The weather is as gloomy as ever. With the kids at home, this week being their half term, it was a little disappointing for them….well for me as well, at times, especially when they show intentions of bringing the outdoors inside the house…in fact they have really had to be told firmly that the skipping rope or ball has no place inside the house…well, I know they’ve got to let out their steam…but…
With the temperatures making a nosedive again, things seem to have spiced up a bit on my cooking front. I had picked up a pack of frozen green jackfruit from the local Indian grocer. We, as Assamese do consume quite a lot of jackfruit- both in it’s ripe and unripe state. Even the seeds of the ripe fruit are equally savoured.
For the record,
Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world, reaching 80 pounds in weight and up to 36 inches long and 20 inches in diameter. The exterior of the compound fruit is green or yellow when ripe. The interior consists of large edible bulbs of yellow, banana-flavored flesh that encloses a smooth, oval, light-brown seed. The seed is 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches long and 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick and is white and crisp within. There may be 100 or up to 500 seeds in a single fruit, which are viable for no more than three or four days. When fully ripe, the unopened jackfruit emits a strong odour, while the pulp of the opened fruit smells of pineapple and banana.(crfg.org)
Before cutting the fruit, it is important to guard against the sticky latex…the knife, hands and the cutting board should be well greased with oil.(of course, I didn’t have to go through all this!!)
The jackfruit has played a significant role in the Indian agriculture (and culture) from times immemorial. Archeological findings in India have revealed that jackfruit was cultivated in India 3000 to 6000 years ago(wiki)
The jackfruit is consumed in both it’s ripe and unripe state.We usually make curries out of the unripe ones. By unripe, I mean really unripe. They are usually at the stage when they are very fleshy and the seeds are not even properly formed. We call this stage ‘kothalor musi’…they are really small ones. But the ones that I bought were much more matured and were just a step short of being passed for the riper version. But then, something is better….. so I set about making it the way we have it at home…a nice spicy jackfruit curry. Although we usually have it with plain rice and dal, I changed the menu a wee bit and instead cooked the rice with peas, onions and a touch of saffron. With a dollop of cucumber raita on the side, it was a really hearty meal. The spiced jackfruit curry went very well with the relatively mildly flavoured rice and the raita was that little extra something that completed the meal.
So here goes …it’s a well long post, but the recipes are worth it, if I may say so myself-
What’s needed for the jackfruit curry-
To be ground together to a paste-
3-4 pods of garlic
To be dry roasted and powdered-
1′’stick of cinnamon
2 pods of cardamom
1 bay leaf
1 whole red chilli
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp(more or less) chilli powder
Boil the potatoes 3/4 of the way. drain the water and keep aside.
Place the jackfruit in a microwavable dish with 2 tblsps of water, cover lightly and microwave for 5-6 minutes. Keep aside.
Heat the oil in a pan. Add all the ingredients for tempering. When the seeds splutter, add the onion-ginger-garlic paste along with the powder spices and fry over low heat till the water evaporates.
Add the tomatoes and cook till mushy.
Add the potatoes, stir for a minute and add the jackfruit. Season with salt and stir fry for another minute.
Add 1 glass of water. Cover the pan and cook over low heat till the vegetables are completely done. Mash 1 or 2 pieces of potatoes to thicken the gravy.
Add the roasted and powdered spices, stir in well, and simmer for a minute. Remove from heat and keep covered for 5 minutes so that all the wonderful flavours are infused into the dish.
Now for the saffron and peas rice-
2C of basmati rice, washed and soaked in a little water for 8-10 minutes
2-3 handfuls of fresh green peas
1 small onion, sliced
a pinch of saffron strands
salt to taste
1 tblsp of oil(or butter/ghee)
Strain the water from the soaked rice and add it to a pan along with the rest of the ingredients and enough water so that the water level is just slightly above the rice level.
Cover and cook over low heat. Check at regular intervals to see that the rice does not burn. Some more water will be needed, but it needs to be added little at a time, each time the water evaporates. This should be done until the rice is cooked through.
1/2 of a long cucumber
1 and 1/2 C yoghurt
a pinch each of salt, cumin powder, coriander powder and chilli powder
Cut the cucumber into small pieces.
Add all the other ingredients and mix well.
That’s it!!! The raita is ready!! Can be chilled for a while.
I served the rice and curry in layers, with the curry layer in the middle and a helping of raita on the side. If you can’t be bothered with the hassle, just go on and dish it up the way you like…won’t change the flavours in any way…and that’s all that matters. So whatever you do, I hope you’ll really enjoy!!!