Mamta's Kitchen

Jackfruit Biryani Rice

Kut-hal or Kat-hal Biryani

Mamta Gupta

Jack-fruit or kat-hal, pronounced as Kut-hull, is a tropical fruit. It is cooked as a vegetable when it is green and its flesh is white. Jack fruit Biryani is a vegetarian version of meat biryani. The fibrous texture of jackfruit is very similar to meat and for this reason, it is often referred to as Vegetarian Meat. Do not be put off by the long list of ingredients, it is an easy dish to make, once you have assembled the ingredients. I will suggest that you keep the whole spices for boiling with rice in one bowl, whole spices for cooking Kut-hal yakhni in a 2nd bowl and ground spices in a 3rd bowl.

The recipe looks long and complicated, but it isn't. If you can find fresh Jackfruit, it is definitely worth making it. Tinned jackfruit is okay, but not as good. Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • For boiling the rice :

  • 600 gm. Basmati rice, washed and soaked

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 2 green cardamoms or choti illaichi

  • 2 large brown cardamoms or badi illaichi

  • 3-4 cloves or laung/lavang

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 small piece of cinnamon/cassia bark

  • For Frying Jaqckfruit:

  • 500 gm. raw jack fruit*

  • 2 cups oil

  • For cooking jack-fruit base or sauce for the Biryani (Yakhni)

  • 3 tbsp. ghee or clarified butter

  • 1 tsp. black cumin seeds (kala/Shahi jeera)

  • 2 green cardamoms

  • 2 large, brown cardamoms

  • 4 cloves

  • 6 black peppers

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 inch piece of cinnamon/cassia bark

  • 2 medium sized onions (about 300 gm.), peeled and thinly sliced

  • 2 tsp. grated/ground ginger

  • 1 tbsp. grated/ground/crushed garlic cloves (optional)

  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder

  • 2 tsp. coriander powder

  • 1 tsp. cumin powder

  • 1 tsp. chilli powder, adjust to taste

  • 3-4 medium tomatoes, chopped or 1 cup tinned tomatoes

  • 1 cup thick natural yoghurt or dahi

  • 1 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves

  • 1 tbsp. chopped mint leaves

  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt, adjust to taste

  • For assembling the Biryani:

  • Cooked rice from step 3

  • Cooked Kut-hul

  • 2 medium onions, 300 gm, peeled and thinly sliced (these will be used later for garnish)

  • A handful fresh coriander or dhania leaves

  • 9-10 strands of saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp. of warm milk

  • 1 tsp. 1 tsp Garam Masala

  • 1 tbsp. kewra (screw pine) water (few drops only, if essence is used, which is concentrated)

  • *Make sure that the jack fruit is raw. In UK, most Bangladeshi shops sell it ripe, eaten as a fruit.

Instructions

  1. Peel the jack-fruit. When peeling/cutting fresh jack-fruit, see photos. Wear gloves and oil the gloves and the knife, because it sticks to everything it comes in contact with. Keep away from clothes, because it leaves permanent brown stains.

  2. Now cut jack-fruit into cubes. Keep aside.

  3. Parboil the rice in a lot of water with the ingredients listed under for 'boiling rice'. It should not be fully cooked; there should be a little bit of 'grit', 1-2 grains, felt when a rice grain is squeezed between forefinger and thumb.

  4. Drain the rice in a colander and let plenty of cold water run over it, to stop it from cooking further. Keep aside.

  5. Heat oil in a wok or karahi and deep-fry jack-fruit cubes until golden brown. Do this in batches.

  6. Lift out and drain on an absorbent paper (kitchen towel or old newspaper) and keep aside.

  7. In the same oil, deep fry 2 sliced onions, until dark brown, almost crisp. Drain onto an absorbent paper and keep aside.

  8. Heat the clarified butter or ghee in a heavy bottomed pan.

  9. Add cumin, green cardamoms, black cardamoms, cinnamon bark, cloves, bay leaves and black pepper.

  10. Add onions, ginger and garlic and fry until light brown.

  11. Add turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder and tomatoes. Stir fry until ghee begins to separate.

  12. Add fried jack-fruit pieces, yoghurt, salt, coriander & mint leaves. Cook for a few minutes, stirring to coat each piece with the spices and turn the heat off.

  13. Preheat the oven to 200C, 375F or gas mark 5.

  14. Place a oven-proof serving bowl on the table and pour half of the prepared/cooked jack-fruit.

  15. Cover this with half the rice and spread evenly.

  16. Sprinkle half each of saffron soaked in milk, garam masala, coriander & mint leaves and kewra (screw-pine water.

  17. Top with the rest of the jack-fruit mixture.

  18. Cover with rest of the rice, spread evenly. Dot with remaining saffron soaked in milk, garam masala, coriander & mint leaves and kewra water

  19. Garnish with fried onions.

  20. Cover with aluminium foil or a tight fitting lid and cook in a preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes.

  21. Serve hot with a Raita Selection of choice and Popodoms.

Notes

  • It can be prepared up to step 19 in advance and oven cooked just before serving.

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