I have been trying to clean out my freezer during lock down times with limited supply in the fridge. Guess what I came across- FROZEN JACKFRUIT!!! Jackfruit was something I always enjoyed eating growing up in Kerala, southern part of India and so it made me all nostalgic when I saw it in the freezer. For people unfamilar with this fruit, Jackfruit is an exotic fruit grown in tropical regions of the world. It is native to South India. It is part of the Moraceae plant family, which also includes fig, mulberry and breadfruit.
I was completely clueless as to how to cook this as I wanted my entire family to enjoy a meal out of this exotic fruit. I decided to make a rice dish with this fruit with a lot of flavors and spices. When I tell you guys, this is my new found meat substitute. The reason I say it is because at the end of it, when I savored the dish, cooked jackfruit had such a meaty texture and was so satisfying so this calls for a great substitute for people who want to stay vegetarian and not miss the meat!
Jackfruit is high in fiber and Vitamin C. It has small amounts of antioxidants, minerals and is an excellent source of Potassium as well.
So I hope you try this recipe and let me know what you think:
Basmati Rice-2 cups
Water- 5 cups
Salt to taste
Bayleaf (2), Cardamom (3), a piece of cinnamon, 1 tsp of Caraway seeds(optional)
For Jackfruit Marinade:
2 Cups yogurt
Salt to taste
Chilli or Cayenne powder 1 tsp
Turmeric powder 1 tsp
Curry powder or Garam Masala powder 1 tsp
Ghee or clarified butter 1 tsp
1/2 tsp Saffron soaked in hot water and 1 tsp milk
fried crispy onions for garnish
cilantro for garnish
cashewnuts for garnish
Cook 2 cups of Basmati rice in 5 cups of water along with bayleaf, cinnamon, cardamom, caraway seeds and keep covered till the rice is cooked almost 3/4 th s. You want the rice to be crispy at this point not completely cooked since we are going to cook the rice towards the end after we mix it with the jackfruit marinade. Keep aside.
Take a pan and make sure you thaw out jackfruit well in advance and pat dry with paper towel to remove any moisture. Saute the jackfruit with any oil. I personally prefer coconut oil so saute in coconut oil with some salt to taste till it turns golden brown. This happens when your flame is under medium to high. Set aside.
Take a heavy bottom pan under low flame, add 2 cups of yogurt and add salt, chilli powder, turmeric. curry powder and mix well. Toss in the jackfruit and mix well. Now layer the rice on top in batches and mix and once it is completely mixed. Add in the saffron soaked in hotwater and milk on top. Keep covered for about 20 minutes under very low flame. This help in a slow cook process and enables all the flavors to infuse in the rice.
Garnish with cilantro, fried onions and cashewnuts. If you dont have jackfruit, substitute the same with boiled eggs and comes out pretty good as well.