Thanks to blogging I have been reintroduced to many Mangalorean classic recipes that were not frequently prepared at my place. On my recent trip to Mangalore the season was just right for us to enjoy a few of the abundant dishes that are prepared out of raw and ripe jackfruits. My mum-in-law was very enthusiastic to teach me to prepare the 'happoL' (papad/poppadoms) but to our bad luck within a week of our arrival in Mangalore it started to pour non stop and our 'happoL' fiasco died an early death. These papads made out of tender but not ripe jackfruit (the pods need to be formed completely) are called as 'ponsache happoL' that require very good sunshine as it aids proper drying and subsequent storage for upto 1 year without spoiling. Anyway, I am glad that I got to see the process and perhaps if I go to Mangalore during the summer next year I could try my hand at preparing some again.
Like the coconut tree and its fruit the jackfruit tree also has plenty of uses. From the wood that is used to prepare furniture and beams to support traditional tile houses in Mangalore to the leaves that are used in the preparation of leaf baskets/moulds to prepare traditional rice breads called the 'kottige/Kotto' or 'Itoo'. The fruit is used at all stages of ripening. At the very beginning of its life, when the jackfruit is extremely tender and small in size it is called as the 'khadgi' and is used in the preparation of sukkha (shredded and sauteed with spices and coconut) or sliced up and marinated with salt & chilli paste (meet -mirsaang) to be shallow or deep fried. Some people even prepare a mock meat biryani out of it and it is famously known as 'Kathal-ki Biryani' in Hindi.
At a stage where the pods have formed but the jack has not yet reached its fully ripened stage the pale/off white fruit is removed to be preserved for a longer period of time by rubbing sea salt over it and storing it in traditional ceramic jars known as the 'buyaon' in Konkani. This tender jackfruit is then used up as required especially during the monsoon when seafood is not available in abundance or is extremely expensive. One can prepare many dishes out of salted jackfruit and today's post is a little about how the pods are salted and preserved.
It was literally my first experience at salting the jackfruit. Unfortunately I was unable to take the step by step pictures of this entire process. I brought back some with me when I returned and I am simply relishing it now. However, too much of salted/pickled foods is not good for people with high blood pressure problems, so do eat it in moderation.
- 1 medium sized raw jackfruit
- 2-3 cups rock salt/sea salt
- sickle (koithi) or large sharp knife
- plenty of old newspapers & clean, old kitchen towels (to be discarded after use)
- coconut or any other oil (to grease the palms)
- Large steel/plastic bowls/pans/vessels to hold the jackfruit and the discarded pith & skin.
- large ceramic (buyaon/bharani) or glass jar
Cleaning the jackfruit
1. Spread out newspapers on the floor to help avoid a sticky mess - jackfruit sap is a pain to clean up.
2. Apply oil generously on the blade of the sickle or knife - let the oil not touch the handle or else it will slip. The application of oil will help clean up of the tools used to cut the fruit.
3. Cut open the jackfruit right in the centre and quickly wipe off the fresh white sticky sap that oozes using slightly oiled kitchen tissue or a old clean kitchen towel. Next, cut the halves into two again and maybe smaller halves if the jackfruit is too large. These chunks are called as 'shed' in Konkani.
4. Carefully slice off the core from each chunk. The core is the hard white portion at the top of each chunk.
5. Pluck out the jackfruit pods carefully - you will need to remove the white thin strips of pith (membranes) that surround each pale yellow pod. Discard the white pith.
6. Each yellow pod of fruit will have a seed within called as 'bikan' in Konkani. Carefully open the pods and separate the seeds. Retain the seeds for later use.
7. When all the jackfruit pods have been removed discard the skin along with the pith.
Preserving the jackfruit
1. Slit the deseeded jackfruit pods into thick strips. Toss them into the ceramic jar and add the salt - enough to coat all the strips well with salt. There is no need to add water. Cover the jar and keep in a clean, dry place of your kitchen.
2. In a couple of days, the entire volume of jackfruit strips would have reduced and the excess water from the jackfruit oozes out causing the strips the be covered in its own salt water or brine as it is called.
3. You can transfer the strips in smaller glass bottles and refrigerate if you wish. Make sure that the bottles have enough brine in them - enough to cover all jackfruit strips completely.
Whenever you wish to cook the jackfruit pieces remove the required quantity and soak them in fresh water for a few hours. After a couple of changes of water it is ready to cook.
See my upcoming recipes for the same.
The process of cleaning a ripe jackfruit is the same. If you wish to freeze the jackfruit pods make sure the seeds are removed before storing the fruit in ziplock/airtight freezer safe containers.