BY ASAVARI KULKARNI
Goa is a wonderful tropical paradise, blessed with a diversity of food that satiates human hunger optimally. This includes rice growing at zero mean sea level to 800 mean sea level, various other grains and legumes, vegetables and fruits.
Fruits, whether exotic or indigenous, help in fortifying us with vital vitamins and minerals. One such superfood is the jackfruit.
Once ignored, today it has become popular as vegan chicken all over the world! The meat-like texture, dense and fibrous, allows the jackfruit to absorb spices easily to produce an odourless and healthy meat alternative, making the jackfruit the king of the vegan kitchen.
The jackfruit is indigenous to India. The name “jackfruit” is derived from the South Indian word “chakka”. Scientifically, it is known as Artocarpus heterophyllous and is one of the largest fruit trees in the world. In Goa, we have two varieties of jackfruit – one which is slimy, called rosal, and one with a firm pulp, called kapo.
From ancient times, jackfruit has been an integral part of Goan food. Ack in the day, when modern amenities and access to food were unheard of, heavy downpours would make day-to-day life quite difficult. This is when the jackfruit appeared as a hunger saviour.
Whether it was shak bhaji from unripe flesh, sushel from the tender fruit, or dhonas, bhakri, patolyo or sanna from the ripe flesh, the jackfruit gave a wide selection of options to people. There were special varieties for making such delicacies.
The fruit begins growing in November and can be seen on the trees until the month of September. Every house used to have at least one tree in the backyard. A mature tree would possess around 50 fruits on average.
Jackfruit seeds are also a nutrient-rich part of the fruit. They are usually consumed after boiling them in water with a little salt. You can even make ladoos and kheer of the seeds.
To preserve these seeds for the monsoon, termite hill soil was applied to them. The unripe jackfruit pulp was brined in salt and consumed during the rains.
Scientific advancements in agriculture have led to new hybrid varieties of jackfruits being cultivated all over the world. There are new varieties that are free of the much-hated jackfruit gum, which you must get past if you want to savour the delicious fruit.
In Kerala, jackfruit processing is a multicrore industry. Some companies have developed their own brand of jackfruit flour. Hence, almost anything can be prepared with jackfruit, from milkshakes to smoothies, cakes, ice-creams, fryums, savoury items, etc.
The creative possibilities are endless for those who have culinary skills. It is a healthier option compared to potato, maida and gram flour for diet-conscious people, especially those with lifestyle diseases like diabetes.
The jackfruit consists of carbohydrates, proteins and a small amount of fat. It is packed with vitamins C, A, B6, and B2, other micronutrients and phytochemicals. It is a rich source of fibre.
Although the younger generation doesn’t like to consume jackfruit as much as the older ones, there are more than 300 varieties of lip-smacking jackfruit dishes that can be used to tempt them.
Some jackfruit recipes that children enjoy are jackfruit 65, jackfruit chilly, jackfruit cafreal, jackfruit taquitos, jackfruit momos, spicy jackfruit sushi, jackfruit seed hummus, jackfruit crab cakes and so on.
Here are some unusual recipes of jackfruit:
1 bowl of jackfruit bulbs, cleaned and deseeded
2 big onions chopped
5 green chillies
¼ tsp of red chilli powder
¼ tsp of garam masala10 garlic cloves
1 tbsp green chilli sauce
1 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp soya sauce
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
½ cup cornflour (can be replaced with jackfruit flour)
Salt to taste
Oil for frying
Steam the chopped jackfruit pieces for 10-15 minutes on a low flame after adding salt.
Once done, marinate it with salt, red chilli powder, garam masala and ginger-garlic paste. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Then add cornflour (jackfruit flour). Mix well and fry in oil till crisp. Keep it aside.
Add oil to a kadai and fry the onions, green chillies and garlic for 5 minutes.
Add the chilli, soya and tomato sauces and mix well.
Add fried jackfruit pieces and mix.
½ kg jackfruit bulbs (not too ripe, peeled and cut into square pieces)
1 cup sliced onion
6 sliced green chillies
5 curry leaves
¼ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp powdered pepper
1 small bowl of coriander leaves
1 tbsp red chilli sauce
1 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp soya sauce
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
Salt to taste
Boil the jackfruit bulbs in water with a tsp of salt until it’s 90% cooked through. It could take 15-30 minutes.
Drain off the water and set the pieces aside.
Add approximately 4 tbsp of oil to a pan and set on medium/high heat. Stir fry until the pieces turn golden brown. This should take approximately 10 to 12 minutes.
Turn down the heat and set the pieces aside.
Add approximately 2 tbsp of oil to the same pan.
Add onions, curry leaves, garlic-ginger paste, and sliced green chillies and sprinkle some salt. Stir fry till the onions turn translucent
Add 1/2 cup of water.
Add coriander powder, powdered black pepper, garam masala, red chilli powder and half the coriander leaves.
Stir fry for 30 seconds.
Add soya sauce, tomato sauce and red chilli sauce, and some water.
Give it a quick stir and add salt to taste.
Let the gravy simmer for a minute.
Add the jackfruit pieces and mix thoroughly.
Stir the jackfruit pieces until the gravy thickens and sticks to the jackfruit pieces
Garnish with the remaining coriander leaves.
There you have it – two excellent, mouth-watering jackfruit dishes that will appeal to the most finicky of eaters.