Jack of all fruits

The Asian Age.  | Sanjay Thumma

Did you know that jackfruit is one of the hottest food trends of 2017?


This is as per predictions by Pinterest— the favourite social media platform of food lovers, World Over.

A jackfruit can weigh up to hundred pounds and can even grow up to two or three feet tall. India is the largest producer of jackfruit, especially Kerala. When I was in Kerala, I saw huge fruits growing on very tall trees and wondered how one would go and pluck them. The jackfruit has become the go-to ingredient for vegetarians and vegans, as it can act as a perfect substitute for meat. Not many know this but there are seven to eight varieties of jackfruit. Oh, and it is the national fruit of Bangladesh.

As for cooking, both the ripe and unripe varieties are used. A ripe jackfruit would have multiple flavours — like that of pineapple, apple, mango and banana. It can be made into chips and can also be used as paste in idli, dosa and uttapam batter. One can also make sweets such as jams, payasam and ravakesari.

Raw or unripe jackfruits are used to make biryani and other curries. You can cook several meat recipes using the unripe jackfruit as it has a meaty texture, with meat masalas such as garam masala. Meat lovers, who want to turn vegetarian, will find jackfruit extremely useful and delicious.

While peeling the jackfruit, ensure you apply oil on the hands to avoid the stickiness. Once cut, the fruit oxidises rather quickly, much like potatoes. Hence, it’s important to start cooking almost immediately. Cook it like tender lamb — two whistles and 10 minutes of boiling should do. Add turmeric powder and tamarind juice while boiling it for an extra flavour. Apart from high protein, jackfruit is also rich in fibre and vitamin-B6.

The seeds of the fruit are extremely useful to cure digestion problems and they are also high in protein,Vitamin A, and have anti-cancer properties. One can even dry the seeds in the sun and use it.

Raw Jackfruit Biryani
Raw Jackfruit Biryani is prepared the same way as any other biryani but using raw jackfruit. This dish is also popularly known as kathal biryani or panasakaya biryani.

500 gm Basmati rice
500 gm jackfruit
2 onions, sliced
Handful of raisins
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
3 bay leaves
Handful of cashew nuts
A pinch of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
1 cup curd
½ tsp red chilli powder
4 green chillies, chopped
2 tsp garam masala
1 bunch mint, chopped
1 bunch coriander leaves, chopped
Few drops food colour (optional)

In a pan, fry onions till golden brown and keep aside.
Soak Basmati rice and cook 70 per cent and keep aside.
Now take the raw jackfruit, apply oil to hand, peel and cut into cubes (do not cut into small pieces). Put the jackfruit pieces in pressure cooker and add turmeric powder, salt, little water and cook till it is 80 per cent done.
Take a pan add oil, garam masala, bay leaf, cashew nut, rasins, green chillies, ginger-garlic paste, and salt. Mix it well.
Now add boiled jackfruit, sauté it and add mint, coriander and curd.  Cook it well.
Now spread the jackfruit all over the pan and add fried onions (half quantity), chilli powder, add 70 per cent cooked rice, mint, coriander, and left over onions. Cover it with a lid and cook on a slow flame for about 10 minutes and serve.

Raw Jackfruit Fritters (Pakora)
Raw jackfruit has mild flavour which is good for preparing dry curries or pakoras

1 jackfruit
1 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 cup rice flour
1 cup chickpea flour
1 tsp cumin seeds
A pinch of cooking soda
Oil to fry

Cut the jackfruit into thin slices. In a bowl add red chilli powder, salt, cooking soda, turmeric powder, rice flour, chickpea flour, cumin seeds, one tablespoon oil and mix thoroughly.
To it add jackfruit slices, little water and mix.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the fritters till golden brown colour. Take it out on a paper towel and serve with a dip.

Ansa-phansa chi Bhaji
Ansa-phansa chi bhaji is an authentic sweet, sour and spicy dish from Maharashtra. It is made with ripe pineapple, jackfruit and mangoes.

1 cup ripe mangoes
1 cup ripe jackfruit
1 cup ripe pineapple
½ coconut, grated
10 to 12 red chillies
1 tsp goda masala
1 tsp garam masala powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp hing/asafoetida
10 to 12 curry leaves
½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
2 tbsp mango pulp

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, hing, turmeric powder, garam masala and goda masala. Make a paste of red chillies and coconut, and add to the above mixture. Add salt and cook over slow flame. When the masala is cooked, add the pineapple, jackfruit and a cup of water. Cover and cook on a slow flame. Now add mango pieces and mango pulp, and cook for another  minute and remove from flame.

Jackfruit Seeds Curry
The seeds from ripe jackfruit make a delicious curry.

1 cup jackfruit seeds
Salt to taste
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
10 to 15 curry leaves
½ cup onion, chopped
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ cup tomato, chopped
1 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp coriander powder
2 tbsp oil

Roast the jackfruit seeds and remove the skin. Add seeds to boiling water with a little salt and boil it until the seeds are soft. Remove seeds and crush it. Heat the oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, onion and salt, and sauté it. To this add turmeric powder, tomatoes, red chilli powder and coriander powder. Mix it well. Add jackfruit seeds and mix thoroughly. Cook for another two minutes.