Jackfruit is a truly versatile vegetable, with a wonderful flavour and texture. It’s sometimes known as ‘vegetarian meat’ because it contains lots of fibre and this vegan masala curry recipe from Tarkari: Vegetarian and Vegan Indian Dishes with Heart and Soul by Rohit Ghai is simple and delicious.
500g (1lb 1 ½ oz) unripe jackfruit (fresh or tinned)
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
250g (9oz) onions, chopped
1 tablespoon Ginger/Garlic Paste
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
½ teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
1 teaspoon amchur (dried mango powder)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
150g (5oz) tomatoes, chopped
1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
a handful of coriander leaves
chapatis, to serve
If using tinned jackfruit, wash it under running cold water and leave it in a colander. If you are using raw whole jackfruit, first grease your fingers well with vegetable or rapeseed oil, or mustard oil if you have it. Place a bowl of oil next to you while cutting the jackfruit, as you will need to smear your palms with oil from time to time – the oil prevents the fibres from sticking to your hand. With a sharp knife remove the skin of the jackfruit and cut out any thick stem in the centre. Cut into small pieces. Don’t wash it.
Heat the oil in a kadai or frying pan over a medium heat. Once it starts smoking, add the jackfruit in small batches and shallow-fry until light brown. Remove from the pan, place in a colander and set aside.
Add the onions to the pan and fry until golden brown. Add the Ginger/Garlic Paste and cook for 4–5 minutes, until the raw aroma disappears, then add the turmeric, red chilli powder, dried mango powder, ground coriander and a pinch of salt. Add the tomatoes, green chillies and ginger and cook until the oil separates. This usually takes 5–10 minutes over a low heat.
Add the jackfruit and stir to coat the pieces evenly with the spice mix. Cover with a lid and let the mixture cook over a low heat for 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally. During this time the jackfruit pieces absorb the flavour of the spices and the sauce should become dry. Sprinkle with the Garam Masala and scatter over the coriander leaves. Serve with chapatis.
Tarkari: Vegetarian and Vegan Indian Dishes with Heart and Soul by Rohit Ghai, published by Kyle Books, £25 www.octopusbooks.co.uk