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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Young Jackfruit Curry (Kathal ki Sabji)

The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus or A. heterophylla) is a species of tree in the Artocarpus genus of the mulberry family (Moraceae). It is native to parts of Southern and Southeast Asia. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh, (locally called Kathal).

The jackfruit tree is believed to be indigenous to the southwestern rain forests of India. It is widely cultivated in the tropical regions of Indian subcontinent, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia. Jackfruit is also found in East Africa e.g. in Uganda and Mauritius, as well as throughout Brazil and Carribean nations like Jamaica. It is well suited to tropical lowlands.

Its fruit is the largest tree-born fruit. Globally common, fruit, reach 80 pounds (36 kg) in weight and up to 36 inches (90 cm) long and 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter.

The flesh of the Jackfruit is starchy, fibrous and is a good source of dietary fiber. The flavour of ripe Jackfruit is similar to a tart banana.

Varieties of jackfruit are distinguished according to the characteristics of the fruits' flesh. In Brazil, three varieties are recognized. These are: jaca-dura, or "hard" variety, which has firm flesh and the largest fruits that can weigh between 15 and 40 kilograms each; jaca-mole, or "soft" variety, which bears smaller fruits, with softer and sweeter flesh; and jaca-manteiga, or "butter" variety, which bears sweet fruits, whose flesh has a consistency intermediate between the "hard" and "soft" varieties.

I must admit that the ripe Jack fruit is not everyone's cup of tea. I find it very sweet smelly, sweeter than banana and it absolute kills my nostrils, but on the other hand some people like my husband absolutely love it, which is very amazing to me, because he hates bananas.

Young Jackfruit

Jackfruit is commonly used in South and Southeast Asian cuisines. It can be eaten unripe (young) when cooked, or ripe uncooked. The seeds may be boiled or baked like beans. The leaves are used as a wrapping for steamed idlis.

The young fruit is called Polos in Sri Lanka, and 'Idichakka" in Kerala. It is a dish with spices to replace meat curries in Sri Lankan cuisine. The skin of unripe (young) jack fruit must be pared first and discarded and then the whole fruit can be chopped into edible portions and cooked to be eaten.

The raw young fruit is not edible without cooking it. Young jackfruit has a mild flavour and distinctive poultry like texture. The cuisines of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam use cooked young jackfruit. In Indonesia, young jackfruit is eaten as gudeg. In many cultures, jackfruit is boiled and used in curries as a staple food.

Here I am going to give you recipe of young Jack fruit curry. This is my mom's fav. Every time I make it here, I always think of her and miss her dearly. Wish I was with her to make this for her. She absolutely loves it.

Where I grew up, we did not get cans of Jack fruit and my mom and I used to buy the whole or half cut young Jack fruit from the market and slice it on our own, and let me tell it is a tough job.

Young jack fruit has gummy/resin like substance secretion that sticks to your fingers, so you must generously apply oil to your hands and then apply oil to the sharp knife before cutting it.

In a way I am happy that don't get fresh Jack fruit here and I can only use canned form. This is just perfect, because the young Jack fruit in the can is already chopped in to chunks and boiled. So all you have to do is discard the water it is in and generously rinse it under running water and wallah it is ready to use for this curry. And there is no compromise of taste. Actually I like the taste of curry made from young Jack fruit in a can better.

So here is my recipe for the curry and I absolutely dedicate this to my mom.


* 2 (20 oz) cans of young jack fruit (drained weight of fruit is 10 oz in each cans, these are available in local Asian stores)

* 4 small to medium onions

* Paste from 2-3 Jalapeno peppers

* 2" piece of ginger

* 6 pods of garlic (I used dry spicy garlic chutney that I had made earlier, recipe on this blog)

* 1/3 cup of oil

* 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

* 1" stick of cinnamon

* 10-12 black pepper corn

* 1-2 bay leaf

* 1 black cardamom pod

* 2 dried red chili pepper pods

* 1/4 teaspoon of asafetida

* 3 cups plain yogurt

* 2 cup of tomato puree

* 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder

* 2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

* 1/4 cup of coriander powder

* 1 tbl spoon of cumin powder

* 2 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper

* 1 teaspoon paprika powder

* 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

* 2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

* 1 teaspoon mango powder

* 1 cup of frozen peas thawed (optional)

* 1 tbl spoon corn starch

* 1 cup water

* 1/4 cup cilantro leaves chopped for garnish


* Drain the Jack fruit chunks from can and rinse it thoroughly under running water.

* You may cut the chunk to smaller bite size pieces, set aside.

* In a food processor grind onion, ginger, garlic and jalapeno pepper paste, set aside.

* Heat oil in a deep pan.

* When oil is hot add cumin seeds, pepper corn, cinnamon, dried chili pepper pods, bay leaf, and cardamom pod.

* When cumin seeds crackle add asafetida.

* Add onion, garlic, ginder, Jalapeno paste and saute on medium heat for 5-6 min until light brown.

* While this is cooking add all the dry spice and salt to plain yogurt in a bowl and whisk it until smooth, set aside.

* When sauteed onion paste is light brown add tomato puree to it and cook for another 1-2 min.

* Then add the spiced yogurt mix to this and mix well.

* Cook it for another 2-3 min with occasional stir.

* Add Jack fruit chunks to the curry and mix well.

* Add peas and mix well. (I added peas for some color, but you may omit these or add any other vegetable like sauted red or green peppers, boiled potatoes mushrooms or any other vegetable of your choice, or you may just make plain Jack fruit curry, which I like)

* Add corn starch to 1 cup of cold water and add water to the curry.

* Cook the curry for about 5 min stirring intermittently on medium to low heat.

* Garnish with Cilantro and serve with Naan or Chapati or Plain Rice. I absolutely love this curry with Rice.

Enjoy :)

Information on Jack fruit source:

Jack fruit on tree Photograph source: by davidfntau at
Jack fruits on tree Photograph source: by archer10 (dennis) (BUSY)
jackfruit tree photograph source by Choo Yut Shing
Jack fruit photograph source by Nancy says
Freshly cut jackfruit from tree photograph source by Sironko DV

Recipe and photograph of curry recipe by Surekha.
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Monday, June 27, 2011

Cabbage with Channa dal

Normally when I make anyt side dish with cabbage, I like to keep the cabbage a little crunchy, but for this recipe I like it cooked tender.

I pressure cook both Channa dal and cabbage (in separate bowls). Then I make a gravy and mix them in onion tomato gravy.

When cooking them in the gravy together, be sure not to stir very vigorously, as you want to preserve texture of both channa dal and cabbage and thus you don't end up with a paste. Originally this recipe is from Andhrapradesh, India.

I love this curry with plain rice and with side of yogurt or raita. Here is how I make it.


* 1/2 head of cabbage finely chopped

* 1/2 cup channa dal soaked for 4-6 hours

* 1/2 teaspoon of salt

* 1 cup of water to pressure cook dal

* 2 cloves of garlic

* 1/2" of peeled ginger

* 1/2 Jalapeno pepper

* 1 medium onions yellow or red finely chopped

* 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

* 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds

* 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds

* 1 sprig of curry leaves

* 1/4 teaspoon of asafetida

* 1-2 pods of dried red chili pods

* 2 teaspoon of coriander powder

* 1 teaspoon of cumin powder

* 1/2 teaspoon of paprika powder

* 1/2 teaspoon cup of cayenne pepper powder

* 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder

* 1 teaspoon of salt or to taste

* 1/2 teaspoon garam masala

* 1 teaspoon of Mango powder

* 1/2 cup of tomato puree

* 1/2 cup of cold water

* 1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)

* 1-2 teaspoon sugar

* Juice from one fresh lime

* 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro leaves


* Add one cup of water to soaked channa dal

* Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt in to channa dal

* In a pressure cooker place channa dal in bottom pan and finely chopped cabbage on top bowl with some water in the bottom of cooker and pressure cook for 10-12 min.

* When pressure cooker is cool, open care fully and set aside boiled dal and cabbage.

* Make ginger, garlic and Jalapeno paste in small food processor and set aside.

* Heat one table spoon of butter in a frying pan, add cumin and mustard seeds when these crackle add asafatida add curry leaves, ginger garlic paste and saute for 1 min.

* Add finely chopped onion and chili pods and saute until translucent and light brown.

* Now add all the dry spices and salt.

* Cook for 1 min.

* Add tomato puree.

* Cook for 2 min with occasional stirring.

* Add boiled channa dal and cabbage to this gravy.

* Add salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)

* Add 1/2 cup of water and cook for about 1-2 min with occasional stir.

* Add lime juice and sugar.

* Garnish with Cilantro leaves and serve hot with chapati or rice.

* This recipe yields 4 servings.

Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.
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