Kathal ki sabzi (raw jackfruit curry) is an Indian vegetarian delicacy cooked especially around the month of Holi, when jackfruit is in season in north India.
Newbie cooks, be warned – you are up for a challenge if want to make kathal ki sabzi. The prickly, tough-skinned jackfruit requires skill to peel and cut, and then takes ages of cooking time. Part of the hurdle is handled these days – supermarkets stock packs of peeled and chopped jackfruit, ready to cook. Go right ahead and pick up one of these packs if you can. If not, I’ll point you to the always-awesome Rak’s Kitchen for illustrated steps to peel a jackfruit.
This recipe of kathal ki sabzi is meant for days when you have the leisure to hang out in the kitchen for at least an hour, and the mood to put it a little extra into your cooking. The end result though, is worth every minute of the time and effort.
- Raw jackfruit – 300 grams
- Potato – 1, boiled, peeled and cubed
- Tomatoes – 2
- Onions – 3
- Green chili – 1
- Garam masala – 1/2 teaspoon
- Cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
- Black pepper powder – to taste
- Red chili powder – to taste
- Turmeric powder – a pinch
- Salt – to taste
- Bay leaf – 2
- Dry red chili – 2
- Panch phoron*– 1/2 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
- Mustard oil – 2 tablespoons
1. Before you cook
Cut jackfruit into 1-inch cubes.
Boil in a pressure cooker for 3 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure cooker cool enough to unlock the lid. Drain and wash jackfruit cubes.
Chop onions and tomatoes.
2. On the fire
In a skillet, heat mustard oil to smoking point. Add cumin seeds, panch phoron, bay leaves and dry red chilies in that order. As soon as the dry red chilies turn color, add chopped onions.
Cook on low flame till the onions turn translucent. Add chopped tomatoes.
Follow with all the dry spices: turmeric powder, pepper powder, red chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, and salt. Stir well and add jackfruit cubes and boiled potato cubes. Cook on low flame, till the jackfruit is tender and has absorbed the spices. This would take about 30 minutes. Add garam masala, cook for another minute and switch off the heat.
Transfer the contents of the kadhai to the pressure cooker. Add a cup of water to the cooker (more if you want a thinner curry.) Lock the lid and cook till the pressure cooker lets out a whistle. Switch off the heat.
Allow the pressure from the cooker to release naturally. Unlock and serve kathal ki sabzi hot with boiled rice and yogurt.
Add to the cooking times if you do not have a pressure cooker. And if you want to make Indian food a regular in your repertoire, do invest in a pressure cooker! Here are a couple of recipes from The Steaming Pot that make use of that very handy device: Tinda Masala: Apple Gourd Curry, Gujarati Dal, Kashmiri Saag.
The exact cooking time can vary depending on factors like the make of the cooker, the tenderness of the jackfruit, and your personal preference of how much bite you want in the finished dish. The timings and process given in the recipe cooks the jackfruit to soft.