Again one of my mom’s recipes that I remember eating with relish since childhood. Kathal or the humble jackfruit is consumed as a vegetable in the North of India. I remember mom making curry, pulao and pickle out of it. I never remember eating the fruit though till I came to live in the South. The fruit is sweet and fleshy but the best part for me are the seeds or the coveted koye. They have a lovely, nutty taste. Boiled with salt and added to dal, they are delicious. Anyhow, here is the recipe for kathal ka pulao. It does take a bit of time to make but the results are yummy. It is one of my husband’s favorite. And he is the one who chops the vegetable in pieces. It is a dicey veggie to chop and you will need a sharp knife and lots of oil to apply on your hands and knife to safeguard against the sticky, milky sap that oozes out of it.
Normally, I fry all the jackfruit pieces with some oil and salt. That way you can store them in fridge for upto a week and they will not spoil.
1 Kg jackfruit (chopped into squarish pieces, sauteed in oil and salt)
3 cups Basmati rice (washed and soaked in water for half an hour)
For the rice:
1 tbsp. ghee
1 bay leaf, 1 small cinnamon piece, 3-4 cloves
1 tsp salt
For the jackfruit:
2 tbsp. ghee
10-15 black pepper
1 small stick cinnamon
1 black cardamom
2 tsp. cumin seeds
3 large onions sliced
2 tsp. each ginger and garlic paste
2-3 green chillies
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. Kashmiri red chilly powder
salt to taste
Chopped coriander leaves for garnish
I put the soaked rice with water, 1 tbsp. ghee and whole spices in the rice cooker. You can do it on the stove as well. That way you can fry the soaked rice before adding water and cooking it. This works out easier for me. Keep this rice aside and prepare the jackfruit gravy while the rice is getting cooked.
Saute the jackfruit in a little oil with salt till it browns a bit. Normally takes about 10 minutes on low flame. Then cook it with a little water in a pressure cooker only for 1 whistle. You want to cook the jackfruit not make it mushy.
Now in a pan, heat the ghee. Add all the whole spices and allow them to sputter.
Now, add in the chopped onions, chopped chillies, ginger-garlic paste and saute till all are nicely browned.
Now add the turmeric and Kashmiri chilly powders. Take it off the heat. Cool and blend after taking out the bay leaf.
Cooked the blended masala paste with the cooked jackfruit pieces till it becomes a really thick gravy. Remember that the rice has salt too. So go easy on the salt in the gravy.
Carefully mix the rice with jackfruit gravy. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot. You can serve with a half-fried egg or raita for a complete meal. This is spicy so do reduce the whole spices as per your taste. Enjoy!