Green/Tender/Unripe Jackfruit Biryani! It started when I picked up a packet of chopped and boiled raw jackfruit!
Now as I am cooking and preparing for the biryani. The whole house is filled with an amazing aroma. The sizzling spices, the whirr of the mixer and the general banging of some pot and scraping of the ladle against the vessel. The question asked, “ma what are you making?”
So for the uninitiated,
According to Wikipedia, “jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), also known as jack tree, jakfruit, or sometimes simply jack or jak, is a species of tree in the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family (Moraceae). The jackfruit tree is a widely cultivated and popular food item throughout the tropical regions of the world. Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh. The flesh of the jackfruit is starchy and fibrous and is a source of dietary fibre. The flavour is comparable to a combination of apple; pineapple, mango, and banana.Varieties are distinguished according to characteristics of the fruit’s flesh.”
But let us get down to the main business eating.
How do you eat jackfruit?
In general, we can say that the ripe fruit is eaten raw.
The seed is often dried and preserved to be later used in curry. The seeds are also roasted or boiled and consumed with salt, chillies, and oil.
But because unripe jackfruit has a meat-like taste and a mild flavour it is used in many curries dishes.
The only tedious job is cutting it. The thick skin is peeled and the central core is discarded. The rest is chopped into portions which you can cook and serve.
But wait, oil your hands and the knife before you start chopping. The fruit is very sticky and juice it releases refuses to let go of you. This gives a distinctive word my mum used when we did not budge from the job or place we had at hand. In Kannada, it is called”Eppi Jidu” Jidu being sticky and Eppi stands for jackfruit.
There are some unique preparations from jackfruit across the country which I will like to list
In Kerala, a chakka varattiyathu or jackfruit jam.
In West Bengal the kathal as it is called is may be juiced to drink straight or make candies with the juice.
In Mangalore, Goa the pulp of the soft jackfruit is ground and made into a paste, then spread over a mat and allowed to dry in the sun to create a natural chewy candy. In Goa, we have another baked dish called Dhonas. The unripe fruit is also fried and eaten as fanas che gare. How can we forget Naturals ice cream?
Like I said the raw or tender fruit has distinct meat like texture. When I made this Biryani I mentioned it to my Father-in–Law that I have made Biryani from raw jack fruit. He being diabetic the amount of rice and the rest of the food is to be balanced. So he decides if he wants to eat something made.
He that day he ate it. Boy! Did my elder daughter hit the roof? She was worried the texture reminded her of chicken (my Fil is a strict vegetarian) when she served him and served him just the rice.
The main ingredients of this biryani are basmati rice, chopped and boiled tender jackfruit, onions, coriander,tomato and spices.
The other biryanis I have made are all here Masoor Biryani| Whole Red Lentil Biryani, Baked Kabuli Chana Biryani, Methi Matar Biryani~ A Vegetarian Biryani with a Difference ,Hydrababi Dum Biryani, Kerala Malabar Style |Mutta Biryani| Egg Biryani, Myth Buster Dum Mushroom Biryani/Dum Almi Biryani.
The differences between a pulao and biryani I have tried to understand here.
Raw Jackfruit Biryani (Green/Tender/Unripe Jackfruit Biryani)
For the rice:
- 2-1/2 cups Basmati rice around ½ kg
- 1 tbspn Ghee
- 2 Cardamom pods
- 2 Cloves
- 1-1/2 in Cinnamon sticks broken into 4 pieces
- 4 pieces Star anise/dagad phool
- 2-1/2 cups Water
- Salt to Taste
Ingredients for the Jackfruit Layer:
- 500 grams Tender jackfruit chopped, boiled
- 1-1/2 cup Onions chopped
- 4 Green chillies
- 6 big Garlic cloves approx. 1 small pod
- 3 in Ginger piece thinly sliced
- 3 Tomatoes pureed
- 1 1/4 tsp Biryani Masala
- 1 cup Dhania/coriander leaves chopped
- ¼ cup mint leaves chopped
- Salt to Taste
- 2-3 tbsp Oil
The final step layering and final cooking:
- 4 tbsp Ghee
- 2 pinches of Biryani Masala
- 1/4 cup Dhania/coriander chopped
- 1/3 cup mint leaves
- 1 cup Fried onion
- Fried cashew nuts
- 1/4 cup Milk soaked with keasar or saffron optional
Method of cooking rice:
- Wash and drain rice on a clean kitchen towel.
- Check on the rice when the rice is medium dry, in a heavy bottomed cooking vessel (generally I use the cooker base without the lid) Add the ghee and throw in cardamom, cloves and the cinnamon.
- When the aroma spreads around add rice and stir continuously for 2-3 minutes in low heat.
- Add water. The level of water should less than your first line of your knuckles.(then it will be 3/4 cooked). Check the salt before you leave the rice to cook.
- When it comes to boil then reduce the flame and cook covered on low-medium heat until rice cooks and water is absorbed. The rice will not cook fully. It will be 3/4 cooked.
- Using a fork gently fluff/ separate the rice so that the rice does not become sticky.
- Spread the rice on a plate and cool the rice thoroughly.
- As for the vessel in which you have cooked the rice keep, it covered. We can use it to for the layering and final cooking.
Method for the jack fruit layer:
- Grind green chillies, garlic and ginger coriander and mint leaves to paste and keep aside. (I add onion say ½ the onion as my mixer blades cannot grind this much quantity).
- Heat oil in a pan and cook thinly sliced onion till they turn transparent.
- Now add the ground paste and sauté till it gives out a nice aroma.
- Add tomatoes and fry till the oil comes out. Now add the Biryani Masala and mix well.
- Add boiled pieces of jack fruit and mix well.Check the seasonings. Remove the pan from the heat.
Method layering and final cooking:
- Spread 2 tbsp ghee into your cooking vessel (the one you cooked the rice in and had kept aside covered) and spread half of the rice at the bottom.
- Sprinkle 2 pinches of Biryani Masala, coriander leaves, 1/3 cup fried onion, a few cashew nuts, ½ the milk and keasar mixture if using.
- Spread the jack fruit layer again spread rest of the rice as the top layer and drop 2 tbsp ghee.
- Sprinkle 2 pinches of Biryani Masala, coriander leaves, 1/3 cup fried onion, a few cashew nuts, the rest of the milk and keasar mixture if using.
- Cover the cooker with the cooker lid (the gasket on) remove the weight or whistle.
- On low flame let the Biryani cook till a little steam comes out of the vent of the cooker. Switch off the gas.
- Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before you serve with onion raita. adding more coriander, fried onions, cashewnuts.