Raw Jack fruit or Kathal stir fry
I had eaten the raw jack fruit stir fry for the first time about 20 years ago when my family visited a Malayalee family in Kannanur in Kerala. Our hostess, went to the backyard, plucked one small young jackfruit and skinned it and cooked it right infront of us. I was amazed. Best part of it was that she used a stone dish for cooking it. I have been trying to source such a pot ever since but with no success. I came to know in the past few years that the stone cutters are not using the right type of stone for making these pots and that they break on usage. Those who own them usually get them handed down from generation to generation. The food cooked in them taste super delicious!
On our recent trip to a farm, we were served this jackfruit stir fry. Now I wanted to cook it myself. What better than to buy one from the same farm! Lo and behold, I came home equipped with a huge raw jack fruit (I wanted a small one, but the host insisted I take the big one).
The I began asking a few Malayalee neighbours for the recipes and also checked on the net. Finally I decided to make it the way, our host had cooked it back in Kannanur. here is my attempt:
Jackfruit - 2 cups, skinned, chopped to 1" cubes
Green chilli - 1 no. (optional)
Red chilli -1 no.
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp.
Onion - 1 no. medium size, chopped
Salt - to taste (1 tsp.)
Curry leaves - 8 - 10 nos.
Cooking oil - 2 tbs.
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp.
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp/
Mustard seeds / 1/4 tsp.
Cut and clean the jackfruit. Place them in a steel pot. Pour water to cover the pieces. Add turmeric powder and salt and cook covered with a lid, on medium heat, until the vegetable is tender. Drain excess water. With fingers separate the fibers and keep it aside.
Take oil in a frying pan; on a medium heat, add cumin and mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, add curry leaves, red chilli, green chilli. fry them for a few min and add chopped onion and ginger garlic paste. Those who rather use asafoetida instead of ginger garlic can do so. Now add the cooked and drained vegetable and fry until done. Best eaten with rice.
I had fresh fenugreek leaves, so, chopped and added to the frying onion mixture. It added an extra dimension of flavour to the stirfry.