This Jackfruit Seeds Curry recipe was originally published by The Hindu (MetroPlus Food) on May 10, 2018. You can read the full story “The seed of the matter” here.
Every time I see jackfruits stacked up for sale in a market or at a roadside vendor, I am reminded of my childhood summer holidays. I have vivid memories of the jackfruit season in Kerala during my childhood.
Among many other fruits, it was the season of chakka (jackfruit) and manga (mango). Green or unripe jackfruit was used to make chakka puzhukku (jackfruit peeled, chopped, and cooked with seasoned coconut paste) or deep fried to make chakka varuthathu (fried chips).
Once the fruit ripens, the distinct smell of jackfruit will fill up the kitchen and spread beyond! Ripe jackfruit was peeled, carefully removing the sticky sap that oozes out from the stem, and the sweet arils were extracted separating the seeds from the flesh. They were consumed on its own or made into chakka varatti (jam) or chakka payasam (sweet pudding).
The jackfruit seeds (chakka kuru) were dried and preserved to be used later in curries. The mild earthy flavours make jackfruit seeds an ideal ingredient for various spicy curries.
Jackfruit seeds are a popular ingredient in the traditional Kerala cuisine. Slivers of jackfruit seeds are cooked with a seasoning of tempered shallots, curry leaves and crushed red chillies to make an amazing stir-fry. They can be cooked with another popular seasonal produce – green mangoes and select spices in coconut milk to make a curry. Addition of dried prawns to this curry is another local favourite.
The popularity of jackfruit seeds in cooking is not limited to the Kerala cuisine. In Assam, mashed jackfruit seeds is a popular side dish. Jackfruit seeds are boiled, mashed to a coarse paste, and mixed with chopped onions, green chillies, salt and mustard oil to make a delicious mash. Another common preparation involves adding the jackfruit seeds in dal giving it a mushy consistency and nutty flavour.
A seasonal variation of the classic Assamese Khar (a signature alkaline preparation, served at the beginning of a meal, involves filtering water through the ashes of burnt banana skin) is cooked with jackfruit seeds, lentils, green chillies and oil.
In West Bengal, jackfruit seeds are fried and served with dal and rice. Sometimes, jackfruit seeds are used as the main ingredient in chorchori (famous Bengali mixed vegetable dish).
Panasa Ginjala Kura is a traditional delicacy from Andhra where jackfruit seeds are cooked with onions, tomatoes, and spices.
Palakottai Poriyal is a popular jackfruit seed preparation from Tamil Nadu where jackfruit seeds are cooked with grated coconut and spices.
In Mangaluru, jackfruit seeds are cooked with Mangalore cucumber, tamarind, jaggery, grated coconut, and select spices to make a mild jackfruit seeds curry that pairs well with rice.
About this Jackfruit Seeds Curry
Back in Kerala, by the time the seasons overlap in May, when the late summer meets the early monsoon, the last of the ripe jackfruits would have been devoured, and all the seeds, sundried and ready to cook. This is also the time when dried prawns (or dried shrimp) are in the market. Jackfruit seeds and dried prawns are cooked with raw mango pieces with turmeric powder, chilli powder, and curry leaves. This jackfruit seeds curry is finished off with ground coconut and a garnish of fried shallots. A generous serving of this flavourful curry paired with rice still reminds me of the culmination of my school summer holidays.
Do you like traditional Kerala delicacies? Then don’t forget to check out the following recipes as well.