If you can find a jackfruit that's not too ripe -- as its flesh becomes too gooey -- do try Taruna Deepak's Kathal Ki Sabzi.
Its rich taste and fibrous texture make it an excellent choice for a vegetable dish that goes well with rotis, naans or steamed rice. The whole spices and raw jackfruit lend a wonderful flavour to this spicy preparation that has a little gravy.
Taruna, who dabbles with all sorts of vegetarian cuisines, feels the sabzi pairs well with Bihari pua, a mildly sweet, deep-fried pancake.
- 250 gm kathal or jackfruit
- 1 large tej patta or bay leaf
- 2 whole red chillies, broken
- 1 badi elaichi or black cardamom
- ½ inch-piece dalcheeni or cinnamon stick
- 3 lavang or cloves
- 10-12 sabut kali mirch or black peppercorns
- ¼ tsp hing or asafoetida
- 1 cup sliced onions
- ½ tsp ginger-garlic paste
- ½ tsp finely chopped ginger
- 2-3 garlic pods, crushed
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp degi red chilly powder
- ¼ red chilly powder
- ½ tsp haldi or turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp yoghurt, optional
- 1 tsp dhania or coriander powder
- ¾ tsp jeera or cumin powder, roasted
- ¼ tsp garam masala
- 2-3 tbsp cooking oil for frying the jackfruit + extra to grease your hands while cleaning the jackfruit
- 2-3 tbsp mustard oil or any cooking oil of choice
- To clean the jackfruit, grease your palms with oil and then peel the thick outer skin.
Greasing your hands is essential since the jackfruit will release a sticky gummy kind of liquid which can make your hands itch.
Slice and chop the jackfruit to small 1-inch pieces.
- Boil ½ cup of water in a pressure cooker over medium-high heat.
Add the jackfruit pieces, close the cooker and cook until half done -- for 1-2 whistles depending on how mature the jackfruit is.
Take off heat, cool, drain the water and keep aside.
- Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a kadhai or frying pan.
Fry the semi-cooked jackfruit pieces in batches with hing for 1½-2 minutes over high heat.
Keep tossing the pieces around for an even colour and so they cook evenly.
Take off heat and drain onto a paper towel or tissue-lined plate.
- For making the masala, heat the mustard oil in a saucepan or kadhai or frying pan or wok.
If using mustard oil, ensure the oil smokes well or else the oil in the curry will taste too pungent.
Lower the heat and wait for a few seconds before adding the whole spices to prevent burning.
Add the whole red chillies, black cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorns.
Add the bay leaf.
Fry for 10 seconds.
Add the sliced onions and fry over high heat till nearly golden.
Add the finely chopped ginger and the crushed garlic and fry further till the onions turn golden brown.
Add a couple of tbsp of water.
Add the ginger-garlic paste.
Fry till the paste cooks well and it no longer smells raw.
Reduce the heat and add 1 tbsp water.
Add the salt, red chilly powders, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala.
Stir well and optionally add 1 tbsp of thick yogurt to the masala.
Add the fried jackfruit and keep cooking over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add ½ cup of water (or as required) and cook till the jackfruit is nicely done.
Take off heat and serve hot with rotis, naans or steamed rice along with a simple salad of sliced onions and cucumbers sprinkled with kala namak and drizzled with lemon juice.
Taruna's Note: The onions need to be fried over high heat. Frying them over low heat will sweeten them and this will sweeten the curry.
For a thicker curry, I sometimes grate the onions instead of thinly slicing them.
Editor's Note: To make Pua use this recipe (external link).
Taruna Deepak lives in Mumbai and is the creator of the food blog Easyfoodsmith.