It is once again Jackfruit season. Like the phoenix that resurrects itself from the ashes, our humble jackfruit too has recently become the star in culinary circles. With its distinct meaty flavour in raw form and its health benefits, especially for diabetics, jackfruit dishes are today experimented with élan by big chefs and home cooks alike.
The jack fruit season brings so many fond memories to the fore. The lazy summer afternoons, with the entire family congregating in the open courtyard, all the action would begin when the huge fruit is struck a mighty blow right in the middle splitting it wide open exposing the golden yellow plump, fleshy and fragrant bulbs of pure nectar. The elders with their oil smeared palms pluck out the bulbs with so much expertise and as children our job was to fill our mouths and stomachs with as much of ‘Chakka’ as possible. The chakka plucking was indeed the ideal time to chat, gossip, laugh and make merry for everyone- young or old. Time flies as basins fill up with cleaned chakka in some and seeds in another. The prickly outer skin and sticky parts would go to the cows as their meal….no part wasted.
Chakka stories were indeed fun stories. There was this Chakka kallan, our neighbor Narayanan who would sneak up the tree at the crack of dawn and once he saw us would try to camouflage himself by extending his torso to look like a tree branch, but that didn’t work and we would sing in unison Chakkakalla…Narayana. And then there was this tearjerker of a movie called Poombatta starring the cute and adorable Sridevi as child star. People thronged to watch the untold cruelty meted out on such a chit of a girl by her monster step mother. All of us kids were treated to the movie too and we were seated in a row….there is this moment when the angry stepmom plonks a monstrous Chakka on little Sridevi’s head and her head goes into a wild dance in an effort to balance the weight. Instead of gasps of horror from our row in the theatre there emanated a round of animated laughter (maybe our addiction to all the funny comic books was the reason) to which we were chided and shhhed by fellow movie goers.
My jackfruit curry recipe is a typical Punjabi style one. A few minutes of frying of the jackfruit chunks in oil brings out the meaty texture to the curry. The curry goes well with rotis and pulavs. Here I have decided to go full on healthy and have chosen veggie tossed gluten free rice to go with this vegan curry which looks and tastes truly meaty. A safe and healthy meal which helps you feel full and satiated for long, this recipe is surely one for keeps if you want to keep your calories in check. Enjoy!
Jackfruit pieces cleaned and cut : 500gms.
Onion : 1 chopped.
Garlic ; 5-6 flakes, ground to paste.
Ginger : 2” piece, ground to paste.
Green chilli : 1 chopped.
Tomatoes : 3 medium ones, grind to a pulp in the mixi.
Coriander pdr: 1 and 1/2 tsp.
Turmeric pdr: ½ tsp.
Red chilli pdr : 1 tsp.
Garam masala pdr: ½ tsp.
Kasoori methi : 1 tsp, crush with your hands.
Coriander leaves : a few.
Oil : 3-4 tblesp.
Salt to taste.
- In a heavy bottomed Kadhai add oil and place on medium heat. Fry the jackfruit chunks in the oil for about 3-4 mts until you see the edges turning slightly roasted.
- With a slotted spoon take them out of the oil and place on a plate lined with absorbent paper.
- In the same oil add the chopped onions and sauté till they slightly turn brown.
- Add the chopped green chilli, the ground garlic and ginger paste and sauté for 2-3 mts.
- Add the tomato puree prepared in the blender. Also add the turmeric, coriander, red chilli powders and salt. Saute the mixture till oil starts leaving at the edges.
- Now add the fried jackfruit pieces and a cup of warm water and mix everything well. After allowing the mixture to come to a boil, add the garam masala pdr. Cover the vessel and leave to cook for 10-12 mts till the jackfruit is done.
- Open the lid and give the curry a stir. Crush kasoori methi in your palms and add to the curry. Garnish with coriander leaves.
For the rice dish:-
Take a cup of gluten free rice ( I used a combination of brown and black rice ) and cook it with a lot of water and strain and keep.
In a kadhai on heat 2 tsps pour oil ( you can use olive oil/butter or plain vegetable oil to suit your taste). When the oil starts heating up grate 1/2 a garlic clove into it. As it turns golden, add 2 tblesps of finely chopped carrots and chopped spring onion and saute for 2 mts. Add the cooked rice and toss well in the mixture. Add salt and keep stirring for 2-3 mts. Transfer to a bowl and serve.