Chef Vikram Vij Shares his Restaurant menu’s Star item the ‘ Savory Raw Jackfruit’ Recipe with DARPAN readers
Raw jackfruit is cooked and eaten as part of a vegetarian meal, whereas ripened, sweet jackfruit is eaten as a fruit with dessert. In North America, it is very difficult to buy fresh jackfruit, so we used canned; there isn’t a drastic taste difference.
It is available at all Indian or Asian grocers. Fresh jackfruit is white on the inside, with a thick green spiky skin. Make sure you drain the canned jackfruit fully before frying it; otherwise the water from it will splatter. The crushed tomatoes must also be very ripe. Canned, crushed tomatoes are preferable to light red, hard fresh tomatoes.
You must deep-fry the jackfruit lightly; otherwise it will have a funny chewy texture and won’t hold well with all the spices and tomatoes. Note: if you have never deep-fried food before, this is not a good recipe to start with.
This recipe has been on our menu for years – we’ve taken it off, only to bring it back due to so many requests from customers. Although the black cardamom seeds, ground mustard seeds and ground fenugreek seeds give this dish its special Vij’s flavour, you can make it without these 3 spices and still enjoy it, albeit with less depth of flavour. This is a heavily spiced dish that doesn’t go very well with other heavily spiced meats, chicken or seafood.
3 cans (each 20 oz) young (or raw) green jackfruit
6 black cardamom pods
1/3 cup grape seed oil
½ Tbsp cumin seeds
1 cup finely chopped onions (1 large)
1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
6 to 8 large whole dried red chillies, broken in half, with seeds
2 cups crushed tomatoes
½ Tbsp ground black mustard seeds
1 tsp ground fenugreek seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp Mexican chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
½ Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp salt
1 cup water
6 cups oil for deep frying
Line two baking trays with clean, dry tea towels. Drain canned jackfruit and lay out pieces in a single layer on the tea towels to absorb any excess water. Set aside for about half an hour (If you leave it out too long, the jackfruit will become too dry).Break open cardamom pods and remove the seeds. Discard the pods. Set aside the seeds.
Heat oil in a pan on medium-high heat for about 1 minute. Add cumin seeds and cook for about 10 seconds or until they begin to sizzle. Add onions and sauté 8 to 10 minutes, or until brown. Add garlic and dried chillies, including their seeds, and sauté for about 2 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes and add cardamom seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek, turmeric, chili powder, paprika, ground cumin, coriander and salt. Stir well and reduce the heat to medium.Cook this masala, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes or until the oil separates from the tomatoes and the masala glistens. Stir in water, turn off the heat and set aside.
Line a baking tray with paper towels. Preheat a deep fryer to high heat or heat oil in a large heavy pan on high heat for 5 minutes. Drop a small piece of jackfruit into the oil. It should immediately float to the top and sizzle. Once the oil is hot enough, place jackfruit in the pan and fry for about 5 minutes, or until very light brown. Keep your face at a distance, as the jackfruit can spatter a bit. Using tongs, transfer fried jackfruit to the paper towels to drain any excess oil. Turn off the deep fryer. Cool jackfruit for 15 minutes.
Carefully stir jackfruit into the masala so the pieces don’t break, then turn the heat on to medium. Once the masala starts to boil and the jackfruit is well mixed into the spices, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the lid after 5 minutes so the jackfruit does not overcook.
Spoon piping hot jackfruit curry onto six plates.
We recommend a Super Tuscan to go with the strong flavours.