Yippee, summer is here. So what if it is too hot and vegetables are hard to get, not of great quality and expensive. Summer brings its compensation. Mango season is just round the corner. Jackfruits are already here. Time for raw jackfruits and all the delightful dishes that can be made of them.
My memories of my ancestral home in Kerala bring back images of an estate with rubber plantations, mangoes, coconuts (oh the bubbly coconut water!!!!! Slurp), jackfruits, tapioca, raw pepper climbers, grapefruit and nutmegs, and all the yum dishes made with these freshly grated coconuts. Kerala cuisine is almost incomplete without the ubiquitous coconut.
So friends, time for chakka pulincurry today. Chakkai in Malayalam means jackfruit. Puli is tamarind.
Tender raw jackfruit
Tamarind extract - from one medium sized ball
Red chilli - 1 to 2 (or add to taste)
Raw rice - 1 tablespoon
Freshly grated coconut - 1/2 a medium sized katori
Asafoetida (hing) - 1 small piece or a pinch of powdered hing
Turmeric - 1 small pinch
Mustard - 1 teaspoon
Oil - 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 5 to 6
The toughest part of making any dish with jackfruit is cleaning it (but the results are more than worth the effort - you can take that as a personal guarantee). To clean a jackfruit, you would need a fairly large, sharp knife, a bit of oil (to oil the knife as well as your grease your palms - pun unintended) and the husk of a coconut and a container with water. OK, if you have all these things at hand, you are ready to go.
WARNING: Be very careful when cutting a jackfruit. It is not very difficult to cut your hand.
Cut the jackfruit into half. Clean all the latex that comes out of the core with the husk of the coconut. Clean the knife (keep doing this as you go) with oil and coconut husk. Once it stops dripping cut it further into 4 pieces. Cut these further into halves (so you now have 8 pieces). Then remove the core of the jackfruit as well as the outer rind. Use the fleshy part to cut into fairly large chunks (as seen in the picture above). Place these pieces in the bowl of water as you go, so they do not turn black.
Once you are done with that, cook the pieces in the tamarind extract with salt and turmeric. Dry roast the coconut, red chillies, asafoetida and raw rice and then grind in a mixer. Add to the cooked jackfruit. Allow the mustard seeds to splutter in heated oil. Use these mustard seeds and curry leaves to temper the pulincurry.
This is best eaten mixed with boiled red rice. Beans curry and raita goes very well with this combination. Of course, add pappad and I promise you a trip to heaven where you can spend a good hour in the company of angels playing their harps.
So folks, enjoy. And remember me as you do. :-)
P.S. If you are animal lovers, you would do well to feed the rind and the core to any stray cows you see around. They will bless you generously.