It’s jackfruit season and the one thing that every one is definitely making at home is Kathal Ki Subzi. So, what could be better than having a cook-book author, and a food educator Chef Suvir Saran telling you tricks of the trade to make a delicious serving of the seasonal vegetable at home. Before we start, here’s some trivia: did you know, that Kathal is also known as ‘vegetarian chicken’? Interesting right?
1 kilo peeled, trimmed and cut jackfruit slices
2 medium garlic cloves
1-inch piece of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 star anise
5 cardamom pods
3 dried red chiles
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorn
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 cup neutral oil, plus extra for deep-frying
3 medium red onions, pureed
2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon toasted cumin powder (Bhuna Zeera)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
4 plum or large vine-ripened tomatoes, pureed
1/4 cup canned tomato puree
1 teaspoon sweet paprika or Deghi Mirchi
1 green chilli, minced finely
1 cup tamarind Chutney
1/2-1 teaspoon Garam Masala
How To Make It
In order to chop the jackfruit, the knife that needs to be used, should be oiled well. Since the fruit is sticky, it makes it easier to cut through it. First, cut off the stem and then cut into half, length-wise from the end of the stem. Each half, can then be cut into further halves. Once this is done, you can then cut-off the prickly brown skin. Post that, you can make clean cuts of about 1 1/2 to 2-inch long chunks.
To fry the jackfruit, heat oil in a saucepan or a wok to about 360F˚ over medium-high heat. To gauge the temperature of the oil without using a thermometer, drop a piece of bread into the hot oil. If it’s the ideal temperature, the bread should float to the surface of the oil and turn golden brown in about 45 seconds. Carefully slide about half of the jackfruit pieces into the oil and deep fry them while turning them with a spoon. They will turn golden brown in around 7 to 8 minutes. You can drain the extra oil on paper towels and set them aside.
In a large wok, or frying pan, add a 1/4 cup of oil and the whole spices. Cook for two minutes or until the spices have released their flavor into the oil. Add the onion puree, and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook, and stir it often, until the onion puree is rich and brown. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin and coriander; and then cook it for a minute.
Add the fresh tomato puree and tomato paste, Deghi Mirch, and green chilies, in the end. Cook it for another 10-15 minutes, until the texture is jammy. Post that, add the fried Kathal. Add 1 cup of water, the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and bring it to a boil.
After keeping it covered for 10-15 minutes, you can taste the flavour and see if any more spices need to be added. Add the cup of tamarind chutney, and stir it well until it starts to stick to the pan. Garnish it with garam masala and serve.