add the jackfruit pieces, chana dal, 1 cup water and salt to taste. Pressure cook to tenderize and cook the vegetable- the time depends on your pressure cooker model. It should not take more than 5 minutes under high pressure.
Serve with rice.
Notes, hints, tips:
- If you are using canned jackfruit, note that it is already cleaned and cooked. But rinse it well. You can just make it in a regular pot (instead of a pressure cooker). In any case, you can always cook in a regular pot, it may just take a little longer.
- If using a pressure cooker, follow the instructions in your manual. There are too many varieties of pressure cooker in the market to have a generic method that works for all.
- You can make the ginger-garlic paste in big batches in a food processor, adding little water as necessary. Then freeze the remainder for the next use.
- You can add potatoes to this as well.
- The curry powder is here is a specialized mix of the local spice bazaar, much like the Ras el Hanout.