Mamta's Kitchen

Jackfruit Bhaji/Sabji With Chickpea Flour

Kut-hal or Kat-hal ki Sukhi Sabji/Bhaji with Besan

Kiran Devi Gupta & Abha Gupta

Kathal, pronounced as kut-hull, is called Jackfruit in English, botanical name Artocarpus heterophyllusis. It is very similar to Breadfruit, Artocarpus altilis, and it is said to originate from the North-West and Western India. The trees are large, reaching up to 25 meter in height, with shiny green leaves. Fruits very in size, largest weighing up to 30 kilos or more. The unripe fruit has a green, spiky skin and white, meat like flesh, the reason why it is often referred to as 'vegetarian meat'.

In Northern India, the creamy white, crisp flesh of an unripe jackfruit is cooked as a vegetable. In Western India and Bangladesh, it is mainly eaten as a fruit when ripe. Ripe fruit has yellowish flesh and a rather foul smell, but it tastes delicious!

For cooking, it should be completely green and the flesh must be absolutely white. If you buy a whole jackfruit (it is quite large), you can either share it with your friends or boil and freeze it in portions. Tinned green flesh can look a bit pinkish. Make sure you do not buy the ripe Jackfruit in tin. Sometimes you can buy the peeled seeds of the jackfruit also, fresh and tinned. They are tasty and can be added to this dish or cooked on their own, using this recipe. Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 700 gm. unripe/green jackfruit (you can use tinned one, but make sure it is green one and not ripe one).

  • 2 -3 tbs. mustard or olive oil (less will not work well)

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds

  • A large pinch of asafoetida powder or hing or heeng (don't worry if you do not have it).

  • 2 tbsp. gram flour or besan

  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder or huldi

  • 11/2 tsp. coriander powder or dhania

  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. chilli powder, to taste

  • Salt to taste

  • 2 tsp. dry mango powder or amchur/amchoor (you can use juice of 1/2 a lemon if you can't find mango powder).

  • 1 tsp. Garam Masala

Instructions

  1. Wear gloves when handling Jackfruit. It has very sticky milk like sap, that glues to the hands and leaves permanent stains on clothes.

  2. Cut it into thick slices and then take the thick rind or layer of skin off, leaving approximately 1/2 cm. of smooth white flesh over the white fibrous part. Often vegetable sellers will do this for you, specially in India.

  3. Place in a pan of water and boil until semi-soft. You can steam it, if you have a steamer. Tinned jackfruit may also needs a little boiling if too firm, to soften it up.

  4. Drain water off in a colander and keep the Jackfruit aside.

  5. Heat oil in a wok or a deep frying pan.

  6. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida powder, allow seeds to splutter or turn brown.

  7. Add besan flour and stir in. It will bubble up. Fry for a few seconds, you will get an aroma of roasting besan. Turn heat down.

  8. Stir in all spices and salt.

  9. Add and stir in Jackfruit, covering all pieces with the besan and spice mix.

  10. Cook on medium to low heat. After a few minutes, press each piece flat and let it fry crisp...ish on the both sides. If your heat is high, the pieces will not get crisp but they will burn.

  11. Serve hot with dal of choice and Chapatti or Plain Paratha.

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