Its so amazing how food can transport us back in time and help us relive precious moments spent with dear ones. A lot of my childhood memories are knit around food, and this Jackfruit curry is one such recipe that always reminds me of my days as a carefree school girl. My mom made this Fanasachi bhaaji (Jackfruit curry) and I just loved it! Even now, as I write this, I can smell the aroma of the fried jackfruit pieces and the freshly ground masala!
Green jackfruit or raw/tender jackfruit is very meaty in texture and has a very delicate flavor. It does need a little getting used to, i think. But once you develop a taste for it, you will have a wonderful and versatile ingredient to experiment with in your kitchen. Green Jackfruits are generally found in the markets around March-April. The only tough task is cutting this enormous fruit. You need to be extremely careful with the knife and normally, it helps to grease your hands and knife with some oil. The good thing here, in the US, is that you can find canned jackfruit already cut into big chunks. Life made easy! :)
Usually, I strictly follow my mom's recipe, but this time I did a few modifications, based on what I had at hand. This curry goes well with rice /chapatis or parathas or even bread. It is preferable if this curry can be made a few hours before the actual meal...this way the spices have a chance to mingle around and develop a great flavor without being spicy. Lets get started...
But before I forget, let me just add that this mouthwatering curry is going to Srivalli of Cooking4 All Seasons for her Curry Mela which is on till Aug 28, 2008.
1 tbsp Cashews
4 tbsp dhane (coriander seeds)
1 tsp shah jeere
2 tsps badishep (fennel seeds)
A small piece of dalchini (cinnamon stick)
1/4 tsp khuskhus (poppy seeds)
3-4 lavanga (cloves)
3 mire (black peppercorns)
1 dried red chilli
A small bunch of cilantro
1-2 tomatoes (depending on how sour they are). I used 1/4 cup of canned, diced tomatoes.
2-3 tbsp Oil + oil to shallow fry the jackfruit
2-3 tsp Laal tikhat (cayenne pepper)
Salt to taste
The first step is to get the fanas ready, depending on whether you are using canned or fresh. If using canned jackfruit, drain off all the water and pat them with a tissue to remove as much moisture as possible. Now, these pieces can be either deep fried, which my mom usually does, or you can also shallow fry them, like I did this time. But, deepr frying makes the jacfruit really yummy and enhances its flavor. These taste good just by themselves too!
Keep the fried pieces of jackfruit aside. First of all, grind the onion to make a paste. To make the masala, dry roast all the Masala ingredients given above separately, till they turn golden brown. Then grind together these spices along with the cilantro to a fine paste. Now in a kadhai/pan, heat the oil. Next, add the onion paste and fry till it turns golden brown. Then add the garlic paste and fry for a minute. Once done, add the ground masala to the onions. Fry the masala for a few minutes, then add some water and cover and cook. Keep checking at regular intervals and keep adding water as necessary. The key to getting a delicious gravy is to roast the masala as much as possible and fluff it up using water. When the masala starts giving out an aroma and oil starts separating from the sides, add the tomatoes and cook for a while. Then add cayenne pepper and salt and mix well. Make sure that you add a little more cayenne pepper than usual. Normally, once the curry cools down, I have realized that I always need to add more cayenne pepper. But please do taste and stick to your tolerance level. Finally, add the fried jackfruit pieces , mix well and add water to get the desired consistency. Cover the kadhai and let it cook till white steam escapes from the sides. Turn off the heat and let the curry sit for an hour at least. Check for salt before serving. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and serve with hot chapatis/poli or rice !
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