Updated: Apr 24, 2020
Another special occasion curry we make is made with jackfruit or "kathar". In Fiji, these trees grow all over the place and we make a sort of dry curry from them. It was funny to me to see jackfruit become popular in the vegetarianism and veganism movement as a "pulled meat" substitute as we have been eating the humble jackfruit for generations. Don't get me wrong I have tried and like the "pulled pork" versions of jackfruit as well. It is delicious. In fact, I didn’t even like eating jackfruit curry before and have only begun to appreciate it more as an adult. We make jackfruit curry for special occasions such as weddings, large prayer services and dinner parties. Very popular dish!
If you haven't seen a jackfruit, it is a pretty large spiky looking fruit. Imagine a watermelon but with a spiky surface. We eat the insides obviously. It is pretty sticky inside once you cut it open so you have to oil your hands and your knives to be able to break it down. There are lots of good videos now describing how to cut open a jackfruit and use the flesh inside. So I
will not go into that. Luckily, you can buy jackfruit in a can! We buy these from the Asian grocery store but I have also seen them in the regular grocery store in the Asian section as well. Come to think of it, I have seen slices of fresh jackfruit recently in the grocery store as well. Who would have thought the humble jackfruit would make it to the regular grocery store. Certainly not me!
If you have been following my other curry posts, then you will know that this recipe is relatively straightforward too. In fact, as I am writing these recipes down, I am bit amazed at how many different recipes can be made from the same basic ingredients but they all taste so different! So use the canned jackfruit. Drain the pieces and wash the brine out. Then each piece should be sliced into slivers so they look shredded almost. I like to place each piece flat on the cutting board, make three horizontal slices, then making thin vertical slices of those slices. This does not take very long. I would think a food processor could be used for this step but I have not tried it.
Once you have the jackfruit sliced, wash thoroughly and drain in colander. In the meantime, heat up pot with oil. Add mustard and cumin seeds and curry leaves. Add onions, garlic, ginger and chilies if you are using. Add turmeric and garam masala. Add jackfruit shreds.
Salt, mix well and cover. Let cook for five minutes or so until the water dries up. Let the jackfruit get nice and brown on the bottom. Almost like searing but not quite. Let brown, not burn. Then add water, turn heat to low and cook for about twenty minutes or until all the liquid has dried up. Let the jackfruit brown some more. The more browned pieces the better. Heat can be turned off at this point. You can add cilantro for garnish and freshness.
And there you have it Mum's Special Jackfruit Curry! Serve hot with freshly made rotis! Or with pooris!
-1 can jackfruit
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1/2 tsp mustard seeds
-1/2 tsp cumin seeds
-10 curry leaves (optional)
-1/4 onion diced
-1 tbsp crushed garlic
-1 tbsp crushed ginger
-2 Thai chilis (optional)
-1/2 tsp turmeric
-1 tsp garam masala
-1/2 cup water
-handful of chopped cilantro
Chop up jackfruit pieces into thin slices. Wash and drain.
Heat up pot with oil on medium heat. Once oil is hot, add mustard and cumin seeds. Add curry leaves. Once they sputter, add onions. Let edges brown. Add garlic and ginger and chilis if using.
Add turmeric and garam masala. Cook until aromatic.
Add jackfruit slices. Add salt. Mix well. Cover until water dries out and jackfruit begins to brown at the bottom.
Add water, turn heat to low and cook for twenty minutes or until water dries out. Let jackfruit brown a bit again.
Add cilantro if using.
Serve hot with freshly made rotis!