Anyone who has eaten Kathal or Raw Jackfruit Biryani will know why it is not difficult to mistake the juicy chunks of jackfruit for meat.
Easy to digest and vegan, this meat-alternative dish from Bethica Das not only tastes gorgeous but is nutrient giving and a guaranteed dinner table winner.
Enjoy the biryani with raita, salad, pickle and roasted papad.
Photograph: Kind courtesy Bethica Das
Kathal Dum Biryani
- 1 cup basmati rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes and drained
- 1 small raw jackfruit, cubed and soaked in water
- ½ cup yoghurt
- 3 tbsp oil
- 3 tbsp ghee
- 1-inch dalcheeni or cinnamon stick
- 2 green elaichi or cardamoms
- 2 bara elaichi or black/big cardamoms
- 4 long or cloves
- 1 strand javitri or mace
- 2 tej patta or bay leaves
- 3 onions, sliced
- 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- ½ haldi or turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp red chilly powder
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- Few rose petals
- Handful green dhania or coriander or cilantro leaves, chopped
- Handful mint leaves, chopped
- Few strands kesar or saffron soaked in ¼ cup milk
- 1 tsp rose water
- Few drops kewra essence
- Handful roasted cashews
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 cups of water to cook the rice
- Bring a sufficient quantity of water to boil.
Add the cinnamon stick, cardamoms, cloves, bay leaves, mace.
Pour in 1 tsp of the oil.
Add 1 tbsp of salt and give it a stir.
Add the rice.
Let it simmer till half done.
Drain and keep aside.
- Boil the jackfruit pieces over high heat in a medium saucepan of water along with a pinch of salt and the turmeric powder.
Take off heat when cooked and drain the water.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan and stir fry the boiled jackfruit pieces till light brown.
- In the same oil fry 2 of the sliced onions till golden.
- Heat 2 tbsp of the ghee in a heavy-bottomed saucepan that's deep enough to layer the biryani.
Fry the remaining onion till light brown.
Add the ginger-garlic paste and all the dry spices.
Add very little water and saute till the oil separates.
Add the jackfruit, yogurt and mix well.
Sprinkle half the coriander leaves, mint leaves, few rose petals, half the cashews, half the fried onions.
Spread the half-cooked rice, followed by the remaining coriander leaves, mint leaves, fried onions, remaining rose petals, saffron milk, remaining ghee, remaining roasted cashews, rose water, kewra essence.
Cover with an aluminum foil tightly around the edges and place a lid/steel plate over it.
Place something heavy over the lid if possible.
Cook over high heat for 2 minutes and add a tiny bit of water sparingly only if necessary.
Then place the pan on a hot tawa/griddle and cook further for 15-20 minutes over low heat.
Take off heat and let the saucepan remain covered for another 10 minutes.
Serve with roasted papad, pickle, raita and salad for a weekend lunch or weekday dinner.
Note: If you don't have access to fresh jackfruit use a tin of pre-boiled 400-500 gm jackfruit and skip the boiling process in the method of the recipe.
Both rose water and kewra essence will impart a strong taste to the biryani and can be skipped if not a taste you prefer.
Vegans will need to skip the ghee and use cashew butter instead.
Those on a diabetic diet may consider using a healthier grain like millets or quinoa in place of the rice.
Bethica Das is a Sharjah-based food blogger.