Saturday, 18 February 2012




          The jackfruit season is starting in India. On almost every jackfruit tree, you can find plenty of tender jackfruit hanging with an open invitation for you to pluck, to cook and to enjoy (with the permission of the owner of the tree, of course!). Most Indians prepare several delicious dishes from this natural bounty which is free of all pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Jackfruit also contains plenty of dietary fibre and a tremendous amount of nutrition. So dear viewers, do make it a habit not to miss a single chance to consume jackfruit (see my earlier post) and to serve it to your dear ones.


1)    Tender jackfruit – 1 kg.
2)    Dry hot red chilies – 5 Nos.
3)    Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
4)    Coconut oil – 2 tablespoons
5)    Garlic – 1 pod
6)    Salt – 1 teaspoon

Tips on cutting:

          Jackfruit is generally full of sticky white gum. Most of the gum is concentrated in the central core, the stem and in the thorny peel. The fleshy portion is relatively free of gum. When you pluck a tender jackfruit from the tree, it is better to leave it on a stone or a brick for some of the gum to drip off the stem.

          Before starting to cut the fruit, you should keep a tablespoon of coconut oil in a saucer by your side. Keep as well a few sheets of old newspaper after tearing them to notebook sized pieces. Now spread a couple of full sheets of newspaper on the kitchen table.

          Take a little coconut oil in your palm and rub it well over both your hands. Take a sharp, strong, long knife and grease the blade with coconut oil. Put the tender jackfruit on the newspaper and cut it across into two halves. The tender jackfruit is quite tough and you may need to put your weight on the knife, one hand on the handle and the other pressing down on the back of the blade near the tip.

          As soon as the fruit is cut, a stream of gum will start oozing out. Crumple up the bits of newspaper to wipe off the gum twice or thrice and put the gummy bits on a folded sheet of newspaper, taking care not to get any gum on the floor or on your clothes (if by accident, you do, the gum happens to be soluble in any vegetable oil or in kerosene or in other industrial solvents).

          Now divide each half lengthwise in the center, then again and once again to get 8 long triangular pieces. Wipe off the gum whenever necessary. Once the pieces stop oozing the gum, carefully cut away and discard the hard core and also the green thorny outer peel. Now cut each piece into 2 or 3 large chunks and set aside.

To cook:

          Put the tender jackfruit chunks into a pressure cooker. Tip in the salt and pour in enough water to submerge the chunks. Close the lid and set on high heat. As soon as you hear the first whistle, switch off the heat and let cool naturally. Meanwhile, separate the garlic cloves and crush them lightly (if not crushed, the garlic cloves may burst when they hit the hot oil).

          Break each red chili into 2 or 3 pieces. Check the cooker to see whether the steam has subsided. If yes, open the lid and drain off the excess water. Transfer the cooked chunks to a metal bowl or a basin and crush lightly with the bottom of a stainless steel glass.

          Set a thick cast iron wok on the stove. Pour in the oil and throw in the mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds are about to finish crackling, tip in the garlic cloves. Stir till the garlic turns a light brown. Now tip in the chilies and stir once. Chuck in the crushed jackfruit. Stir nicely and taste. Add more salt only if required.

          Lower the heat and stir occasionally till the jackfruit gets nicely heated up. For greater taste, take some time to roast the jackfruit lightly, remembering to stir occasionally in order to avoid burning at the base. Your delicious kadgi talaasan is ready to serve.

          Serve hot with rice, cherupayar kanji or with porridge. You can also pick off the red chilies and roll the talaasan in chappatis or simply use as a delicious sandwich filling.


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