The moment I saw the baby Jack fruit, many memories came flooding down my spine, like the trip to South India during my college days, when I bought a huge Jack Fruit (because all friends were buying), too heavy to carry, brought it home and then being scolded by my family for the strong aroma that dominated my house for days. It brought back the memories of my school days, when every lunch break, we sat under the shade of Jackfruit tree, (we had 7 such trees in the school compound) and my boarded friends complained of being served the same jackfruit dish too often for meals and how much they hated it. It brought the memories of my mom, who loved this fruit so much that she invented various innovative dishes to make it tasty, making us believe that we were having non-veg meals on vegetarian days.
Succulent, soft and sweet when ripe, the taste closer to banana and mango, it tastes best in salads and desserts. Very nutritious, like so many tropical fruits, it is rich in dietary minerals like calcium, potassium and iron. It is excellent source of energy-giving carbohydrates, fiber and micronutrients making it a perfect staple food.
During my recent trip to Jaipur, (I was attending a wedding), Jackfruit made its special appearance in the form of most spicy barbequed, fibrous dish. At a glance it resembled roasted Chicken but the taste was unique, it still lingers and I plan to replicate this dish soon.
But for now, I will make do with Jackfruit curry.
250gms Jack Fruit
1tsp garlic paste
1tsp ginger paste
1tsp turmeric powder
2tsp coriander powder
1tsp cumin powder
1tsp 5spice powder
2 medium size onions
2 bay leaves
1inch cinnamon stick
2 dried red pepper
2 medium size tomatoes
Here is the step-by-step method for cooking delicious Jackfruit curry. (You can adjust the quantity of salt, chilies and oil to suit your taste)
Chopping the fruit is bit tricky. You need to oil your hands and the blade for smooth cutting. The hard wooded center and the outer spiky skin need to be discarded. The inner fibrous flesh is used for cooking
The fruit has to be cleaned thoroughly, and should be either deep-fried or boiled.
I prefer deep-fried because that gives a crunchy taste. But in this method, I have boiled it.
On the side, prepare a curd masala by mixing garlic, ginger, chilies, turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder, 5 spice powder and 1tsp salt
Mix the boiled/fried jackfruit pieces to the curd masala
Leave the marinated fruit in the fridge for over 4 hours.
In a separate pan, heat oil. Add bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon and dried red pepper. Add finely chopped onions and cook till light brown.
Add the marinated fruit, add chopped tomatoes and cook till it begins to stick to the sides.
Add 1cup water and 1tsp salt, stir it well, cover and let it cook till oil floats on the top
Serve with hot buttered parathas or steamed rice.